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News & Events in ECUSA & Abroad
e-mail | 1/07/2007 | Sarah Hey

Posted on 01/09/2007 10:01:56 AM PST by sionnsar

Dear Roistering Episcopal Adventurers,

I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and are having a great New Year!  

Events are now changing so quickly in the Episcopal church and Anglican Communion -- by the week -- that it is impossible to keep track of them.  I've highlighted below some major news that has occurred on the international front, national front, and diocesan front -- and have certainly not gotten to all of it!

Read on for a summary look at what's been happening in the past three months . . . and click on links for more information.  

[As usual, if you would prefer not to receive any more emails, please give me a shout and I will remove your address.  I am always willing to assist people in clearing out too-full email boxes!]



[Background -- In September 2006, the Primates of the "Global South" met in Africa and issued the Kigali statement, calling for relief for the parishes and dioceses within ECUSA who are resisting the ongoing theological changes.]

-- The Telegraph, a newspaper from the UK, reported that a meeting of some of these Primates occurred with the Archbishop of Canterbury in November 2006.
Money Quote: "A group of conservative archbishops, including the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, will meet Dr Williams at Lambeth Palace to discuss the creation of a parallel body for conservatives in America.

The development follows a summit of 20 "Global South" leaders in Africa last month, which opted for "a separate ecclesiastical structure" to accommodate opponents of the pro-gay leadership of the American Church."

-- In the meantime, four of the Primates of the Global South met in Virginia with representatives from those Episcopal dioceses who have requested Alternative Primatial Oversight:

-- The Living Church reports on the aftermath of the Virginia meeting:
Money Quote: "The committee released a statement Nov. 20, stating they met with representatives from the dioceses of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, San Joaquin, South Carolina, and Springfield, as well as with “representatives of other Windsor-compliant dioceses” and of congregations separated from The Episcopal Church.

The primates said they heard presentations on the political and theological state of The Episcopal Church, and noted they were “distressed” to learn of the “legalistic and autocratic environment” facing some “faithful Anglicans.” They said they felt “morally and spiritually compelled” to assert their solidarity with those present, and would report their findings to the wider leadership of the Global South Primates coalition, pledging to do “all in our power to bring about the desired outcome of the Windsor process.” . . . 

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote an open letter on Nov. 1 to the four primates, inviting them to “pay a call on me” to begin building a “missional relationship,” noting that The Episcopal Church and the Global South primates had a “common interest” in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

In the statement issued before the meeting, Archbishop John Chew, secretary of the Global South Steering Committee, said the primates would respond to the invitation from the Presiding Bishop in “due course.” But Bishop Jefferts Schori has yet to receive a response from any of the primates, according to Canon Bob Williams, director of communications at the Episcopal Church Center."


-- The Global South Steering Committee reported on the meeting:

-- The new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal church, Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori, wrote a letter to the visiting four Primates asking to meet with them:

-- The Living Church reported on the letter:

-- In the national sphere, after the failure to achieve an understanding or agreement at the first summit of Network bishops in ECUSA and the new Presiding Bishop in September, the 8 dioceses requesting Alternative Primatial Oversight declined an invitation to a second meeting.  Read the whole thing here:
EXCERPT: "Our position has been the same since the last day of our New York meeting back in September. We will not attend another meeting “to continue the conversation” unless there is a specific proposal on the table to provide APO. Apparently this is not the case for next Monday. You speak of a skeleton, but nothing has been shared with either of us. We assume the other side has seen your proposal.

We made a specific proposal to the Archbishop of Canterbury back in July, and we shared this document with you and John Lipscomb as the conveners of the September meeting. You did not share it with all of the other participants at that time, and it was never discussed.

We note that David Booth Beers has been quoted in the press as telling the meeting of The Episcopal Majority several days ago that Alternative Primatial Oversight is not going to be provided. The Presiding Bishop’s office has not denied his claim, and we have concluded that she agrees with David’s assertion."

-- The appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for Alternative Primatial Oversight may be found here:
Note especially the three appendixes: Appendix A about the canons of ECUSA detailing the functions and authority of the Presiding Bishop, Appendix B about the theological commitments of the 8 requesting bishops, and Appendix C about their concerns with the Presiding Bishop


In the meantime, Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori has been busy with the duties of Presiding Bishop.

1) She was interviewed by the New York Times [requires registration]:
Significant quote: "Your critics see you as an unrepentant liberal who supports the ordination of gay bishops. Are you trying to bolster the religious left?

No. We’re not about being either left or right. We’re about being comprehensive.

How many members of the Episcopal Church are there in this country?

About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise, but Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.

Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?

No. It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

-- Titusonenine's comments on the interview are here:

-- James Simons, rector of St. Michael's of the Valley Church, in Pennsylvania, comments on the interview:
Key Excerpt: "The New York Times was lobbing soft balls to the new Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, when this exchange took place. The more I have thought about her answer to this simple question, the more I am convinced that in a single sentence the Presiding Bishop illustrates rather dramatically the crisis that faces The Episcopal Church. She does so in three ways. . . . . 

