12 June 2010

Albany accepts "Covenant"

Meeting in a convention called "Take Up Your Cross; Follow Me", the Diocese of Albany, voted to accept the so called Anglican Covenant. The voting (not by orders) was 314:76 with each delegate having a vote.

They went one step farther and voted to recommend the acceptance of the "covenant" to other dioceses of The Episcopal Church.

This should be no surprise to anyone familiar with the diocesan leaders.

The Presiding Bishop addresses Scotland

From the Raspberry Rabbit:
    The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schiori was invited to speak to the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church this afternoon. She was sitting in the pews during the final presentation of the Inter-Church Relations Committee and a presentation by a delegate at the Edinburgh 2010 Mission Conference. At long last she took the podium and spoke about elements of our shared history, the importance of the Baptismal Covenant in the Episcopal Church and in those churches in whose prayer books it appears in some form and the future shape of our shared ministry in the world.

    There will be an video version of this appearing on the Scottish Episcopal Church website and Kelvin's blog. In the mean time, you have an audio version of what was said during Bishop Katharine's talk to us this afternoon. Enjoy!
It is well worth your time to listen to the address given by ++Katharine.

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On a not related subject, TTLS is having significant problems with the blog. Posts are disappearing only to reappear, parts of posts also disappear and the blog template is crazy. My apologies for the inconvenience.

11 June 2010

Newport Beach schismatics headed to State Supreme Court

The schismatics at St. James' , Newport Beach, have been granted a hearing by the California Supreme Court.

As you recall, in March, the California Court of Appeal ruled 2 to 1 that the Episcopal Diocese owns St. James. The schismatics claimed that the decision was made before St. James could go through the discovery process and present evidence to the court. They appealed to the State Supreme Court and, I'm surprised to say, the court granted the hearing.

Remember, folks, they keep saying "It's not about the property." Apparently they prevaricate because it is all about the property.

The CASC agreeing to hear this case is most interesting in light of their refusal to hear the La Cresenta case last March. Could this hearing have anything to do with the fact that ueber-rich < Ahmanson, the chequebook of the schismatics worships at St. James', Newport Beach? I'm just wondering.

NOTE: This post was sent out at about 3:30 a.m. but I've changed the post time to keep it at the top of the list for today because it's more newsworthy than the Druid in Lambeth Palace.

Also, make sure to read Fr. Jake today. He presents a very thought provoking explanation to the current power play by Mr. Williams, Druid practitioner.

Williams: Druid and promoter of Shariah

It's interesting that Mr. Williams, who has campaigned for Shariah Law in the United Kingdom, and who has been inducted into and participated in Druid rituals, is still in office and believes he is the best judge of what is acceptable to Anglican Christians.

It's amazing that he can promote two non-Christian religious system and then castigate TEC for a Christ-like compassion for GLBT people in the United States. The temerity of his hypocrisy boggles the mind.

Make sure to read Fr. Jake today. He presents a very thought provoking explanation to the current power play by Mr. Williams, Druid practitioner.

10 June 2010

Canada bows down before Rowan I

I commented over at Fr. Jake's that Rowan Williams' actions regarding TEC was his shot across the bow - a warning to smaller provinces, and to the Anglican Church of Canada that he would obeyed. Screw the gays or "We will not be amused and punish you for not bowing before Our authority".

Well, it worked. Canada has rolled over and played dead. They've decided displeasing Rowan, a foreign bishop, was more important than the souls of their GLBT members and supersedes Canadian law.

Here is the document of appeasement.
    Sexuality Discernment report, June 9, 2010
    Discernment on Sexuality
    General Synod 2010

    The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June of 2010. Together we entered into intentional conversations in order to hear where our Church is at this time in its life in relation to the matter of blessing of same gender unions. Our conversations were marked by grace, honesty and generosity of spirit towards one another. There was robust participation in the conversations. In dialogue we shared our passion for the mission of God in the world and our thoughts, feelings and convictions. We were attentive to each others’ perspectives, experiences and stories and we shared a commitment to continued theological reflection and scriptural study as a foundation to our ongoing dialogue and discernment.

