06 December 2008

Tim update

We've had some news from Fran regarding Tim, make sure to check out the last two updates by clicking here, or clicking Tim's name in the prayers of the people.

On that note, underlined names in the prayers link to a page with information about the request or the person.

If you have requested our prayers for someone, please give us periodic updates.

04 December 2008

What did Lambeth Palace say - really

According to the ENS,
A spokesperson for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has responded to the Common Cause Partnership's December 3 release of a provisional constitution and canons that outline the formation of what they are calling a new Anglican province in North America.

"There are clear guidelines set out in the Anglican Consultative Council Reports, notably ACC 10 in 1996 (resolution 12), detailing the steps necessary for the amendments of existing provincial constitutions and the creation of new provinces," the spokesperson said. "Once begun, any of these processes will take years to complete. In relation to the recent announcement from the meeting of the Common Cause Partnership in Chicago, the process has not yet begun."

Some people are reading that the ABC has outright rejected the schismatic cause. Although I hope this is the case, that is not what the spokesperson said.

What the press release says is, there are ways and means to apply for provincial status. That takes time and they haven't even started the process.

The facts show that except for recognition from GAFCON, it's too early to recognize Duncan's group. They have not formalized themselves or their canons and constitutions. That will not come until sometime next summer.

The ABC is not thick enough to recognize, at this time, a group that 1) is still wet behind the ears with 2) canons and constitutions still wet from the printer and 3) no one knows if it will be around in two months or if it will be in splinters. ++Williams just isn't the type to give a knee-jerk reaction, as we know too well.

Although the Lambeth Palace announcement could be taken as a dismissal, (or as ice water thrown in their face) let's wait and see what happens in the next couple of months.

At any rate, it really doesn't matter. Jim Naughton puts it this way
The likelihood of this proposed province will receive any official recognition from the Communion suddenly seems rather dim, primarily because it seems unlikely the conservatives will submit to this process.
I agree. They will never humble themselves to seek permission/recognition/sanction from anyone. They are a law unto themselves -- that's the only thing that matters.

So, how do I see the the statement? It's a CYA statement: something had to be said. So, they issued a staement that says nothing and was intended to say nothing.

Here is the text of the resolution in question:

Resolution 12: Creation of new Provinces

Resolved that this Council

  1. affirms its commitment to assisting in the creation of new Provinces, where conditions indicate that such a development is appropriate in the Anglican Communion;
  2. urges those involved in promoting the creation of new Provinces to consult the Council through its Secretary General and other officers from the earliest stages in their discussions;
  3. affirms the guidelines set out in previous Council resolutions;
  4. adopts the additional guidelines as set out in the appended Schedule;
  5. requests the Secretary General to publish as a separate document a summary of the Council's views for circulation to Primates, Provincial Secretaries and all others concerned with promoting the creation of a new Province; and
  6. requests the Secretary General to keep these matters under review and to report to the next meeting.

Schedule (Additional Guidelines)

  1. For the Primate, or any other Council or body having metropolitical authority for the relevant dioceses, to make contact with the ACC as soon as a proposal for formation of a new Province is under serious consideration.
  2. This referral might (and ideally would normally) be accompanied by an invitation to the ACC for a visit by the Secretary General, or by someone nominated by the Secretary General, to the dioceses or region, if possible to coincide with some other activity of the Anglican Communion requiring the Secretary General's presence in the area. The purpose of the visit would be to discuss the application of the ACC's guidelines to the specific situation in the local area.
  3. Once initial consultation had taken place, and it was agreed in principle that it would be expedient to form a new Province in the region, the promoters would appoint a drafting committee, to consider the outline draft constitution set out by the ACC. They would address any issues arising from it that had not yet been considered by the promoters, and set up clear lines of communication and a timetable for consultation with the dioceses concerned, with their metropolitical authority, and with the ACC.
  4. The drafting process in itself is likely to take some considerable time, but the ACC can provide significant assistance in advising both on the content of constitutions (by comparison with those used elsewhere in the Communion), and on the arrangements that may need to be made for that stage of the discussion.
  5. On receipt of the first (and any subsequent) draft constitution by the ACC, the Secretary General may, in consultation with the Standing Committee as appropriate, appoint a committee, or call upon individual consultants, to make observations on its behalf for further consideration by the promoters and their advisors.
  6. Having agreed on the form of the new constitution, the proposers are asked to submit their application for revision of the scheduled list to the ACC not less than 15 months ahead of the next meeting of the full Council.
  7. The Secretary General in accordance with Article 3(a) will then consult with the Primates, either at their next scheduled meeting or individually, to seek the two-thirds majority approval required by its constitution.
  8. The proposal of revision of the schedule (to add the new Province to the scheduled list) will be put on the agenda for approval at the next full meeting, subject to any outstanding consents of Primates.
  9. The Secretary General will be charged with informing the Archbishop of Canterbury at every stage as to the ACC's view on the eligibility of the applicant body for recognition as an autonomous Province of the Anglican Communion.

