Monday, November 30, 2009

New talks underway to "salvage" relationship between Rome and Canterbury

From here:

Efforts are under way to salvage Anglo-Catholic dialogue following Pope Benedict XVI's decree setting out new structures to receive groups of disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

Preliminary talks took place this week for a third round of talks by the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (Arcic), which took place days after the head of the Anglican Communion, Dr Rowan Williams, said he had been "disappointed" that the Vatican had given him just two weeks' notice of its intention to set up personal ordinariates to accommodate Anglicans who become Catholics.

On 21 November he met Pope Benedict XVI for the first time since the plans became public. The official communiqué said Dr Williams' 20-minute private audience included "cordial discussions" and the men discussed "the challenges facing all Christian communities ... and the need to promote forms of collaboration and shared witness in facing these challenges".

It went on to say that the Pope spoke to the archbishop about "recent events affecting relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion". They reiterated "the shared will to continue and to consolidate the ecumenical relationship between Catholics and Anglicans".

However, in Rome Dr Williams privately indicated he had been "bruised" by recent events and that there had been hurt, humili­ation and considerable anger in the Anglican Communion. The Tablet has learned that he expressed similar sentiments to the Pope. He told the BBC he was "disappointed" by Rome's handling of events, and to Vatican Radio he said the way the apostolic constitution had been received had put "many Anglicans, myself included ... in an awkward position".

Read it all here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

A history lesson lest we forget

Read more here. We also remember Bishop Janani Luwum, who's martyrdom set off a revival that continues to this day in Uganda. In addition to the Uganda Martyrs of the 1880s, Bishop Janani is also remember by the Church of England as a martyr. "Janani Luwum was survived by a widow, Mary Lawinyo Luwum and nine children. He was buried at his home village of Mucwini in the Kitgum District. He is recognised as a martyr by the Church of England and his death is commemorated on 17 February as a Lesser Festival. His statue is among the Twentieth Century Martyrs on the front of Westminster Abbey in London." Read it all here.

Bishop Festo Kivengere had a huge impact on my life when he was in exile following the persecution of the Anglican Church in Uganda by Idi Amin. He preached at Truro when I was in college and his talk changed my life. Here is a sample of Bishop Festo's preaching:

Bishop Festo Kivengere, (1919-1988) was a Ugandan, Anglican-Christian leader referred to by many as "the Billy Graham of Africa"

He played a huge role in a Christian revival in Southwestern Uganda, but had to flee in 1973 to neighboring Rwanda in fear for his life after speaking out against Idi Amin's tyrannical behavior.

Kivengere had been made bishop of Kigezi and was among several bishops summoned to Amin's quarters. Angry mobs called for their deaths. Eventually, all were permitted to leave but one, the archbishop, Janani Luwum. The others waited for Luwum to join them but he never came out. The next day the government announced that Luwum had died in an automobile accident. Four days later, despite government threats, 45,000 Ugandans gathered in the Anglican cathedral in Kampala for a memorial service honoring their fallen leader. Kivengere could not attend the service having been urged to flee Uganda by friends who said, "One dead bishop is enough," he and his wife that night drove as far as their vehicle could take them and with the help of local church people in the hills they walked until the next morning brought them to safety across the border in Rwanda.

John Sentamu, then an attorney who advocated judicial independence, was also persecuted by Idi Amin and fled Uganda for England in 1974. He was later ordained and today is the Archbishop of York.

He later authored the book "I Love Idi Amin" to emphasize the qualities of forgiveness for those who wronged you and love of those who persecute you. Kivengere stated, "On the cross, Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, because they know not what they do.' As evil as Idi Amin is, how can I do less toward him?"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bob Dylan: "Well, I am a true believer."

BF: You really give a heroic performance of O’ LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM The way you do it reminds me a little of an Irish rebel song. There’s something almost defiant in the way you sing, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” I don’t want to put you on the spot, but you sure deliver that song like a true believer.

BD: Well, I am a true believer.

Yep. From


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Canterbury left in an "awkward position" with a "sore ego" after Rome reaches out to Anglicans

From the London Times:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that the Pope’s offer for disaffected Anglicans to convert to Rome left him with a “sore ego” and put him in an “awkward position”.

But after meeting the Pope at the Vatican this weekend, Dr Rowan Williams insisted that relations between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches were back on track.

Dr Williams told the Pope of his embarrassment at the way the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced an Apostolic Constitution to set up Anglican Ordinariates for those who refuse to accept women priests and bishops. He had had only a few days’ notice, and made a late-night telephone call to the cardinal who heads the Council for Christian Unity, to find out what was going on.