Second, the statement illustrates the enormous denial of our church leadership regarding the denomination. People are leaving congregations, congregations are leaving dioceses, and dioceses are seeking a way to be Anglican without being Episcopalian. Even a cursory reading of the pages of this publication will reveal that controversies over issues of sexuality, biblical interpretation, and doctrine are among the primary issues causing this flight. My daughter, who attends a well-respected liberal arts college, reports that when classmates find out she’s an Episcopalian, the reaction is either one of raised eyebrows and awkward silence or an enthusiastic “You must be liberal.” It’s gotten to the point where she’s reluctant to tell people. 

The Episcopal Church, once the proud church of presidents and the barons of industry (oops, there’s that elitism again) has become a punch line. What makes it even sadder is our inability to recognize that we have become synonymous with liberal extremism or that this might be a problem. Our refusal to affirm the basic tenets of the faith, drifting increasingly further from the rest of Christianity, is causing our diminishing size, not our failure to make enough babies. Only someone in serious denial could assert otherwise.

Third is the assumption that the denomination is somehow held captive in size to our fertility rate. What rector in his or her right mind would try to grow a parish by having the members conceive more children? Churches grow not because we have more children, but because we go out into the world and tell people about the transforming power of Jesus Christ. This is called evangelism, a concept apparently now alien to our leadership."

-- Dr. Popcak, Roman Catholic blogger, writes the Presiding Bishop:

-- Other bloggers [non-Episcopal] respond to the Jefferts-Schori interview:

-- Another Roman Catholic blogger weighs in:

-- And then the Anglicans start, including "Captain Yips":

2) The Religion Report interviews the new Presiding Bishop:
Excerpt: "Stephen Crittenden: Why do you think homosexuality is the issue? The issue, almost it seems, everywhere in the mainline churches at the moment.
Katherine Jefferts Schori: Well it's an issue in some parts of the mainline churches, and I would note that it is far more an issue that concerns men than it concerns women. Women tend to be far more interested in discovering whether or not their children will be fed, whether their children have access to adequate schooling and medical care, whether their families can make their way in the world in constructive and whole ways.
Stephen Crittenden: Are you suggesting it ought not to be an issue?
Katherine Jefferts Schori: I think we are being distracted from the central part of our mission which is far more about feeding the hungry and healing the ill and seeking the betterment of existence for all people around the globe."

-- And StandFirm has comments on that interview:

3) NPR's "Here and Now" interviews the new Presiding Bishop on October 18:

You can hear the interview here:

"What are you: a Unitarian?!?"
October 18th NPR interview with +Schori
Transcribed by the CaNN News Editor

(Starts at 21:00)

RY: I'm Robin Young: it's 'Here & Now.'

Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, a former oceanographer, and a pilot, is slated to become the first woman to head The Episcopal Church of America-- that will happen on November 1st.

She's inheriting a church divided on the ordination of homosexuals, and the blessing of same-sex unions. Her own election has precipitated a double-crisis over the role of women. In the American Church, some Episcopal dioceses have asked to
leave because they don't accept a woman as leader; and international Episcopal churches have also said they can't accept a woman as head of a national church.

For her part, Bp. Katharine has been quoted as saying that if her opponents leave the table, she will rise to follow them to continue the dialogue.

Bishops Jefferts-Schori joins us now: welcome!

KJS: Thank you.

RY: And-- boy!-- as I read some of the recent history of the church, it does sound like a somewhat tough row to hoe [laugh] that you're entering.

KJS: Well, I think all ages have their challenges: this is simply ours.

RY: Now, well, when you were elected Primate, that is, head of the U.S. Episcopal Church, you were quoted as saying "We're not here to argue about matters of sexuality, we're here to build a holy community".. but as you know, there are people arguing about sexuality-- what are you going to do to heal that?

KJS: Well, we're going to keep conversing, we're going to continue to ask people to met gay and lesbian Christians, and to begin seeing some of the fruits of their ministry.. uh, we're going to continue to wrestle with these issues--they are the issues of our day, and the issues of recent generations have been about the place of women in the church, and the place of african-americans in the church, and the place of immigrants in the church, and I simply see this as our current ..uh.. our current growth into a larger.. communion.

RY: Because why? Why do you believe so firmly that's the right direction for the church?

KJS: Well, as a scientist and as a person of faith, I-- I understand that sexual orientation is a given, for almost all people; it's not a matter of choice, and in that case, if this is how people are created, then our job as a community of faith is to assist people in finding holy ways of living in relationship, and, uh, that's what we're about.

RY: What do you say to your congregants who say "Well, I also, you know, understand that there are people who might be gay or lesbian, but I just don't want them as my bishop, as Gene Robinson is now in New Hampshire; or to be married in
the church that I also attend." What do you.. what do you say to them?

KJS: Well, it's a challenge. But I think God calls us into challenging situations, I think that's how we grow.  The Early church dealt with it.. the place of gentiles in the church, do new gentile converts have to be circumcised, did they have to live by
Jewish dietary laws, or could they be welcomed as they were? There will be another group after gay and lesbian Christians-- I don't know who it will be, but there will be another one, because that's who we are as human beings.