03 December 2008

Duncan demonstrates how not to have a press conference


I watched the much awaited press conference of the the Common Cause group. All I can say, in total honesty and in an unbiased manner, is that the press conference was a disaster. They should never have proceeded with this conference, at this time. Watching it was like watching a very bad knock-off of a Three Stooges movie. And I don't mean that in a snide way.

For one, Duncan should never have been allowed to address the press. He repeatedly contradicted himself. It was almost as if he didn't know what he had just said. I had the impression that each question from the press blind sighted him and he had no idea of what the question was or how to answer the question. They should have made Minns the spokesperson for the group. At least his comments sounded intelligent.

The real surprise was that Duncan as much as repudiated the need for and the intention to sign the expected "Covenant." He said it was no longer needed. Why, I wonder? Is it because he sees himself as he new messiah who will rescue the world?

He also implied that the ABC knows, approves of, and encouraged Duncan's actions. He said the press releases of the past would verify that. I am afraid Mr. Duncan is living in a fantasy land. I'm afraid Mr. Duncan is living in delusion.

In one of his most inarticulate moments, Duncan said that the 1662 BCP was the cohesive element of the AC. He said that from the start, it was that book that held the world's Anglicans together in theology and it was only when that book was discarded that the problems began with Anglican Communion unity.

First, the 1662 has never been universal. When America was receiving its first bishops, the Scottish church had it's own prayer book and it was not the 1662 edition used in England. Second, the Anglican Communion has never been "in unity." Even in Edward VI's church, which really was the beginning of the Anglican spirituality, there was neither conformity or unity.

After listening to the press conference and sorting out the facts from the fiction, what it all boils down to is this:
A Provence in which each group is more or less autonomous and will follow it's own path while remaining united under the umbrella organization.
That sounds remarkably like the practice of The Episcopal Church. This press conference revealed absolutely nothing other than TEC structure. One participant in the online chat said, "Goodbye TEC, hello TEC." That really sums it up well.
The organization will be under the "authority" of Venables for the foreseeable future.

Those groups who looked to Africa for "refuge" will continue to be part of the African churches until such time as the new province is a reality.
It is interesting that there is no apparent room for the Anglo-Catholics in the province. They will not feel at home in a province that allows women presbyters of any type.

This lack of inclusion of the Anglo-Catholics was crystal clear in the service of thanksgiving after the press conference. The liturgy had a blatant evangelical flavour including a welcome by a Billy Graham staffer. Guitar and "praise songs" dominated the service. The "hymn of praise" was a medley of praise songs that included had clapping and which took twice as long to get though (led by a worship team including guitars and an extended saxophone solo) as the processional hymn took.

The organization is already fractured. There were women presbyters present who took part in the liturgy. This will (did) alienate the Anglo-Catholics and the other hardliners who still oppose women clergy. (It's hard to see unity on this issue when each existing entity will be free to ordain women or not).

I also noticed, despite Duncan's pronouncement about the correct version of the Book of Common Prayer, the liturgy over which he presided was definitely a novus ordo of some type. It was not 1662 or any recognizable book to me.