Speaking to Vatican Radio yesterday, Dr Williams said: “Clearly many Anglicans, myself included, felt that it put us in an awkward position for a time – not the content [of the constitution] so much as some of the messages that were given out. I needed to share with the Pope some of those concerns. I think those were expressed and heard in a very friendly spirit.”

Dr Williams told the BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme, that the meeting with the Pope “went as well as I could have hoped”, and that dialogue under the Council for Christian Unity would continue as usual. This week, leaders of the Churches will discuss the third phase of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission. Dr Williams said that the Pope “was extremely enthusiastic about the next stage in ecumenical dialogue”.

Dr Williams denied that the Anglican Ordinariates were a departure from ecumenism. “It’s a pastoral measure for certain people, certain groups; it is not a new ecumenism.”

The Holy See described the meeting as cordial. The Pope gave the Archbishop a pectoral Cross, an indication that he recognises his episcopacy — in spite of a 19th-century papal bull under which Anglican orders are deemed “absolutely null and utterly void”.

Before the meeting, Dr Williams told the Financial Times that he had been left with a sore ego by the manner of the announcement. “I did have very short notice. I think that was a pity. It would have been good to discuss it a bit more. But I don’t think it’s a deadly blow, by any means. There are people who we knew were very likely to become Roman Catholics if the Church moved ahead with ordaining women as bishops here.”

Read it all here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rowan Williams protests at Catholic church's shock invitation to Anglicans during visit to Rome

From the Guardian:

The archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, took the highly unusual step yesterday of protesting personally to the pope about his shock announcement last month of special arrangements for the mass conversion to Catholicism of disillusioned, traditionalist Anglicans.

A spokeswoman for Lambeth Palace said after their meeting: "Obviously the archbishop expressed concern at the [decree announcing the special arrangements] and the way it happened. The pope listened in a friendly spirit."

A statement issued by the Vatican described their discussions as "cordial" and, without referring specifically to the pope's initiative, said they had "focused on recent events affecting relations between the Catholic church and the Anglican communion".

But the Church of England's version would indicate that this was the most strained encounter between a pontiff and primate since the two churches initiated direct, high-level contacts in the 1960s.

Their meeting was brief – only 20 minutes. And, in a break with custom, no arrangements were made for a restricted group of correspondents to witness the opening and closing phases of the talks.

A 10-line statement issued afterwards was not, as had been expected, a joint one. Vatican sources were keen to play down the significance of the archbishop's visit. They stressed he had been invited not by the pope but by a Vatican university. One described it as "a private meeting, only slightly more formal than a courtesy visit".

Nevertheless, the statement included an important endorsement of continued talks on unity. It said the primate and Pope Benedict had reiterated their "shared will to continue and to consolidate the ecumenical relationship between Catholics and Anglicans". And it noted that the commission entrusted with preparing a third round of talks between the two churches was due to meet soon.

In an interview with Vatican Radio afterwards, Williams said: "I wanted to express some of the concerns about the way in which the announcement of the [decree] had been handled and received, because clearly many Anglicans, myself included, felt that it put us in an awkward position for a time – not the content so much as some of the messages that were given out. So I needed to share with the pope some of those concerns, and I think those were expressed and heard in a very friendly spirit."

He added that he did not believe there had been a "dawn raid" on the Anglican communion and implied that his concern had been with the Vatican's apparent lack of consultation.

Benedict gave his guest a present that will stir comment among Anglicans, and perhaps raise some hackles. The primate was handed what a Vatican source said was a "very beautiful bishop's cross". A sign of fraternal respect – or something more loaded? That and other questions remained unanswered at the end of a visit that a source close to the arrangements said was fixed by Lambeth Palace six weeks ago, at about the time the archbishop learnt of the pope's initiative.

The biggest unanswered question is how exactly Catholics and Anglicans propose to move towards unity after years of progressive mutual alienation. While the leadership of the Anglican church has embraced women's ordination and, in the US, gay priests, the Vatican under Benedict has become increasingly proud of its conservatism on these and other issues.

Read it all here. Here's more:

Must be Santa - but who is Santa, eh?

Here it is - Dylan returns to the music video business after a twelve year absence, returning for a festive if somewhat boisterous holiday party that even name checks modern presidents up to Clinton as part of Santa's reindeer. What out for Dylan's hat changes and the fact that he seems almost invisible to almost everyone else at the party. Must be that wig. Ho, ho, ho!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rowan Williams in Rome speaks on clarifying "first order" and "second order" issues that seperate Canterbury and Rome

via e-mail:
The Archbishop of Canterbury today gave an address in Rome, as the guest of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The address is part of a symposium being held at the Gregorian University, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Cardinal Willebrands, the first president of the Council.

