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Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill
Church of England cannot support the Bill
Church of England
May 18, 2013
The House of Commons will consider the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill at Report Stage and Third Reading on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st May.
A Church of England briefing for MPs in advance of the Bill's Second Reading was published in February. That briefing summarised the principled reasons why the Church could not support the Bill and included a detailed Q&A on some of the more commonly asked questions (and misconceptions) about the impact of the legislation on the Church of England. It can be seen here.
The Worst Sermon Ever? The Presiding Bishop Explains Away Paul and the Female Slave
THE UNDERGROUND PEWSTER
May 15, 2013
While vacationing paying a pastoral visit to Curaçao this past weekend (on my dime?), our Presiding Bishop delivered what may be her worst sermon ever. I suspect she did not study my blog post from 3 years ago which I reposted this Sunday about the missing verses from the lectionary selections for Sunday: Revelation 22:12-14,16-17,20-21 (See RCL and the Abbrevelation of John) for amongst other misinterpretations she said, "The reading from Revelation pushes us in the same direction, outward and away from our own self-righteousness, inviting us to look harder for God's gift and presence all around us. Jesus says he's looking for everybody, anyone who's looking for good news, anybody who is thirsty. There are no obstacles or barriers - just come. God is at work everywhere, even if we can't or won't see it immediately."
Confusion (among Amateur Canonists) about California Ruling
By A.S. HALEY
THE ANGLICAN CURMUDGEON
May 13, 2013
Now comes a task I would rather not face, given that I count many non-canon lawyers who are bloggers on Episcopal matters at least as colleagues, if not as personal friends. But in the wake of my commentary on the recent St. James ruling, a host of lay would-be canonists have rushed in to assure everyone that the ruling is not as bad as it is, or that it does not really say what it says. The latest comes from the estimable Father Haller, but he and others have also been contributing to the comments on other blogs. (Note that no one has seen fit to come here and question me directly.)
Please Mr. Keller this is not the time for philosophical niceties over gay marriage
By Julian Mann
Special to Virtueonline
May 13, 2103
One hopes he was misquoted but London Times columnist Tim Montgomerie does not invent quotes. In an article entitled 'The Bible Belt is becoming a force of good', he quotes 'influential New York pastor' Tim Keller as saying: "You can still believe homosexuality is a sin and still believe that same-sex marriage should be legal."
That quotation comes in a disturbing section in Mr Montgomerie's article: "Let's start with one of the great moral causes of our time: gay marriage. The majority of American Christians still oppose this civil right (sic) but opinion is changing among younger churchgoers: 44 per cent of evangelicals (sic) under the age of 30 favour allowing gays and lesbians to marry. Some take this view because they see nothing wrong with homosexuality. Others support same-sex marriage laws because they don't believe it is right to impose their own religious views on others." He then quotes Mr Keller as representing the latter tendency.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF THE AUCKLAND DIOCESE
By Bishop Ross Bay
May 10, 2013
Greetings to you all.
You may already be aware of an issue involving myself as Bishop of Auckland appearing as the Defendant in a Human Rights Review Tribunal hearing this week.
The process has been a testing time for many, especially those directly involved in the case. Please appreciate that it is inappropriate for me to enter into extensive discussions about the case while the Tribunal is still considering its decision. It is expected that the Tribunal will be deliberating for some time before delivering its findings.
Why a Liturgical/Sacramental Church
By Fr. Ron Gauss
Special to virtueonline
May 11, 2013
When I look around at the People of God gathered together (the Church) every Sunday, I never know who will be there.
There are many varied reasons for individuals not being at the gathering of God's people commonly called the Church. Illness, vacations, family requirements, baseball/football games, too early, too late, I was out late last night, too boring, or I am just not interested.
When I first became a believer in Jesus (to many a Christian), I travelled two hours to get to church. It was a liturgical church, but not like Bishop Seabury Anglican Church. It was a liturgical Church because it was a public service that followed a bulletin (ritual). We gathered, had an opening prayer, sang another hymn, heard a sermon, prayed, sang a closing hymn, and went home. Wasn't very exciting, but it was something that I believed the Lord commanded.