    We engaged these conversations within the particularity of our Canadian context – a country that is diverse and many cultured. Canadians have been learning how to dialogue across their diversities over the course of our national life. We do so with deeply held commitments to transparency and openness, an approach that is not without risk and that we affirm as a great gift. Often, in processes of discernment, the task is to see our way through a paradox.
    Our conversations affirmed the full inclusion of gay and lesbian members in our churches, aboriginal voices in our midst, and the wide range of perspectives on the issue of same gender blessings across all dioceses. Our dialogue has been a positive and helpful step in our discernment. At this time, however, we are not prepared to make a legislative decision. Above, in and through all of this, and despite all our differences we are passionately committed to walking together, protecting our common life.

    We acknowledge diverse pastoral practices as dioceses respond to their own missional contexts. We accept the continuing commitment to develop generous pastoral responses. We recognize that these different approaches raise difficulties and challenges. When one acts there are implications for all. There can be no imposition of a decision or action, but rather we are challenged to live together sharing in the mission of Christ entrusted to us, accepting that different local contexts call at times for different local discernment, decision and action.

    We are in a time of ongoing discernment which requires mutual accountability through continuing dialogue, diocese to diocese and across the wider church. It also requires continued theological and scriptural study and dialogue on the wide range of matters relating to human sexuality.

    For many members of General Synod there is deep sadness that, at this time, there is no common mind. We acknowledge the pain that our diversity in this matter causes.

    We are deeply aware of the cost to people whose lives are implicated in the consequences of an ongoing discernment process.

    This is not just an ‘issue’ but is about people’s daily lives and deeply held faith commitments. For some, even this statement represents a risk. For some the statement does not go nearly far enough.

    In the transparency and openness we have experienced with one another, we have risked vulnerability but it is in such places that we grow closer in the body of Christ and behold each other as gift. Abiding with each other, and with God we are sustained through struggle, patient listening, and speaking from the mind and heart together. We have experienced these conversations as a gift for us here at Synod and hope that they will be a further gift to the Anglican Church of Canada and to the wider Church.
I had thought that the Canadians would at least stand firm in equal rights if not go forward, alas, they, too, lack the spine to buck Rowan I, Pontifex Maximus.

Shame on you, Anglican Church of Canada.

This whole debacle reminds me of a South Park episode. But, in this episode it is Cartman Williams running around screaming "respect my athouri-tay, respect my authroti-tay."

To quote Henry II, "Will no one rid [us] of this meddlesome priest?"

TEC has friends in the "Global South"

The Episcopal Church does not stand alone in its desire for full inclusion and "justice for all."

One of the first provinces to come out of the closet to support TEC is actually in the geographical global south - the Province of Brazil. This was posted by the General Secretary of the Irreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brazil.
    The decision to remove representatives of The Episcopal Church and the Church of Canada from ecumenical networks is the most drastic change of all amidst the theological conflict within the Anglican Communion.

    In my point of view the Archbishop of Canterbury's action is highly risky and it is impossible to predict the consequences of such recommendations. The Pentecost Letter addressed to the Communion was one of the most contradictory documents in our history as Communion.

    At the heart of a feast of unity, we heard a message of discipline and exclusion. It is absolutely strange for time when other Christian traditions were celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit empowering the Church to be in one faith and witness. For us, the Archbishop`s letter showed our fracture and incompetence to stay at the table of dialog, wishing to hear the God`s will.

    In our Provincial Synod, we heard from Archbishop Mauricio's own mouth that in God's heart there is no place for boundaries. Our delegates unanimously approved a motion of solidarity with our brothers and sisters from TEC and Canada, and a letter will be sent to the Communion regarding this and the punitive actions against those Provinces who have been searching for ways to welcome all people without barriers and prejudices.

    Pentecost, as I wrote in a previous post, means to jump into newness of life. To surpass the ignorance and to know the language of love. The disciples were afraid yet they were freed to speak, to welcome, and to build a new community with people who were unlike themselves in every way: language, customs and values.

    At the installation in the National Cathedral of the Province of Brazil in Porto Alegre on Trinity Sunday, we had a true Pentecost. There were Buddhists, Afro religions, Roman Catholics, Muslims, and representatives of many different religious backgrounds. An unforgettable demonstration of fraternity. It is for that purpose the church exists: To be a sign of reconciliation and welcome.

    Regrettably, our Communion has not been able to overcome the challenges of diversity. Now, besides this difficulty, we have the mark of fear and exclusion.