RY: You mentioned that you were a scientist. I remember recently I was on a little field trip with A.O. Wilson, the scientist--

KJS: Oh, my..

RY: -- and he calls himself a secular humanist, and he just says that as a scientist, he just has looked and looked and looked, and he'd be--he's said 'I'd love to be the one to prove there was a God-- wouldn't that be the greatest sceintific
discovery?" But he can't see the proof. How about you? As a scientist, and scientists want to see proof of something, how do you-- how are you then also a person of faith?

KJS: I came back-- I was, uh, raised, you know, in the church-- and I came back  to the church as an adult when I was in graduate school, and began to read the physicists, who talk about mystery-- Heisenberg, and Bohr, and Einstein. Here were people who were going down the same kinds of roads that I had gone down, saying "No, there's something innately mysterious about creation, something beyond what we can deal with in scientific terms." Hard science asks questions about 'how, and 'what'; and faith-traditions ask questions of meaning: what does it mean to be a human being in this world? How can I live a live that is good? Uhh...

RY: TIME Magazine asked you an interesting question, we thought, "Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?" And your answer, equally interesting, you said "We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box."  And I read that and I said "What are you: a Unitarian?!?" [laughs]  What are you-- that is another concern for people, because, they say Scripture says that Jesus says he was The Light and The Way and the only way to God the Father.

KJS: Christians understand that Jesus is the route to God. Umm-- that is not to say that <a href="">Muslims,</a> or <a href="">Sikhs</a>, or <a href="">Jains</a>, come to God in a radically different way. They come to God through... human experience... through human experience of the divine. Christians talk about that in terms of Jesus.

RY: So you're saying there are other ways to God.

KJS: Uhh... human communities have always searched for relationship that which is beyond them.. with the ultimate.. with the divine. For Christians, we say that our route to God is through Jesus. Uhh.. uh..that doesn't mean that a Hindu.. uh.. doesn't experience God except through Jesus. It-it-it says that Hindus and people of other faith traditions approach God through their.. own cultural contexts; they relate to God, they experience God in human relationships, as well as ones that transcend human relationships; and Christians would say those are our experiences of Jesus; of God through the experience of Jesus.

RY: It sounds like you're saying it's a parallel reality, but in another culture and language.

KJS: I think that's accurate.. I think that's accurate.

RY: Bishop Katharine: you have a fascinating life-story. Your Dad was a physicist, your Mom had a degree in literature, and  became a biologist.  You, as we said, were an oceanographer, grew up in Seattle, you have a daughter who's a 2nd Lieutenant, and a pilot in the Air Force-- by the way, is she serving?

KJS: Uh, she's serving stateside, and she's a 1st Lieutenant.

RY: How about you? Do you still pilot a plane?

KJS: I do-- I flew from Reno to Henderson yesterday.

RY: What kind of plane do you fly?

KJS: A Cessna 172.

RY: What does that do for you?

KJS: [silence]

RY: ..besides get you from A to B..

KJS: Oh. Oh.. that's the easy part. Uh.. it's, for me, an encounter with the vastness of creation, and the Creator.. it's a reminder that I'm a very small piece of it.. that I'm constrained by human limits... uh, and it gives me a very different perspective on the world.

RY: Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, slated to become head of the Episcopal Church of America on November the first. Thank you for speaking with us.

KJS: Oh, it's been a pleasure. Thank you.


-- Comments ensue on the interview at Kendall Harmon's site:

4) Peter Ould, a Church of England curate at Christ Church Ware in the Diocese of St. Albans, notes these questions for Bishop Jefferts-Schori by a blog commenter -- the whole list of questions is interesting:
EXCERPT: "In your papers and press releases prior to your election as Presiding Bishop, you made a big point of “el buen Samaritano” and your deanship of the “Good Samaritan School of Theology.” Yet, you have admitted both of these were inflated terms. They have also disappeared from any post-election materials (such as the Episcopal page ‘Who is the Presiding Bishop?’). Why did you lie on your resume?

Why were you elected? On paper, even with your inflated claims, you were clearly the least qualified candidate. Were you elected solely because of your gender?

During your tenure as Bishop of Nevada, you used the Kairos Prison Ministry materials inappropriately. This organization considers the breaches significant enough that they are suing the Nevada Diocese for copyright violations. Would you care to comment?

The Kairos organization feels that their approach of gender-specific ministers for prison populations is both sound Biblically and practically? Would you care to comment.

What happened to “el buen Samaritano?”

Reporters seem to be very impressed by your experience as an oceanographer and as a pilot. Why are these relevant?

During you tenure as Bishop of Nevada, how much did the diocese grow? In that same period how much did the state of Nevada grow? Why do you think the Episcopal percentage is so much lower?

Jesus said, “No one comes to the father except through me.” What does that mean?

The Episcopal Church has been losing members for many years, why?

Do you really think, as you said in a New York Times Magazine interview, that the conservatives (such as Catholics) are “outbreeding” the Episcopalians?