Ten Signs of Hope for a Declining Church
By Chuck Lawless
May 7, 2013
The question didn't surprise me, but I wasn't ready with an answer. I was a young church consultant, and the church's leadership team had several questions. The one for which I had no answer at the time was, "What characteristics have you seen in churches that seemed to be dying, but that experienced growth after a consultation?" After many more years of consulting, here is my answer today.
The leader is preaching the Bible. Numerical growth can occur without preaching the Word, but genuine personal and congregational transformation doesn't happen apart from the Word. The struggling churches I've seen experience healthy change have been led by leaders who preach the Word. They don't compromise on this task, knowing that the Word still changes lives.
Somebody is praying. Sometimes it's the leader, and sometimes it's another church member - but somebody is beseeching God to help the church turn around. I've met church members who prayed daily for their church for years, and they never wavered in that commitment. Consistent prayer is a confession we can't change a church's direction apart from the power of God.
Vulnerability and Change
by Bob Ragan
May 6, 2013
Twenty-five years ago I had my last homosexual encounter with a former lover. It was the first week of January 1988. This significant event came after I had rededicated my life to the Lord in August of 1987. At that point in my life, I had lived for 11 years as a gay-identified man. During the second week of that January, I broke my silence and shared my past with my church family. Only my pastor had known of my history. During the third week of January, I was visiting a church in Atlanta and heard about Regeneration Ministries. The next week, I visited with Alan Medinger at the Regeneration office in Baltimore. I walked into my first Regeneration meeting in Northern Virginia during the first week of February 1988 and my life has never be the same.
The Episcopal Church and South Carolina: Limits to Tolerance and Inclusion
By Ladson F. Mills III
Special to Virtueonline
May 3, 2013
Edwin Friedman, author, therapist and leadership consultant, observed that when "anxiety reaches certain thresholds, reasonableness and honesty no longer defend against illusion". This would explain the recent week here in the church in South Carolina.
I was taken aback when it was reported by a local blogger that I was facing the possibility of being deposed as a priest of the Episcopal Church. I never considered such a thing in my active ministry or that it could happen in retirement.
Judge's Ruling in St. James Case Puts Cloud on Many Former Episcopal Properties in California
By A.S. HALEY
THE ANGLICAN CURMUDGEON
May 2, 2013
Judge Kim Dunning of the Orange County Supreme Court handed down on May 1 a surprise ruling in the case involving the property of St. James's parish in Newport Beach, and held that St. James could not retain title to its property after it voted in 2004 to disaffiliate from the Episcopal Church (USA). But due to the bizarre reasoning she used to reach that conclusion, the ruling -- if upheld on appeal -- would put a cloud on the title of every previous sale or disposition of any Episcopal parish property in the State since 1980.
The wrinkle in the St. James case -- a feature which distinguished it from the cases of two other parishes in the Diocese of Los Angeles (St. David's Hollywood; and All Saints, Long Beach) which Judge Dunning ruled last September could not retain their properties either -- was that St. James had been given an explicit letter from the Diocese in 1991 prior to purchasing the property at issue here, and undertaking the multi-million-dollar expense of developing it. The letter, written by then Canon to the Ordinary D. Bruce MacPherson (who resigned last year from his later jurisdiction as the bishop diocesan of Western Louisiana), told the parish (its text is reproduced on page 5 of the opinion linked above, and a facsimile of the original may be viewed on page 12 of the brief linked here; I have added the bold emphasis below): The Rector, Wardens and Vestry of Saint James' Parish, Inc. of Newport Beach, are given permission by the Bishop of Los Angeles, the Rt. Rev. Frederick H. Borsch, to purchase and own the property on 32nd Street in Newport Beach, in the name of the Rector, Wardens and Vestry of Saint James' Parish, Inc. and not held in trust for the Diocese of Los Angeles, or the Corporation Sole.