The Archbishop says in his introduction:

"Since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in a number of dialogues with other churches - including with the Anglican Communion - which have produced a very considerable number of agreed statements. This legacy has been brought together in a recent publication by the Vatican department to promote Christian Unity, whose first President during and after Vatican II, Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, is justly and happily celebrated in today's centenary conference.

Let me give an outline of what I want to say in the half an hour or so available. The strong convergence in these agreements about what the Church of God really is, is very striking. The various agreed statements of the churches stress that the Church is a community, in which human beings are made sons and daughters of God, and reconciled both with God and one another. The Church celebrates this through the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion in which God acts upon us to transform us 'in communion'. More detailed questions about ordained ministry and other issues have been framed in this context.

Therefore the major question that remains is whether in the light of that depth of agreement the issues that still divide us have the same weight - issues about authority in the Church, about primacy (especially the unique position of the pope), and the relations between the local churches and the universal church in making decisions (about matters like the ordination of women, for instance). Are they theological questions in the same sense as the bigger issues on which there is already clear agreement? And if they are, how exactly is it that they make a difference to our basic understanding of salvation and communion?

But if they are not, why do they still stand in the way of fuller visible unity? Can there, for example, be a model of unity as a communion of churches which have different attitudes to how the papal primacy is expressed?

The central question is whether and how we can properly tell the difference between 'second order' and 'first order' issues. When so very much agreement has been firmly established in first-order matters about the identity and mission of the Church, is it really justifiable to treat other issues as equally vital for its health and integrity?"
Tip of the tinfoil to MW. Full address now online here. From the Irish Times:

THE ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, speaking in Rome last night, appeared to throw down a challenge to the Catholic Church when he suggested that issues which separate Anglicans and Catholics may not be as “fundamentally church-dividing as our Roman Catholic friends generally assume”.

Dr Williams was speaking at a congress in Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian university, called to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Dutch cardinal Johannes Willebrands, the first head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian unity.

In the conclusion to his speech, Dr Williams said: “All I have been attempting to say here is that the ecumenical glass is genuinely half-full – and then to ask about the character of the unfinished business between us.

“For many of us who are not Roman Catholics, the question we want to put, in a grateful and fraternal spirit, is whether this unfinished business is as fundamentally church-dividing as our Roman Catholic friends generally assume and maintain.

“And if it isn’t, can we all allow ourselves to be challenged to address the outstanding issues with the same methodological assumptions and the same overall spiritual and sacramental vision that has brought us thus far?”

Making his first visit to Rome since the Holy See last month announced the creation of new ecclesiastical structures with which to welcome disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged that he could not ignore recent developments in ecumenical relations.

“Of course, there is the elephant in the room,” he said.

“It is impossible to open up these issues without some brief reference to issues of very immediate interest in the lives of the Anglican and Roman Catholic communions,” he added.

“The current proposals for a Covenant between Anglican provinces represent an effort to create not a centralised decision-making executive but a ‘community of communities’ that can manage to sustain a mutually nourishing and mutually critical life, with all consenting to certain protocols of decision-making together.”

Read it all here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

London Times: Heading for a Rome Showdown

From here:

The Archbishop of Westminster has blamed Church of England bishops for keeping their leader in the dark about the Pope’s attempts to entice Anglicans to Rome.

As the Archbishop of Canterbury prepared to visit Pope Benedict XVI for the first time since plans to admit Anglican opponents of women priests into the Catholic faith were published, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, deepened the row.

Archbishop Nicholls said that it had been the “duty” of the Anglicans involved in the talks to keep their primate informed about the Pope’s plans.

The Archbishop was defending the Pope against accusations of discourtesy after he failed to alert Dr Williams of the proposals for an Apostolic Constitution, or decree to set up a new Anglican ordinariate. The announcement was sprung on a distressed Dr Williams last month with barely two weeks’ notice.

In an interview with The Tablet, Archbishop Nichols declined to comment on the accusation from the Anglican Bishop of Southwark, Dr Tom Butler, who accused the Holy See of discourtesy in failing to consult Dr Williams.

Archbishop Nichols said: “While approaches had been made to the Holy See, I don’t think that had been conveyed to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Frankly it was the duty of the Anglicans to do that.”