-- In the meantime, the Chancellor of the Episcopal church writes a letter to two dioceses and The Living Church reports on it:
Money Quote: "On the eve of Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s investiture as the 26th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, her chancellor, David Booth Beers, has written identical letters to the chancellors of two traditionalist dioceses demanding that they change language “that can be read as cutting against an ‘unqualified accession’ to the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. 

“The timing of this letter is shocking,” Fort Worth Bishop Jack L. Iker told The Living Church. “Some of the changes he refers to go back as far as 1989. All this was done completely out in the open and news of it was distributed widely. We have kept the Presiding Bishop informed at every step."

-- Comments on the letter from the Chancellor ensue over at Kendall Harmon's site:

-- Baby Blue issues a "Code Orange" Anglican Alert:
EXCERPT: "Well this is lovely. Five days away from the Investiture and this is how it all begins. . . . What an outrageous act by the Chancellor - is he trying to provoke a firestorm? Or is he a grieving Detroit fan? Or did he just lose it because the Yankees weren't in the World Series? And what is with picking out the bishops who don't ordain women? And then threatening that the punishment is coming from the new woman Presiding Bishop? What's up with that?

We here at BabyBlueOnline affirm the ordination of women to all orders of the church - but this kind of threat - have they lost their minds? Why would anyone want to cause such a firestorm just days before the service at the National Cathedral?"

-- Comments ensue over at StandFirm:

-- Chris Cantrell, priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth, comments on the letter and quotes from it:


-- Bishop Loutitt of the Diocese of Georgia makes six demands of the "mother parish" of Georgia, Christ Church, Savannah through a letter from the diocesan Chancellor.  The central issue -- after some delving -- seems to be that the parish wishes to continue redirecting money away from the pledge to the national church:

-- Christ Church, Savannah, communicates to its parish about the demand letter:

-- Christ Church, Savannah, communicates with Bishop Louttit:
EXCERPT: "When we met with you, Jim Elliott, Joan Killian, and Neal Phelps we were somewhat surprised at the comments that indicated that some of these people had been led to believe that we had given no support to the diocese. Our biggest concern in that regard has been that we would prefer our giving remain within the diocese until there is some resolution of the issues with The Episcopal Church as we have been communicating to you.  We were shocked and grieved by the letter that we received from the Chancellor. We are fully participating members of the diocese including attendance at conventions, convocation meetings, our priests serving in various capacities as requested as well as giving to the diocese. The absence of communication from you regarding the matters in the Chancellor’s letter is shocking to us given our previous conversations and the assumption of a Biblical foundation for interaction with each other. Have you broken your pastoral relationship with us?"

-- Christ Church, Savannah, communicates with the diocesan Chancellor:
EXCERPT: "As to your demand that Christ Church increase its 2006 Diocesan offering to $60,000, we are financially unable to comply at this time. This figure constitutes 250% of the amount budgeted at the beginning of this year for the contribution. Christ Church, like the Diocese, has suffered significant reductions in contributions as a result of the actions of the national church. Consequently, we have been forced to cut back on our Christian education, outreach and other programs. We simply do not have any more money to give the Diocese at this time.

Touching on the other demand made in your letter, viz., that the Rector, Wardens and Vestry make various representations and undertakings as to what will happen should it be determined that Christ Church “cannot remain faithful to the Episcopal Church”, I must observe that neither Christ Church nor any of its leaders have been unfaithful to the Episcopal Church, either by act or by omission, nor are there any plans to do so. It is not unfaithful for Christ Church, as a member parish of this diocese and of the Episcopal Church, to defend the authority of Holy Scripture and seek to preserve “the faith once delivered”."

-- Church of the Messiah votes to disassociate from the Episcopal church and the bishop of the diocese announces erroneously that the parish's rector has "renounced his orders":

-- Diocesan Convention passes an unusual resolution mentioning "those in non-celibate heterosexual relationships" -- at least we now have "equality of non-celibacy"!!
"be it Resolved, That this 96th Convention of the Diocese of Olympia affirms, and calls upon the Bishops and Standing Committee of the Diocese to affirm the full inclusion in all areas of the life of the Episcopal Church of our otherwise qualified brother and sister Christians who are single or partnered heterosexual gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered persons, and those who are in non-celibate heterosexual relationships and those who are divorced, as well as the full inclusion of the Episcopal Church in the full life of the Anglican Communion."

-- Brad Drell, a layperson in the diocese of Western Louisiana, comments:

-- Bishop Andrus is arrested in a war protest:
Money Quote: "Northern California's Episcopalian leader, the newly appointed Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, was arrested this afternoon for blocking the front door of the San Francisco federal building to protest the Iraq war. . . . The officers passed Andrus in their first round of arrests as he was not positioned in front of the doors. After Andrus, in his purple robe, got up, moved a few steps and lay down again directly in front of the entrance, the officers returned and placed him in handcuffs . . . "

-- In the meantime, the Reverend David Baumann, Episcopal priest in the diocese of Los Angeles, spoke up at its diocesan convention upon its rejection of B033.  I consider it a very courageous thing to do.  The comments in response to his essay are truly moving:
EXCERPT: "I address all who are here, but mostly I speak to those who voted in favor of the last resolution.