THE WOODLANDS, TX: A Day in A Life: The Bishop's Sunday
Have crozier - will travel
By Mary Ann Mueller in The Woodlands, Texas
VOL Special Correspondent
May 1, 2013
It's 4 o'clock in the morning. The first rays of dawn dispelling the blackened sky, are still more than two hours away. Clark Lowenfield is already up preparing for his Day of Firsts. In the predawn silence he recites the Daily Office, quietly prays, studies the Bible, and does spiritual journaling.
The Rt. Rev. Clark Lowenfield is the newly minted bishop of the ACNA Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast, which is still in the early stages of formation. He was consecrated to his new post on April 20. He is still so new in his apostolic position that he doesn't yet readily answer to "Bishop" when being hailed.
Bishop Lowenfield is also the senior pastor of HopePointe Anglican Church, originally an AMiA church plant, now a member of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).
Belief in God May Boost Treatment of Mental Illness
By Denise Chow,
LiveScience Staff Writer
April 27, 2013
Patients who believe in God may experience better short-term treatment outcomes for psychiatric illness, according to a new study.
Individuals who described themselves as having strong faith reported having a better overall response to treatment, said David Rosmarin, a clinician and instructor in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
"We found that patients who had higher levels of belief in God had better treatment outcomes - better well-being, less depression and less anxiety," Rosmarin told LiveScience. [8 Ways Religion Impacts Your Life]
Ten Theses for Seminaries
By George Sumner
April 29, 2013
Almost half a century ago, the Pusey Report in the Episcopal Church foretold, among other things, consolidation and radical change among the denomination's theological seminaries. Such change in finally upon us. Several schools in the United States and in Canada have closed, a number are alive in name only, and others in each country approach their demise. Several years ago I was surprised to hear that a majority of Episcopal ordinands had attended none of the established eleven.
In the face of this dire climate, the Episcopal seminaries' effort at cooperation did not touch on core tasks; similarly in 2010 in the Anglican Church of Canada, when all the stakeholders were gathered in Montreal, the life-and-death institutional issues had to be bracketed and left aside. Simultaneous with a major reordering of our parishes and dioceses is this a turning-point for theological education, but we should not expect some grand compromise or new deal.
This is as it should be, since the network of schools was never planned systematically. In the midst of this crisis, the remedies sometimes float about as well=meaning generalizations: diversity, lay empowerment, the missional, etc. True enough, but such themes do not get to the heart of what is afoot.
WASHINGTON: Katharine Jefferts Schori's Cosmic Earth Day
By Jeffrey Walton
April 25, 2013
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke recently at a Washington National Cathedral service themed around Earth Day. (Photo: The Living Church)
Salvation is a cosmic act about all creation "not simply a few human beings," according to the Episcopal Church's top bishop. Speaking April 21 at the Washington National Cathedral, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori gave an Earth Day sermon on becoming "effective shepherds and pasture tenders for the whole creation" but seemed to downplay mankind's preeminent position in creation, placing humanity on equal footing with microbes.
The Presiding Bishop's sermon illustrated the interconnectedness of all life with an examination of how humans coexist with bacteria.
"Microbes are part of us, in a very real sense our intimate neighbors or members, and the task is to learn how to manage the system for better health as a whole and in all its parts," Jefferts Schori proposed.
Boston: A Christian Response
The Rev. Matt Walter
Tampa Muslim Outreach
The bombings, murders and subsequent manhunt surrounding the Boston Marathon this year have shocked and saddened the nation.
We grieve for families who lost loved ones. We grieve for those who lost limbs or who are still struggling to stay alive. We grieve that our culture and society are threatened by terrorism. But there is something else about which I grieve personally.
I grieve that that there is a young man recovering from gunshot wounds who somehow became deluded enough to think that indiscriminate killing was desirable. He walked on American streets, studied in an American university, spent time with American friends, watched American TV and ate American food. Then he decided to try to destroy the very security, prosperity, and freedom he himself enjoyed, and in the attempt he brought untold grief and pain to others and ruined his own life. What went wrong?
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