The Apostolic Constitution, published by the Vatican this month, enables thousands of disaffected Anglicans to become Catholics. Married Anglican clergy will be allowed to train for the priesthood in seminaries set up within the new Anglican ordinariates. The admission of married men will be “on a case-by-case basis”.

It even allows for married Anglican bishops to be granted the status of retired Catholic bishops, to become members of the local Catholic bishops’ conference and to be allowed to use the “insignia” of episcopal office, such as the mitre, pectoral cross and staff.

Former Catholic priests who left the Church to marry and subsequently became Anglican clergymen will not be permitted to return. More than one in ten Church of England priests who converted to Roman Catholicism over the ordination of women priests have returned to ministry in the established Anglican Church, according to figures released to The Times. Such priests have warned Anglican clergy against going over, with one saying that he had not been made welcome in Catholic churches.

A total of 441 clergy received compensation payments worth £27.5 million when they left the Church of England after the General Synod voted to ordain women priests in 1992. Of these, 260 went to the Catholic Church. Thirty-three have returned to stipendiary ministry in the Church of England.

Senior Catholics sought yesterday to quash speculation that the Pope’s visit to Britain next September had been downgraded from a State to a pastoral visit because of the dispute over the new Anglican Ordinariate.

The Queen, who was expected to host the Pope at Buckingham Palace, made no mention of a Papal visit in the Queen’s Speech yesterday. A Church source said that this was because the visit was not due to take place until the end of next year. Downing Street declined to comment.

Read it all here.

Presiding Bishop: Embrace the change - have no fear, be irritable and embarrassing! It's fun!

From here:
“Decisions made here sometimes irritate other people,” said Jefferts Schori. “We also embarrass other parts of the Communion when we talk about sexuality.”

The Episcopal Church in America has about 2.3 million members in the United States and is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California has 70 congregations with 14,000 members, according to the diocesan Web site.

Jefferts Schori, 55, spoke as Northern Californian Episcopalians ended their convention. She spoke in a relaxed but friendly style from prepared notes.

During her sermon, the bishop talked about the importance of change, a theme she carried into a question-and- answer forum with churchgoers later.

Worshippers, who came from throughout the Sacramento area, asked about same-sex liturgies, health care reform, growth in the church, and the need to heal racial divisions.

Ruth Lindgren asked about the recent Vatican announcement inviting Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church. Many leaned forward in their pews to hear the bishop’s response.

Jefferts Schori smiled and nodded and said the policy was not new. A similar one had been in effect for 30 years, she said. Then she quoted another bishop.

“The road between Canterbury and Rome is well- traveled,” said Jefferts Schori.
Read it all here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Night at the Cafe: Lord of the Dance

Diocese of Ft. Worth Update: Appellate court issues stay in response to mandamus filing

via e-mail:

FORT WORTH, Texas – The Fort Worth Court of Appeals has ordered the suspension of further proceedings in a suit brought against the diocese last April. The stay was issued late on Monday, Nov. 16, in response to a Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed by the diocese on Friday, Nov. 13. The suit is pending before the 141st District Court. The Hon. John P. Chupp is the trial judge.

Monday’s order, issued by the Court of Appeals for the Second District of Texas, says, “The court has considered relators’ [the diocese’s] petition for writ of madamus and motion for stay and is of the tentative opinion that relators are entitled to relief or that a serious question concerning the relief requires further consideration.” The order sets a deadline of 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30, for any response to be filed by parties of interest, who could include Judge Chupp and attorneys Jonathan Nelson and Kathleen Wells.

The stay is in effect until the Court of Appeals issues a decision.

The petition filed Friday in the appellate court is a method of remedying an error of the trial court. In August a Rule 12 motion was filed by attorney Shelby Sharpe on behalf of the diocese, asking the court to prohibit plaintiffs’ attorneys Nelson and Wells from representing any entity named The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth or the Corporation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and to remove those entities as plaintiffs in the suit. Hearings on the Rule 12 motion were held before Judge Chupp on Sept. 7 and Sept. 16. Judge Chupp ruled on Sept. 16 that Nelson and Wells could not represent the diocese associated with Bishop Jack Leo Iker. He declined, however, to find that there is only one Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth and one diocesan Corporation, even though the plaintiffs themselves asserted as much in their original filing last April.

Friday’s petition asked the appellate court to order Judge Chupp to grant the defendants’ Rule 12 motion in its original form. The petition summarized the issue with the question, “Do the Plaintiffs’ counsel have authority to bring suit on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth?” and argued that the plaintiff Diocese and Corporation should be dismissed from the case. Such a conclusion would not end the suit itself, but it would prevent the diocese from appearing to sue itself, a situation which is not supportable in law.