Within the household of God from the days of the Old Testament, there has been a venerable liberal tradition of compassion and justice, essential for the well-being of the people of God. Liberals challenge the family of God to keep them from becoming complacent and hard-hearted.

The conservative tradition is also venerable and vital for the well-being of the people of God. Conservatives challenge the family of God to keep them from departing from what is essential. Both traditions need one another and are indispensable for the fullness of our Faith.

Even if everything that you believe and practice is totally right—which I doubt—how you have gone about making it so in our Church is wrong. For years, many in our progressive ranks have claimed that they are guided by the Holy Spirit and that anyone who disagrees with them does not have the Holy Spirit. I have heard this stated more than once by clergy in this diocese, and across the nation I have seen it written many times. This “winner take all” philosophy has resulted in increasing polarization within the ranks of the household of God to the point that now the entire Anglican Communion is in crisis. This cannot be evidence of the work of the Spirit.

. . . Blithely going forward with “business as usual” is hardly prophetic. It is not even wise.

The real problem is not that people have differing convictions on the issues. That has always been so, and many times it has been healthy and worked for the good of the Church. The real problem is that you continue to take actions and make statements like this resolution that further the alienation and drive the wedge deeper. This is not liberalism; this is arrogance.

Over the past thirty years, traditionalist priests in this diocese have taken early retirement, moved, elected not to speak (as I did), and stopped attending conferences and conventions. Some priests, and eight congregations, even made the radical choice to secede. All of this happened because they felt neither listened to nor cared about. If you value inclusivity and comprehension but continually fail to listen to the voices you need to hear, those voices will gradually cease. In this diocese they are now almost completely silent, as this lopsided vote indicates. . . .

When the voices such as my own have finally disappeared, do not think that you have finally won. You will, in fact, have suffered immeasurable loss. You will have ignored all appeals and put yourselves apart from Anglicanism."


-- Truro Church, The Falls Church, Church of the Apostles, All Saints, Dale City, and five other parishes vote to disassociate from the Episcopal church in the last two months of 2006.   It is my understanding that at least another five Virginia parishes will be considering this action in 2007.  The Living Church reports on two of the parishes and their vestry decisions, prior to the congregational vote:
QUOTE: "With a combined membership of more than 5,200 and average Sunday attendance of 3,200, Truro and Falls Church are among the largest and wealthiest congregations in The Episcopal Church. In 2005 the combined reported pledge and plate income for the parishes was in excess of $7 million. Both congregations also predate the Revolutionary War, with Truro Parish being established in 1732 and The Falls Church’s first building completed in 1734."

-- As background to these decisions, note this letter from the rector of The Falls Church to his parishioners near the beginning of 2006:
EXCERPT: "These five factors have been eating away at Episcopalianism for a long time and many have exited ECUSA already , but thus far most have stayed together. The current crisis over same-sex relationships has caught people’s attention, however, and begun to lead to greater division, not because this one ethical issue is so important, but rather because it has become the blatant illustration of what happens when a church breaks loose from its biblical and orthodox foundations. That our denomination has elected to its highest position of leadership one whose lifestyle is in open, proud rebellion against, not only the Old and New Testament teaching, but also 2,000 years of church doctrine, is dramatic evidence of the doctrinal changes that have gradually re-shaped our denomination. Convinced orthodox Christians can no longer pretend that Episcopalianism is the same thing as historic Anglicanism. It is interesting that the youngest members of the Anglican Church (the Global South Anglicans) have seen this the most clearly and spoken out the most loudly against the heresies of the North (us).

For years I have believed that renewal of the Episcopal Church was not only possible but worth working towards. That is the way we viewed our role within the broader church. The Falls Church has hoped to be a lighthouse of renewal and a model of orthodox Anglican faith but I have changed my mind. Certainly renewal is always possible with God, but all the signs I see now lead me to believe that ECUSA is inevitably headed away from historic biblical faith. We are now a radically liberal Protestant church with tinges of Catholic – ceremonial, hierarchically-dominated, and pathetically shrinking numerically week by week. Yes, there are still exceptions to this, but the exceptions are rarer and rarer.

I do not have a clear sense of what might a trigger a TFC decision to leave the denomination. Our own Bishop allows us to be who Christ has called us to be, and tells us that the rest of the Diocese and denomination needs us. We are under no pressure to embrace or teach or give financial support to practices or people or programs that in good conscience we feel we cannot support. Still, many, many dioceses are not so generous and open as Virginia. General Convention this June could present us with worse developments, and the pressure from the Global South to break away is increasing. Many of us simply do not feel at home in ECUSA anymore. I dream of an Anglican Church in North America that is truly biblically centered, mission-focused, evangelistically on fire, doctrinally sound, led by wise, passionate godly leaders – a church that will offer confused 21st century post moderns a real faith, a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, and community in which the healing, powerful, and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is being celebrated in worship and fellowship day by day."