    The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil stands in solidarity with our sister churches in the USA and Canada an our hope is that we can reaffirm our commitment in welcome to all people to live their faith fully and with confidence in the gracious love of God!
As you can see, TEC is not standing alone to face the dragon of Canterbury. The above is from the blog of the Rev'd Francisco Silva, general secretary of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil.

My thanks to Mike Vierra for smoothing out the translation from the Portuguese.

Virginia property dispute news

The Virginia Supreme Court has stated the lower court erred in its judgment regarding the Truro property.

They did rule that a "division" as occurred in The Episcopal Church - no surprise there. But, here is the important bit of the ruling.
In light of our holding that the circuit court erred in granting the Code § 57-9(A) petitions, the control and ownership of the property held in trust and used by the CANA Congregations remains unresolved. Accordingly, the declaratory judgment actions filed by TEC and the Diocese, and the counterclaims of the CANA Congregations in response to those suits, must be revived in order to resolve this dispute under principles of real property and contract law."

For these reasons, we will reverse the judgment of the circuit court and remand with direction to dismiss the CANA Congregations’ Code § 57-9(A) petitions. We will further direct the circuit court to reinstate the declaratory judgment actions filed by TEC and the Diocese and the counterclaims of the CANA Congregations to those actions, and conduct further proceedings thereon consistent with the views expressed in this opinion.
This is a huge "victory" for TEC. What the decision means is that when the lower court rehears the case they cannot use 57.9 to make a determination. Remember 57.9 was what the lower court used to base their ruling in favour of CANA - now they cannot use the statute. CANA is now without their ace-in-the-hole, to use the vernacular.

This leaves only two arguments as I see it. They will argue that the Dennis Cannon is not valid. and they did not agree to it even though they lived with it for years, and thereby consented to it by not having objected. The Virginia courts ruled in favour of TEC in the 1970s before there was a Dennis Cannon so I cannot see how this argument will fly.

The other argument they will use is the fact that Truro was a parish before there was an Episcopal Church in the United States. That is a fact. However, for over 200 years they've been part of TEC. Virginia law tends to favour hierarchical churches.

The matter has not been resolved and the matter will be in litigation for years because CANA will not vacate the property until the local constabulary arrives to escort them from the property. But the light at the tend of the tunnel can be seen, now, even though it's just a faint light.

Remember to pray for those who are most unhappy about this ruling. Even though they caused a lot of pain to their fellow Christians, they, too, are hurting now. And pray for TEC, too.

Read the decision here.

More later.

09 June 2010

Why not give God a second chance?

Two weeks ago, after the late mass some of the acolytes were "divesting" (unvesting?) and the conversation was really interesting.

They were talking about the service, what they'd done wrong and how much fun it had been. One of the acolytes said, "But it's okay because we always get a second chance."

Our rector said, "Oh, that would make a good poster - God always give you a second chance." One of the acolytes replied, "Why not give God a second chance."

We were all stunned, to say the least. This is the fruit of that conversation in the sacristy.

08 June 2010

A lite moment at a serious time

In the midst of our present kerfuffle, I thought you might enjoy something to make you smile - at least it make me smile. The young man is really a good actor to pull this one off.

McDonald's brand director in France says the ad simply looks at how French society is today.

We're very comfortable with the topic of homosexuality, there is obviously no problem with homosexuality in France today. The point was not to show someone who is troubled, especially a teenager. We know it can be difficult for some people, but we wouldn't have dared show someone who is struggling.
Do you know why there is no real problem with homosexuality in France? Very few fundamentalists mucking about. That's because during the "Revolution," the state became secular and no particular religious view is allowed to govern the country. Chalk one up for the French.

Lisa Howards, McDonalds's director of corporate media relations, told Media Matters that the Come as You Are campaign was made exclusively for France.

The ad you're referencing is one of a series of ads called Come as You Are, which recognized he diversity of McDonald's customers in France. This particular commercial was produced by McDonald's France and is running only in France. Each of our 117 markets around the world determines their own advertising and marketing.
That means we won't be seeing an ad like this in the US for years to come. Too bad.

07 June 2010

Is it Pope Rowan I?

Well, Mr. Williams has decided that he really is the first supreme pontiff of the Anglican Communion and has attempted, without any authority to do so, to seize all power from the Communion.