A petition for writ of mandamus (literally, a request for a written command from a higher court) was filed because an ordinary appeal is not an adequate remedy to correct a trial court’s error on a Rule 12 motion. Friday’s petition asked the appellate court to require Judge Chupp to find that Nelson and Wells have no authority to represent the diocese and corporation, but that they may represent the individuals claiming to hold office in those entities. Because they represent a minority segment of the diocese which chose to remain aligned under The Episcopal Church, the petition would clarify the clients’ status as leaders of “the diocesan minority.”

At the request of lead attorney Shelby Sharpe, the petition was prepared for the diocese and the diocesan corporation by Scott A. Brister, who retired in September from Place 9 on the Texas State Supreme Court to return to private practice and has joined Sharpe in the defense of the suit. Justice Brister was appointed to the court in November 2003 and subsequently elected for a full term. A Waco native and graduate of Harvard Law School, he has served on the bench in Texas since 1989. He is co-author of the reference book Texas Pretrial Practice.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was organized in 1982. It is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and the Province of the Southern Cone. The Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker has served as the third diocesan Bishop of Fort Worth since 1995. The diocese enjoys companion relationships with the Dioceses of Northern Malawi and Northern Mexico.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday at the Cafe: You Raise Me Up

Rowan Williams: Anglican future looks 'chaotic and uncertain'

From the London Times:

The future of the Anglican Communion looks “more than usually chaotic and uncertain”, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has admitted.

In what amounted to a plea to the Church of England’s Anglo-Catholics to resist the temptation to convert to Roman Catholicism over the issue of women bishops, he said: “God knows what the future holds for any of us . . .” He insisted, however, that it remained possible to be at once holy, Catholic and Anglican.

Dr Williams did not refer directly to the Pope’s response to requests from some Church of England bishops and traditional Anglicans around the world for a means of admission to the Catholic Church. He said that it was still possible “to lead lives of Catholic holiness even in the Communion of the See of Canterbury”.

The Catholic Church’s Holy See published the Apostolic Constitution or Papal decree this week, setting out the norms for the new Anglican Ordinariate, which will allow Anglo-Catholics to become Roman Catholics while still retaining their liturgies and other aspects of their Anglican heritage.

The new ordinariate is likely to be named after Cardinal John Henry Newman, the Catholic convert from Anglicanism who is to be beatified next year when the Pope visits Britain.

Dozens of members of the traditionalist group Forward in Faith could opt to move to the ordinariate if the Church of England General Synod proceeds with the consecration of women bishops without making some kind of statutory provision.

Dr Williams was preaching on All Saints’ Day at All Saints, Central London, at a service to mark the 150th anniversary of the church’s consecration. All Saints is a prominent centre of Catholic Anglican worship in Britain. In the sermon, published yesterday on his website, Dr Williams, whose own background is from the Church of England’s catholic wing, paid tribute to the Catholics and Anglicans who went to see the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux during their recent tour of Britain.

He added: “God knows what the future holds for any of us, for any of our ecclesiastical institutions, but we can at least begin with what we can be sure of — that God has graced us with the lives of saints, that God has been credible in this fellowship with these people.”

He added: “This church with its very particular place in the history of the Church of England is one small but significant facet of that great mystery and that great gift. And at times when the future seems more than usually chaotic and uncertain, it doesn’t hurt simply to give thanks.”

Dr Williams will go to Rome next week, when he will have an audience with the Pope and deliver a public address at an ecumenical conference at the Gregorian University.

Read it all here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bob Dylan returns to Fairfax

UPDATED THOUGHT: Do you think it was "coincidence" that Bob Dylan decided to play the "Patriot Center" on Veterans Day? Certainly the set-list played well to a country at war just outside the nation's capitol as well as to veterans who come home - or not come home - from war.

Bob Dylan returned to Fairfax tonight, bringing with him a mosh pit (but no giant claw) and a much younger crowd. How many guys can pack in 20-somethings into an arena at the age of 68? But he didn't seem to be anywhere near to pushing 70 - it does seem he's so much younger than that now.

Great set-list, tracking with theme of separation through the first part of the night, he later turned to a broader set and who knows what theme he might have had? Perhaps each was a whim, but they certainly seemed to build on each other through the night. I was about three or four "rows" back from "the rail" which gave me a good view, if not for the rather sloshed blond coeds who would come through with handfuls of beer as though that might help them get to "the rail" faster. I'll post the setlist as soon as it becomes available.