-- One member of The Falls Church blogs about a faulty article in the Washington Post concerning the vote:
EXCERPT: "It is no overstatement to claim that “no Christian standard or doctrine is safe” in the hands of leadership that has effectively abandoned Scripture as the supreme authority for life.  The new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has already shown that the Gospel itself – the good news that God sent His only Son to die for our sins and reconcile all of creation to Him – isn’t safe in her hands.  Jesus himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  His apostle Peter declared the same when questioned by the Jewish high priest and elders in Jerusalem:  “there is salvation in no one else [besides Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  In sharp contrast, when Time asked, “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?”, Bishop Schori replied: 'We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.' "

Dispelling any doubt about her denial of this basic tenet of the Christian faith, Bishop Schori later explained in an NPR interview:

For Christians, we say that our route to God is through Jesus.  That doesn’t mean that a Hindu doesn’t experience God except through Jesus.  It says that Hindus and people of other faith traditions approach God through their own cultural contexts;  they relate to God, they experience God in human relationships, as well as ones that transcend human relationships;  and Christians would say those are our experiences of Jesus, of God through the experience of Jesus.

Bishop Schori, of course, is not alone in her radical deviation from Christian teaching concerning the uniqueness of Christ.  For example, our own bishop, The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, who is often counted among the more conservative leaders of the Episcopal Church, told our rector in a letter last week that teaching the uniqueness of Jesus Christ is an “ideological” position that “exceeds the witness of Scripture.”  For those of us who believe that, indeed, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, Bishop Lee’s statement is an appalling one."

-- The Rector and Wardens of The Falls Church offers a report to the congregation on Anglican realignment.  The entire report is excellent:
EXCERPT: "Fulfilling our mission.  God helping us, the focus of The Falls Church will be on Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples–that is, to evangelize and then to teach people to observe all that Jesus commanded, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Matt. 28:19-20.) Being affiliated with the Episcopal Church does not facilitate that mission, and often hinders it: 
   • By remaining within the Episcopal Church, we implicitly endorse the idea that the teachings of the Episcopal Church are genuinely Christian.  
   • When our Church is identified as “Episcopal,” Christians and non-Christians alike wonder whether we disregard the Bible and promote another agenda.  
   • We have a special obligation to people who are tempted to homosexual behavior and other immorality, and who may rely on the false assurances of the Episcopal Church that such behavior is not sinful.  They need to hear our loving but uncompromised declaration of the truth–the good news that they can change through the power of the Holy Spirit--but our current affiliation is at odds with our message. 
   • Evangelical Christians in other denominations, who should be our partners and allies in the cause of the Gospel, sometimes assume instead that we do not share their faith.
  • Orthodox Anglicans in other provinces sometimes assume that we are in step with the Episcopal majority, and consider that their communion with us is broken or impaired. 
   • Evangelism of the Muslim world must be a high priority for the Church; but our testimony to Muslims, and our credibility with them, is impaired by our association with a denomination that condones sexual sin that (as Muslims know) is forbidden in the Bible. 
   • Time and energy that we should devote to our mission to the world is instead spent in defensive dealings with an increasingly hostile denomination.  For many  years our Rector and this congregation have been devoted to the cause of reform and renewal within the Episcopal Church, because we have believed that this has been God’s will for us.  However, our recent process of discernment has confirmed us in the judgment that God would not have us continue this effort, which has become increasingly difficult, distracting, and counter-productive. 
   • We must not allow the Lord’s resources, which have been committed to our stewardship, to be spent in ways that contradict the Lord’s teaching and will.  For this reason, we have for several years been unable to contribute to the national Episcopal Church (or to make undesignated contributions to our diocese, a portion of which would go to the national denomination).  We do have a strong commitment to “outreach”–devoting a substantial portion of our funds to ministries outside our own church.  We have therefore contributed to individual Anglican and Episcopal ministries (including some within the diocese) that we believed are consistent with our Gospel mandate, with our Bishop tolerating this circumstance for the time being–but expressing his hope that we would resume our diocesan contributions.  We may not be able to continue the status quo indefinitely. 
   • Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, the bishop has a role in the process of preparing candidates for ordination.  At some times in the past (though not in very recent years), he has prevented our candidates from attending Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry and has insisted that they attend other, more liberal seminaries.  We cannot predict what our bishop or his soon-to-be-chosen successor will require in the future; but in our judgment it is untenable that our candidates for ministry must pass muster with an authority that does not share our commitment to Biblical authority and that sometimes acts counter to that authority.  
   • Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, the bishop may assert the power to interfere with a congregation’s choice of a Rector.  Our own Rector will eventually retire, and we are unwilling to have an Episcopal bishop assert a veto power over our choice of his successor.  The theological and moral convictions of the rector are critical to the spirit and direction of our congregation and its ministries, and for that reason our congregation could not long maintain its evangelical, orthodox, and Biblical character if we remained in the Episcopal Church and were subject to its veto in the calling of our rectors.  In our judgment, these hindrances will only increase as time passes.  These considerations favor our severing our ties with the Episcopal Church. 
Heeding the Biblical mandate.  The foregoing considerations reflect our prudential judgments–serious but fallible–about what would help our Church do the things we believe God wants us to do.  However, more important than those considerations is our need and obligation to obey God’s Word and will.  We previously reviewed (CTWT, p. 15) the New Testament instruction about the required treatment of those who teach serious error: 
 • “Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching [i.e., “the teaching of Christ”]; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.” (2 John 10-11.)  
 • “Watch out” for them; “Keep away from them.” (Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 3:6.) 
 • “Take special note of him. Do not associate with him.” (2 Thess. 3:14.) 
 • “Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Tim. 3:5; Titus 3:10.) 
When the principal leaders of a denomination teach serious error, these passages require disassociation from them.  Our recent process of discernment, including our study of First Corinthians, has confirmed to us that the Bible does require us to be separate from the Episcopal Church, because of its persistence in gross errors on essential doctrines:10