What was most surprising about the press conference (but shouldn't have been) was the absence of any bishop other than Duncan and Minns. Not another of the schismatics showed up on the stages except for Minns, who was not going to miss this even if it meant wheeling his cold corpse in from the morgue.

However, during the liturgy there were sixteen bishops present representing all the factions who have left TEC over the past 130 years. Duncan was the only bishop in cope and mitre though. It was interesting to see the different bishops representing the various factions.

Duncan had said:
It is an extraordinary day for us. We have reversed 40 years of Anglican history and years of division among The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church in Canada. Today we bring together 11 jurisdictions in Canada and across the US. Today marks 5 years of labor and attempts to come together
What we saw, instead was a group a whose individual communities left TEC claiming TEC was dying and that they were establishing a new, vibrant , true Anglican presence that the "Lord would bless" and that would grow and eclipse TEC. The reality, as visible today, was that there was a group of "bishops" of eleven jurisdictions nearly extinct who see this "province" as their "chance" to avoid death.

When asked if they hoped to be a parallel province, Duncan said that it would not be, it already was the real Anglican presence in the North American continent. He said that TEC was almost completely dead and his community was thriving and growing. I'd like do see the numbers for that. He claims 700 congregations and 100,000 weekly communicants, which, he said, was better attendance than TEC has.

The big surprise is that Duncan was not proclaimed archbishop now. he is the presiding officer of the group, but not the archbishop -- yet. He was, however, called archbishop and "your Grace" and broke into a huge smile at those words. One thing is clear, he is enjoying this and it will take the jaws of life , several c clamps and a sledge hammer to get the grin off his face.

Duncan said that the "hope" is that individual provinces will break communion with TEC and recognize this his "province" and then at some future date, in "years to come" the AC, once it is out from under the financial domination of TEC, will do the right thing and recognize Duncan land as the rightful presence of Anglicanism in North America.

Reading the comments as the press conference and liturgy took place was revealing. It's astounding how much hate these groups have for TEC. And it's apparent that they are already in schism amongst themselves. It is really terribly sad. I actually feel sorry for the group.

I was reminded of Benjamin Franklin's alleged comment when he was asked what type of government the new nation had -- "It is a republic if you can keep it." The same may be said of this group. "A 'province' if you can keep it." They won't.

This is what I predict:
They already regret holding the press conference. It was a disaster at best and a farce at worst. But, being the delusional people they are, they will probably see it as a resounding success.

Within two years the fellowship will be in splinters.
The formal ratification of the constitution and canons will take place in a provincial assembly in six months in Bedford, Texas at St. Vincent's cathedral in the diocese of Ft. Worth. Make sure to read their canons and constitution.

Schism is official -- well, duh

Well, the schism is officially a schism. Peter Frank made the announcement of a "new AnglicanChurch."

Minns is speaking now. I'll keep you up to date.

02 December 2008

The Advent Conspiracy

While we sit with bated breath waiting for Mr. Duncan, the humble, self -effacing man that he is, to announce that he is the Archbishop of the real Anglican presence in the United States, I'd like to direct your attention to a wee web page of interest.

Usually the House of Bishops/Deputies posts are worth missing. But this one came across today about he Advent Conspiracy. It's a great video and is introduced on the URL by these words:

The story of Christ's birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it's all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.

Did you know that in the United States each year approximately 450 billion dollars is spent on Christmas gifts? That's obscene. Go watch the video.

01 December 2008

World AIDS Day 2008

Today is World AIDS Day.

AIDS came to visit me in 1984 when my friend David Ballinger was diagnosed and died at the tender age of 24 years old. He was one of the early victims of the disease. He grew up a few miles from me and was a member of St. Luke's in Atascadero. Our youth groups used to do things together. David took his GED and moved to San Francisco when he was 17 years old. I had hardly heard of AIDS before I found out he had it. There were other friends who died from AIDS complications over the years, but David was the hardest on me - partly because he was the first of many. I can still see him doing a "Bette Davis" with a cigarette in his hand as he waved it all over like she did. God I miss him.