Had a blast - Dylan has left the keyboards where he's stood for the past four years at least and is coming out to a mic at center stage which he grabs like he's a Las Vegas crooner or at least Leonard Cohen. He's very good at it though and so perhaps he was right all those years ago in San Francisco - he is a Song & Dance Man after all.

Met up with Cafe Regulars Thomas and Mary Alice at Brion's Grill where we had burgers before heading over to the Patriot Center at George Mason to get our wrist bands and head in. We had a great time of sharing and met up with two other local folks and spent the evening hanging out and swapping stories.

Again, the crowd on the floor tracked to teens and twenties - with a few smatterings of oldies but goodies as well as some relics from the 60s. I was standing next to a boisterous gang of teen boys who spent the pre-concert time laughing and shoving each other in fun. Once Dylan took the stage, though, all four of them stood immovable, transfixed, staring at the man behind the keyboard and mic. I mean, they were like statues, eyes wide. Yeah, that's really Bob Dylan.

You know, there's nothing quite like seeing four teenage boys stand in awe.

Dylan sounded great - channeling his New Orleans Bluesman persona when necessary and at other times sounding as clear and concise as he may have in 1974. Charlie Sexton rocked the place - the band was electric and tight and it was clear Charlie was taking the lead - after Dylan, of course.

There was no opening act, Dylan took the stage just after 8:00 p.m. and played for two hours. Thomas and I swapped lists of what we'd like to hear Dylan play. I got my High Water and Forgetful Heart and and Jolene, Thomas got his Man In a Long Black Coat and Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum. Dylan played many other favorites, from Don't Think Twice, to Ain't Talkin' to Ballad of a Thin Man. We had fun calling out the songs. One guy, though, who was in front of me managed to call out a song (Highway 61) before Dylan and the Band had even played the first note. That was pretty cool.

The photos (and short video of Forgetful Heart) I took were with the handy-dandy cell phone - but at least they are there. And so was I. Thanks, Bob.

Here's the set-list:

1. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
(Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
2. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
(Bob on guitar, Donnie on lap steel, Tony on standup bass)
3. Man In The Long Black Coat (Bob on guitar, Donnie on lap steel)
4. Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
(Bob on keyboard then center stage on harp, Donnie pedal steel)
5. If You Ever Go To Houston (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
6. High Water (For Charley Patton) (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on banjo)
7. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
(Bob on keyboard and harp, Donnie on lap steel)
8. Forgetful Heart (Bob center stage on harp, Donnie on violin, Tony on standup bass)
9. Cold Irons Bound (Bob center stage on harp, Donnie on lap steel)
10. Workingman's Blues #2 (Bob center stage on harp, Donnie on pedal steel)
11. Highway 61 Revisited (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
12. Ain't Talkin' (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on viola)
13. Thunder On The Mountain (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)
14. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob center stage on harp, Donnie on lap steel)

15. Like A Rolling Stone (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on pedal steel)
16. Jolene (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel, Tony on standup bass)
17. All Along The Watchtower (Bob on keyboard, Donnie on lap steel)

Thanks to BobLinks. Bill, you rock!

UPDATE: RWB's friend Russ has a terrific review (with real pictures unlike my cell phone attempts!) at RWB - check it all out!

NEW UPDATE: More reviews at RWB and a really good one from The Washington Post. Okay, I'll keep my Washington Post subscription on the Kindle. Here's an excerpt:

The 68-year-old Boy From the North Country born Robert Allen Zimmerman has been trying to break his own myth since the mid-'60s, when he alienated fans of his early folk albums by plugging in and rocking out. Since then, his muse has come and gone, but his contrarian streak has been a constant.

For the past 20 years, the road has been constant too. Dylan tours endlessly, turning up at a half-full arena or a minor league ballpark near you again and again, as if to prove he's no sage, just an itinerant song-and-dance-man. Though late-period albums like "Time Out of Mind" and "Love and Theft" have evinced a creative renewal, he's often been erratic, even indifferent onstage. Still, there's something noble in his doggedness, singing on even though thousands of shows have curdled his voice into a viscous, gut-shot croak. On a good night, he can still remind you why people worshiped him in the first place.

Wednesday was a good night.

At the Patriot Center, Dylan seemed interested, even invigorated, as his crackerjack five-piece band tore through a set that emphasized the brilliant extremities of his ocean-deep discography. He kept mum save to utter a single "thank you" and to introduce the players at an auctioneer's tempo. But his singing was clear and direct -- and his manner determined.