-- The vestry of Truro Church offers a lengthy, but excellent description of The Sources of Division":
EXCERPT: "Furthermore, although the Communion in its charity has limited its requests of The Episcopal Church to the specific issues that sparked the immediate crisis, we view these refusals to be but the fruit of a deep-rooted disrespect for “Holy Writ,” the standard of the Christian faith, of which The Episcopal Church once pledged to “be a witness and a keeper.” In the words of Anglican Bishop John Jewel over 450 years ago, addressing a crisis with parallels to that of today, The Episcopal Church’s “errors were proved and made manifest to the world, which Church also had already evidently departed from God’s word.” No longer can The Episcopal Church say with its founding father Bishop William White, writing for the House of Bishops in 1817, that “our Church inherits the maxims of the earliest and best ages, prevailing . . . before the many notions of modern times, the novelty of which we conceive to be sufficient evidence of their unsoundness.”

The Episcopal Church thus has walked beyond any worldly hope of or expectation for returning to its original foundations. In addition, the toil of resisting and enduring its decline has taken a heavy toll on Truro, particularly in the three years between the General Conventions. The feedback that has flowed in from the congregation during our discernment period, in dozens of small groups, in written submissions, in congregational meetings, and in countless private conversations, has confirmed our sense of this toll and indeed shown it to be heavier than we had thought. We therefore have been constrained to conclude that, if Truro Church is to continue as a vital congregation, and if it is to preserve its witness to God’s Word and its fellowship for the Gospel throughout the Anglican Communion, we cannot persist any longer in The Episcopal Church. We must sever our ties, so that we might remain with those who do not hesitate to contend for the faith but rather delight in doing so."

-- All Saints, Dale City, reached an agreement on the property with the diocese of Virginia prior to the congregational vote:
QUOTE: “We are grieved by the direction of the Episcopal Church, but we are thrilled finally to put the property issue behind us and move forward with our mission to be a church ‘overflowing with God’s love and healing power,’” said Mr. Guernsey. “This win-win agreement frees us to step into a new day for our congregation.”


-- Bob Dannals, rector of Christ Church, Greenville, withdraws from the bishop search process in the Diocese of Southwest Virginia.

-- He continues in the bishop search process in the Diocese of Virginia, election to be held on January 27.

-- Kendall Harmon's blog has a report on the diocesan convention here -- the comments, too, were fascinating:

-- The diocesan convention link is here:

-- The second meeting of Windsor Bishops at Camp Allen has taken place in Texas:

-- Bishop Henderson comments about why he has not attended the meeting:

HUMOR [without it, what on earth would we do?]  ; > )

-- Lark News, [spoof web site] "a good source for Christian news", comments on the Presbyterian Church's ambitious goals:
EXCERPT: "LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Church (USA) has launched a campaign to slow the rate of decline to 5 percent, according to the denomination.
"People at the grass roots need hope and motivation," says a spokesman. "This is a positive goal we can all get behind."

 The Minus 5 Campaign aims to lower the attrition rate in spite of the denomination's continued struggle with moral issues, which has led to even greater exodus of members. Instead of losing 12 to 15 percent of members every decade, the group will now "work in great unity and joy to lose only five percent."

"This is the rallying cry we've been needing," says a pastor in Pittsburgh, Pa. "It's heartening to people at the local level to know we're determined not to shrink as rapidly.""

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
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1 posted on 01/09/2007 10:02:04 AM PST by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Peach; Zippo44; piperpilot; ex-Texan; ableLight; rogue yam; neodad; Tribemike; ...
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:
More Anglican articles here.

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 01/09/2007 10:02:45 AM PST by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: sionnsar; pinkpanther111; CurtisLeMay; theothercheek; kiriath_jearim; Gadfly-At-Large; ...
In the meantime, Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori has been busy with the duties of Presiding Bishop.

1) She was interviewed by the New York Times [requires registration]:

How many members of the Episcopal Church are there in this country?

About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise, but Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.

Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?

No. It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

What a set of comments!+

Freep-mail me to get on or off: Add me / Remove me

Please ping me to all note-worthy threads on Pro-Life or Catholic threads.

3 posted on 01/09/2007 10:08:32 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: narses

Yes, a sad business. I thought the last presiding bishop was bad, but this one is even worse.

She doesn't seem to mention the name of Jesus very often when she talks about her mission.