Of course, we know his first act - send down TEC. Here is the pertinent bit of the epistle from Canon Kearon:

Last Thursday I sent letters to members of the Inter Anglican ecumenical dialogues who are from the Episcopal Church informing them that their membership of these dialogues has been discontinued. In doing so I want to emphasise again as I did in those letters the exceptional service of each and every person to that important work and to acknowledge without exception the enormous contribution each person has made.

I have also written to the person from the Episcopal Church who is a member of the Inter Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO), withdrawing that person’s membership and inviting her to serve as a Consultant to that body.

I have written to the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada to ask whether its General Synod or House of Bishops has formally adopted policies that breach the second moratorium in the Windsor Report, authorising public rites of same-sex blessing.

At the same time I have written to the Primate of the Southern Cone, whose interventions in other provinces are referred to in the Windsor Continuation Group Report asking him for clarification as to the current state of his interventions into other provinces.

These are the actions which flow immediately from the Archbishop’s Pentecost Letter.
Notice not a word about the African princes.This, in my opinion, makes him quite untrustworthy. Rowan fails to "discipline" the African churches because he knows it will get no press. By appearing to send own the American church, he is going to get publicity and appear to "mean business." And, also, at the same time, delude himself into believing the African churches will suddenly come flocking back to the Mother Country and Mother Church wailing wearing sackcloth and ashes as symbols of their repentance. He still doesn't get it that they wouldn't piss on him if he were on fire, as my grandfather was wont to say.

But the interesting thing is that TEC has only been removed from minor committees that really don't do anything and TEC is still in communion with the Church of England.

So, what is Rowan doing? Well, my guess is that he's testing the water. All dictators start with very small moves to see if they can get away with their actions. History is full of examples. He has acted but his action is about the least possible action he can make. It's a fishing expedition, really. Also, he had to do something to pay back KJS for being such an upstart rude American woman and daring to make him look like un homme sot incomp├ętent.

So there you have it. Where is Henry VIII or Elizabeth when we really then one of them to poke this git in the eye and send him packing? I have a feeling that Rowan may be surprised that his contempt for TEC unifies our members.

Thank God TEC has ++KJS a person with both a spine and the conviction to stand up to abuse.

Please read an article by the Rev'd James Stockton at the Daily Episcopalian on the recent developments.

UPDATE: There is a bit of the letter that I didn't "catch" on first reading:
Secondly, to ask the question of whether maintaining within the fellowship of one’s Provincial House of Bishops, a bishop who is exercising episcopal ministry in another province without the expressed permission of that province or the local bishop, constitutes an intervention and is therefore a breach of the third moratorium.
Williams is using Mr. Kearon for an exploratory mission for Duncan's schismatics. - don't forget that ACNA meets this week.

06 June 2010

A Nation Remembers 6 June

On this day in 1944 American Forces landed on the coast of France in what history calls D-Day. It is not possible for us to comprehend what the forced experienced on that day on those beaches. My cousin, Hearl, was there. He had nightmares the rest of his life about that day and he could never talk about what happened there on 6 June. Truly, the men who served during the Second World War were some of American's greatest generation.

Today in 1968 one of American's brightest lights was extinguished. He, too, was part of that great generation of Americans. For those of my generation, this was a moment when the "dream" flickered and nearly went out. It didn't go out, but it has never burned as bright since that evening in Los Angeles.

Let us give thanks today for those who landed in France on this day, the living and the dead, and let us give thanks that occasionally, God raises up a man like Robert Kennedy.

Pentecost II - Trinity I

The Second Sunday After Pentecost
The First Sunday after Trinity
Proper 5

1 Kings 17:8-16 (17-24), Psalm 146 ; Galatians 1:11-24; Luke 7:11-17

Collect: O God, from whom all good proceeds: Grant that by your inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by your merciful guiding may do them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

One of the most remarkable features of the First Book of Kings is the collection of stories featuring the prophet Elijah. The first of these comes after the rather generalized anecdotes about the royal house of kings following the death of Solomon. Without exception these monarchs “did what was displeasing to the Lord,” and then suddenly the narration changes subject. In Chapter 16, which precedes our reading for today, King Ahab is introduced and then suddenly Chapter 17 begins with Elijah the Tishbite, “inhabitant of Gilead” confronting Ahab with the observation that the God of Israel has said there is about to be a drought that no amount of royal power can prevent or stop. Rain will come only when the God of Israel says so.