Though his main instrument is the keyboard these days, he strapped on a guitar to hack his way through a bloody "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and "The Man in the Long Black Coat" early in the set, always a good sign. He stayed in front of his lithe, limber combo to blow harp on a buoyant "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum," swaying and preening like . . . well, like a frontman. A queasy smile radiating from beneath the wide brim of his hat, and sporting a day-glo shirt to match the trim of his undertaker's suit, he looked like Jack Nicholson's incarnation of the Joker. But just seeing him appear to take pleasure in his songs and his band was enthralling.

Maybe it was the freshness of the material that kept him so attentive: He played more songs from the present decade than from the '60s. Though he now favors arrangements that place the roll above the rock, "Highway 61 Revisited" felt doubly urgent and volatile sandwiched between "Workingman's Blues #2" and "Ain't Talkin,' " both from 2006's terrific but more mannered "Modern Times." "Ballad of a Thin Man" swirled with noirish menace.

And then it was over ...

Read it all here. Photo from RWB.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Virginia Supreme Court sets dates for appeal by the Diocese of Virginia and The Episcopal Church

We've learned that the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Virginia has issued two Certificates of Appeal - one for the Diocese of Virginia and one for The Episcopal Church. This sets in motion a timeline for the appeals process. The Appellants' (Diocese of Virginia/Episcopal Church) briefs are due by December 21, 2009. They could file earlier though. That will be interesting to watch. The rest of the dates flow from there. Stay tuned - and please keep watch and pray.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday Night at the Cafe: You go your way, I'll go mine

And you wonder why I like Dylan so much these days. This is a great cover of the song. I'll see Mr. Dylan on Wednesday.

Sometimes it gets so hard to care,
It can't be this way ev'rywhere.
And I'm gonna let you pass,
Yes, and I'll go last.
Then time will tell just who fell
And who's been left behind,
When you go your way and I'll go mine.

B. Dylan

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Archbishop interviewed by The New York Times

NYT: We should point out that you were deposed from ministry of the Episcopal Church by the presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, after you threatened to have your diocesein Pittsburgh secede.

Duncan: That was a year ago, but what’s interesting is that virtually no one in the Anglican world accepted that sentence. Within two weeks of being deposed, I was received at Lambeth Palace in London by the archbishop of Canterbury, who continues to consider me a bishop.
That's right - he did. Read it all here.

Former TEC Dioceses Welcome Congregations

Former dioceses in The Episcopal Church welcome more congregations into the fold. From The Living Church:
As two former Episcopal dioceses hold conventions this weekend, they are beginning to incorporate congregations from across the nation.

The Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh will vote on welcoming Harvest Anglican Church, Homer City, Pa.; Church of the Transfiguration, Cleveland, Ohio; HolyTrinityChurch, Raleigh, N.C.; and St. James Church, San Jose, Calif.

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (Southern Cone) plans to receive St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church, Springdale, Ark., as a new mission station. It also will welcome two existing parishes: St. Matthias’ Anglican Church, Dallas; and Church of the Holy Spirit, Tulsa, Okla.

On Oct. 30, the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee went to court against St. Andrew’s Church, Nashville, which left the Episcopal Church in 2006 and has since announced its affiliation with the Diocese of Quincy (Ill.).

The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin (Southern Cone) has welcomed three neighboring California parishes — St. Andrew’s in the Desert, Lancaster; St. David’s, San Rafael; and Santa Maria de Juquila, Seaside — and Jesus the Good Shepherd, Henderson, Nevada.

In the context of the Anglican Church in North America’s constitution [PDF], such an elastic definition of diocesan borders is a feature and not a bug.

“Congregations and clergy are related together in a diocese, cluster, or network (whether regional or affinity-based), united by a bishop,” the ACNA’s constitution says. “Dioceses, clusters or networks (whether regional or affinity-based) may band together for common mission, or as distinct jurisdictions at the sub-Provincial level.”

The Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) is establishing one type of network within ACNA: regional districts.

The Rt. Rev. David Bena, a suffragan bishop of CANA and a former suffragan in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, is guiding the growth of the recently established Anglican District in the Northeast.

“In the Northeast we had ten parishes that were interested in doing mission and ministry together,” he told The Living Church. “They were not connected except by bishop visitations.”

The new district will unite seven congregations in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Two other CANA districts unite congregations in Virginia and in the Great Lakes.

“We are going to coordinate on overseas missions and concentrate on the possibility of planting new churches,” Bishop Bena said of his district. “We’re also talking about trying to plant some churches up here in the rocky soil of the Northeast.”