4 posted on 01/09/2007 10:17:28 AM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: narses; P-Marlowe; xzins

FYI, since you had asked why I ping my list to threads I find interesting, I invite you to this thread that I also find interesting. Perhaps you can, thereby, understand me a little bit better.

5 posted on 01/09/2007 10:40:04 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: narses
No. It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."

Genesis 9:7

"As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it."

6 posted on 01/09/2007 10:40:45 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: Aquinasfan

What does it mean "to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."?

7 posted on 01/09/2007 10:46:11 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: narses; P-Marlowe

There really was no reason to ping a "pro-life" list to an "anti-mormon" thread.

The mormons are pro-life.

I think they have lousy theology, but that's a different subject than the right to life. The enemy of my enemy is my friend in that case.

8 posted on 01/09/2007 10:46:50 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: sionnsar; polemikos
There has been a long and often close relationship between
the Anglican and Catholic Churches. In certain situations
there remains a mutual recognition of the validity of key
doctrines, liturgies, and practices. And the Catholic
Church continues to hold the faith and moral teachings as
taught by the Apostles.

I understand that there is also an Anglican Use liturgy
within the Catholic Church, wherein the Book of Common Prayer
is used for the Mass (with minor updates). So there is no need
to lose the liturgy Anglicans may be familiar with.

Resources for those interested in the Catholic faith:

Catholic Answers
A superb site for clearing away the myths propagated by too many.
Offers free on-line library that examines all the major issues,
free on-line archive of over 1,500 hours of radio/audio material,
plus magazines, books, pamphlets, tracts, videos, and more.

Coming Home Network
Provides fellowship, encouragement and support for Protestant
pastors and laymen who are somewhere along the journey or
have already been received into the Catholic Church.

Biblical Evidence for Catholicism
Dave Armstrong's monster site. Eclectic, fun, exhaustingly
detailed, personal, moving, and more.

And may God bless your journey where ever it takes you.

posted on 08/05/2003 5:19 PM PDT by polemikos

9 posted on 01/09/2007 10:47:16 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: xzins

What "anti-mormon" thread? I posted from the BYU historical archives - verbatim. How is that "anti-mormon"?

10 posted on 01/09/2007 10:49:53 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: narses

What did you find interesting about it?

11 posted on 01/09/2007 10:53:00 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: narses
I understand that there is also an Anglican Use liturgy within the Catholic Church, wherein the Book of Common Prayer is used for the Mass (with minor updates). So there is no need to lose the liturgy Anglicans may be familiar with.

You are correct, but whoever did the "updates" to the version I saw online some time back had quite the tin ear. It was every bit as clunky as ECUSA's '79.

12 posted on 01/09/2007 10:55:45 AM PST by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: xzins; P-Marlowe

The idea of a changing Godhead.

One of the distinguishing traits of the 20th Century was the common idea that theology had to change to meet a changed culture. Clearly our LDS friends have found that to be the case, but then look at fundamental issues like divorce, contraception, and sexuality and you will find many (most?) denominations that claim the mantle of "Christian" have also gone down that path of a mutable Godhead.

Even inside the Catholic Church, the Modernists have tried to do that, sadly with too many victories in the various Chanceries around the world, but (Deo Gratias!) not with the actual Dogmas taught by the Universal Magisterium.

Clearly you and P-Marlowe appear to find fault with my post(s) and pinging. Can you articulate what error I make or what you find objectionable?

13 posted on 01/09/2007 10:59:34 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: sionnsar

Modernism is a problem with many of the translations, it is being addressed, but slowly.

14 posted on 01/09/2007 11:00:17 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: narses

I can appreciate that the nuances of Cranmerian English might not be immediately obvious.

15 posted on 01/09/2007 11:02:57 AM PST by sionnsar (††|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: narses

There is no crime in posting anything you want. There's just a contradiction in pinging a pro-life list to a "darn, don't those Mormons have an odd concept of the Godhead" thread.

16 posted on 01/09/2007 11:03:44 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: narses; P-Marlowe

There is no crime in posting anything you want. There's just a contradiction in pinging a pro-life list to a "darn, don't those Mormons have an odd concept of the Godhead" thread.

17 posted on 01/09/2007 11:03:56 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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To: xzins

From a strict theological POV, all of our allies who reject any of the Dogmas of the Catholic faith have (to one degree or another) an "odd" concept of the Godhead, and since we are all often working together, I find it edifying to understand those concepts. I ping those on my list since I believe that such edification helps us all work better together and may, over time, bring many home to Our Lord in the fullness of the Faith He gave us. Does that help explain the perceived "contradiction "?

18 posted on 01/09/2007 11:11:14 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: sionnsar

For some, the nuances of Latin are just as obscure - perhaps more. Vis the "pro multis" controversy.

19 posted on 01/09/2007 11:12:37 AM PST by narses (St Thomas says "lex injusta non obligat.")
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To: narses; P-Marlowe

Since I'm not a Roman Catholic, it doesn't help a bit knowing you think I have an odd concept of the Godhead.

I'm a trinitarian. What is odd about that?

20 posted on 01/09/2007 11:14:54 AM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it! Supporting our troops means praying for them to WIN!)
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