Please pray for and donate towards research. And go find a place that cares for the ill and who needs volunteers. Be a "Jesus" to someone.

Our Presiding Bishop released this letter:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The first day of December is marked as World AIDS Day, and has been observed since 1988. Episcopalians join billions of people around the world to remember the devastation caused by the AIDS pandemic over the past generation, and to recommit to ensuring a future without AIDS for generations still to come. As our church year begins, it is especially appropriate to remember, pray, and work together to alleviate the suffering inflicted by this disease and its consequences.

As Episcopalians, we understand that we are part of a body that has AIDS – both the Body of Christ and the larger body of the family of God. More than half of our worldwide Anglican Communion lives in countries destabilized by epidemic rates of HIV infection, including several dioceses of The Episcopal Church. Parish communities in the United States have been responding to HIV and AIDS for more than 25 years.

In the United States, this year's commemoration comes in a moment of transition for American democracy. A new President and new Congress will shape this nation's response to HIV/AIDS at home and around the world. Many significant challenges face America's leaders in the coming years.

We must find ways to build on successes in fighting HIV and AIDS in the developing world. American leadership since 2003 has brought life-saving treatment to more than 1.7 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (in contrast to 50,000 in 2002), while supporting more than 33 million counseling and testing sessions and providing prevention services for nearly 13 million pregnant women. Still, more than 6,000 people continue to die each day as a result of the pandemic, and infection rates in some of the hardest-hit places continue to grow. Earlier this year, Congress and the President pledged significantly increased funding, and renewed strategies, for the global fight against AIDS. It will be up to the new Congress and Administration to keep the promises that have been made by their predecessors.

The incoming Administration of President-elect Obama is soliciting suggestions from citizens for national priorities in the year ahead at www.change.gov. I urge all Episcopalians living in the United States to ask President-elect Obama and his Administration to make the fight against AIDS at home and around the world a priority, even in difficult economic times. The security and well-being of the world depends on health and healing for all. You can join your voice with those of other Episcopalians who will take action in the months and years ahead to advocate for strong U.S. responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic by signing up for the Episcopal Public Policy Network at www.episcopalchurch.org/eppn.

I commend to Episcopalians the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition, www.neac.org, a grassroots group that has been working in Episcopal communities for more than two decades to support caregivers, give guidance on prevention, and advocate for a more compassionate AIDS policy. In particular, I draw your attention to the online quiz NEAC has developed for Episcopal communities to commemorate this World AIDS Day.

Christians around the world marked the First Sunday of Advent yesterday as a season of hope and expectation, remembering that the "Sun of Righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings" (Malachi 4:2). On this World AIDS Day, I pray that the God who tents with humanity will raise us up to work together to make the divine dream of healing and abundant life for all creation a reality – may your kingdom come, O Lord, and speedily.

Your servant in Christ,

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop
The Episcopal Church

The Archbishop of Canterbury issued this message:

"Our hope and our prayer today is that the excellent work that's done, not just in developing countries but here at home too, by the churches will continue and deepen and be strengthened by our prayer and our commitment," he said. "Recognizing that people living with HIV is us not them, whether it's leaders and congregations, congregations and 'outsiders' -- it's us. It's all of our business...Church leaders and church congregations taking responsibility for educating the wider public."

The Archbishop's video presentation on the AIDS crisis is available here.

30 November 2008

Advent Sunday - Evensong and Advent Kalendars

Advent is my favourite season of the Church year. I love the quietness of the season - the lighting of the Advent wreath - watching each week as the lights increase. I love the royal purple vestments (although this year our new rector is taking us into that dreaded blue the vestment companies have forced upon us). I love the lessons that prepare us for the birth, but at the same time call us to prepare ourselves for the day when Christ, the King will return however, and in whatever from that return will be. And I love the hymns which the world doesn't know, but are like a secret code of we "real" Christians.

There are a couple of online Advent Calendars I've discovered. One is from the CoE and is found here. The introduction, at least, features the Archbishop of Canterbury in a video clip. The RC parish of St. Margaret Mary in Napersville, IL, has one here. This calendar is also available by clicking the Advent Wreath on the blog.