While serving in Albany, Bishop Bena could travel from one end of the diocese to the other within six hours. Today, he travels more by airline than by car. His work also has him providing pastoral guidance to two different types of congregations: those that separated from the Episcopal Church, and those that have approached CANA from evangelical and independent backgrounds.
Read it all here.

Saturday at the Cafe: Wayfaring Stranger

Friday, November 06, 2009

U2 Live from the Rose Bowl

Friday Night at the Cafe Things Have Changed

Episcopal Diocese of Virginia endorses workshop to find "the way forward" to institute same sex blessings in the diocese

Via e-mail from the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia Region IV:
The Way Forward
Part 2

Join us for a Workshop to explore The Way Forward to full inclusion and blessing in the Church within this Diocese. This meeting will be a follow-up to a similar event that took place at St. Mark's, Richmond in September. Members of parishes who participated in the Diocese's listening process last spring and summer have been invited to discuss their experiences. We will also discuss the next steps in our discernment for "the way forward." One and all are welcome!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009
12:00-3:00 p.m.
St. Anne's Episcopal Church
1700 Wainwright Drive, Reston VA 20190

Light lunch provided, $6 donation requested.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bob Dylan: The Baby Huey of our Generation?

Today on Tap we have Andrew Ferguson's brilliant smack-down in the Weekly Standard (didn't they get the memo, Sean?) of Bob Dylan's entire career ever published - pushing the infamous Rolling Stone review of Self Portrait off the #1 Spot. At least Greil Marcus and Bob Dylan ended up friends.

Well, this one - it's a hoot!

We expect the same thing to happen with Mr. Ferguson, so Mr. Ferguson, do get the boat ready.

Not only is Dylan sent up, dressed down, and shipped out in the most amusing though lengthy stylistic prose, so is every single one of his fans - no small feat, really, calling us "the battered wives of the music industry." That's true if you think Baby Huey should be banned from YouTube for being so non-PC (ah, but we were so much older then). One wonders if Mr. Ferguson has seen the latest music video for Beyond Here Lies Nothing? Baby Huey? I think not. No, I think not.

The composition of this review - which was to be covering Dylan's new Christmas album - is so all-encompassing of the man's nearly 50-year career, well, it seems it had to be made into a dramatic reading.

What else could we do?

It really is the only way we could think to respond - we had a blast recording it, for there is surely evidence that it's not the fans Dylan badgers - but the smug, self-righteous indignant non-producing critics. It's also clear that Mr. Ferguson missed Together Through Life, surely not the album one would have sensibly produced with Obama in the White House.

In fact, does it not just pleases the mind to imagine Mr. Ferguson finding himself out out with Dylan on the next three-hour tour boat out of Honolulu? Would that not be a fitting response - a life spent marooned on the same deserted island. From Baby Huey to Lil' Buddy? Ah, the possibilities - for they do seem to be two of a kind!

No wonder Mr. Ferguson's in a bit of a huff.

So here is the latest Dramatic Reading at the BabyBlueCafe:

Once again we have dramatic reading here at the Cafe. Click the recording above, or click here.

iTunes has recently changed locations for podcasts when Apple's web services changed to MobileMe - so stay tuned for that location.

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.

And just so we are all on the same page, we bring you Mr. Ferguson's Bob Dylan - the Baby Huey of our generation!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


This is exactly like the machine I used the very first time I voted. Remember, in many parts of the United States today is a day to Vote!

Monday, November 02, 2009

But wait - there's more: Episcopal Church sues another local parish for their property

No really, everything is fine. From the Tennessean:
For the past three years, the two sides have been at a standstill, with neither willing to budge. The congregation of St. Andrew's continued to worship in the building, while the diocese waited for a change of heart on the part of Guill's congregation. That ended Friday, when the diocese filed suit against St. Andrew's to reclaim the property.

"We feel like we have left time for God to work," Bauerschmidt said. "We would like them to participate in the life of the diocese. But leadership at St. Andrew's seems unwilling to do that."

Many court cases

Bauerschmidt is the latest Episcopal bishop to end up in court with former members of his flock. In recent years, about 60 disputes over Episcopal property have been decided by lawsuits. In almost every case, courts have ruled in favor of dioceses because of an Episcopal church law known as the Dennis Canon. That church law states that local church property is held in trust for the denomination.

In St. Andrew's case, the church bought the Woodmont property from the diocese for $10 in 1966, and the deed does not contain any mention of a trust involving the diocese.
Read it all here.