The picture of Elijah being both confrontational and cryptic with King Ahab is actually emblematic of the whole collection of prophetic literature. Prophets are the ones God calls to speak God’s truth to power – to speak and to live as example and warning of God’s alternate reality while the powers that be in monarchical or temple leadership pursue other goals, and achieve their ends by ungodly means.

Prophets function in Biblical texts as the vehicles of God’s word: when they speak God’s judgment on those who perpetrate injustice, they are announcing God’s own critique of social, political, and economic injustices that bring about death, despair, and hopelessness. When they offer alternate pictures of life as God intends it, prophets bring hope to the hopeless, life to those shadowed by death and disaster. In short, prophets bring God’s good news into bad times.

Elijah in today’s reading offers us just such a picture of hope in contrast to the world Ahab and his predecessors have made. In the midst of the drought affecting King Ahab’s world and people, God interrupts Elijah’s life and sends him outside Ahab’s jurisdiction.

First Elijah is sent to the Transjordan, where he is protected and sustained by ravens, but as the drought spreads, he is sent northward up the coast to Zarephath in Sidon. Here, as God said, he finds a certain widow who will feed him. The word of God calls the prophet to go way beyond all the normal support systems of his life. As death, in the form of the drought, spreads, Elijah stays on the move until he comes to the widow. She is, by definition, lacking all the life-giving resources of ordinary patriarchal societies in the ancient world. It is noteworthy also that God sends Elijah without any resources himself: he brings neither bread nor oil to the widow, nor does he bring well water. He has nothing to give away, it seems.

Yet the whole point of the Elijah stories is, precisely, that having nothing at all in the worldview of King Ahab, Queen Jezebel, and all the priests of the pagan gods who are turning the lives of God’s people into a desert, the prophet brings unimagined and unimaginable hope into the parched lands because he brings the life-giving word of God.

Through Elijah’s faithful obedience, God’s life-giving word assures the daily bread for the widow. And more than that; when the widow’s son dies, and her hope for any sort of normal, ordinary future dies with him, the life-giving word of God renews the boy’s life, and therefore hers too. There is holy power at work in Elijah, as in all the prophets, the power of God’s life-giving word to break through the death-dealing ways of nature and culture alike.

Before moving to Jesus, we must pause to meditate. You and I have been assured of holy power at work in our own lives: the power of the Holy Spirit allows us to live transformed and transformative lives. Hold that thought.

Now we can move into the gospel and watch Jesus, the living word of God, who is bringing life into another socioeconomic situation like that in the First Book of Kings. Here is Jesus with a widow whose only son is dead.

Our reading from the Gospel of Luke says: “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’”

While Luke has undoubtedly structured the scene based on the story of Elijah, there is a significant difference: Jesus’ compassion. To have compassion, and to be moved by compassion, is to take the suffering of other persons into oneself. Elijah the prophet was so identified with the God of the life-bearing word that his own actions brought life in the midst of death. Luke’s Jesus embraces the suffering of people at the edge of the social fabric, on the margins of the power structures, and thus he identifies with the hopelessness of the widow. With Elijah and Jesus alike, however, the hope that blazes forth from the Biblical texts is God’s life-bringing and life-bearing presence, which transforms death-dealing situations into visions and experiences of life as God intends.

Life on the margins is brutal, nasty, and often much shorter than “three score years and ten.” The best-contrived social safety nets develop holes, and it does not take the eruptions of nature or the recessions of the human economy before people fall through them. These pictures of Elijah and Jesus can illuminate our own death-dealing times, and prod us to live as Pentecost people called to embrace and bear life as God intends it. We have been empowered by the Spirit to live transformative lives, bearing compassion in deed as well as word, carrying the life of Christ, moved by the power of the Spirit amid the ways of our world – at work, at play, as daughters or widows, soldiers or secretaries, as citizens who care enough to vote.

Christmas and Easter are behind us now, but as the angels said at the nativity and at the empty tomb: “Do not be afraid.”

Let us go forth into the world rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.

-- The Reverend Angela V. Askew is priest-in-charge of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, New York.