My favourite Advent hymn is "Rejoice! Rejoice believers" using the wonderful Swedish tune, but I could not find a recording of it. So, we begin our Advent season with "Wake, Awake" another of the magnificent Advent hymns from our German writers.

Evensong from the BBC is here, sung by the Lay Clerkes of Newcastle Cathedral.

Advent Sunday

Ad Te

Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13: 24-37

“Rise! Shine! For the light is a-comin’!
“My Lord says he’s comin’ by and by.”

The words of the African American spiritual speak to the central theme of Advent and especially to this first Sunday. It is a firm declaration to “cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” for as we read in Mark, “the Son of Man” is coming with “great power and glory.”

Let us be clear: the God depicted here is not a serene and docile deity. Isaiah calls upon a potent God who would “tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake.” And our actions in response to this coming should be no less robust.

At first look, we welcome such a dominating and mighty God to respond to our needs and concerns. Yet we who believe in a divine being from whom all things flow, also know that such a transcendent force can “bend history.” Put bluntly, if we are not prepared for God’s response to our prayers for the Creator’s presence, the appearance of the divine can be unsettling and threatening to our very lives and our very order. Such a forceful manifestation can bring about significant change. Our desire for the Lord’s coming brings with it risk as well as reward.

There is a little-known fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm entitled “Der Mond,” or in English, “The Moon.” It is a short tale that was adapted by the German composer Carl Orff into an opera in one act. It involves four young rowdy misfits from a land where there is no light – no sun in the day and no moon or stars at night. These are people who “walk in darkness.” Sound familiar?

These lads travel to another land where they find the moon hanging on a tree. They steal the moon and bring it back to their land where they charge people money for their use of the moonlight. Eventually, as happens to all of us, they grow old and die. As each one dies, one quarter of the moon is cut away and buried with one of its owners until there is no more light. In the opera, Petrus, “who rules the sky,” descends to the dead (sound familiar?) and retrieves the four pieces of the moon and hangs it in the sky for the benefit of all.

Yes, this tale is a modern retelling of the age-old belief that God brings light to the people who, in the words of the prophet, “walk in darkness.” Yes, this is about the season of Advent, which alludes to an arrival, a beginning. It is best understood as a dawning, as in the early morn of a new day. Yes, like the four misfits, this is a time when we come upon and marvel in a new Light. Yes, like the four young men, we can hoard and hide the light. And yes, we, like Petrus in Carl Orff’s opera, are called to share this light with the world.

There is an intrinsic understanding that, no matter what, we welcome the coming of the Lord and that it can happen at any time. Indeed, during the course of our lives, God appears and reappears. At times, we are that very light to the world in what we say and what we do. When we are called to serve and share a warm and friendly smile, we are restored; God’s face shines through our own countenance, and we are saved.

The expectation is that we are God’s hands, God’s light on this earth. God calls us to shine a light, to be witnesses to his mercy and love; not only through our words, but also in our works. We are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner. When we serve those in need – like the student who needs tutoring, the lonely homebound person who needs company, those who have lost their homes and possessions because of a hurricane, earthquake, flooding or fire, or those who mourn – we, as in the words of the spiritual, “rise and shine.” We are witnesses to the Lord’s coming – symbolically on Christmas Day, and for real today and all the tomorrows of our lives.

Those who first sang the words of the spiritual, shackled by the chains of slavery, looked with hope to a new day – to a brighter day when the darkness of this inhumane treatment would give way to the light of freedom. Indeed, in response to their oppression, they sang these words with faith and hope. And in this age when we encounter personal and communal challenges that test our mettle, we would do well to join these forebearers in our common history by not cursing the darkness but always seeking the light. Yes, this is the meaning of Advent.

Jesus says in the gospel reading, “Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. Therefore, keep awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you, I say to all: Keep awake.”


“Rise! Shine! For the light is a-comin’!
“My Lord says he’s comin’ by and by.”