Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A bishop's divided house

A nice profile of my bishop, Jon Bruno, in today's L.A. Times ... note that +Jon will be a keynote speaker at the Episcopal Majority gathering in Washington this week.

In troubled times, L.A.'s Episcopal leader seeks to be a unifying force.

By James Ricci, Times Staff Writer
October 31, 2006

On a recent Sunday morning, the Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Los Angeles Diocese of the Episcopal Church, stood before a congregation in Ventura County with his hands clasped, the fingers tightly interlaced, as two boys summoned from the pews tried to pull them apart.

It was not an easy task. Bruno stands 6 feet 5 and weighs 285 pounds, and his hands are in proportion to the rest of him. They are hands, moreover, that have clasped dying young AIDS patients in compassionate embrace and held off charging defensive linemen on behalf of a championship college football team, hands that gripped the shotgun as a fatal blast was delivered in the service of law enforcement.

"Pull, come on," Bruno exhorted the boys, who tugged and yanked to no avail as the congregation laughed. "They could pull all day and all night, and they still won't pull them apart," Bruno declared. "We need to be in that kind of community. Even though we have disagreements, even though we're in pain and sorrow, we need to be together."

Read it all here ... and give thanks for bishops like our +Jon!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Presiding Bishop's Chancellor Threatens Fort Worth, Quincy Dioceses

Reported today by today by The Living Church ... my, my my! Methinks twill be an interesting 9 years!

And DO check out Fr. Jake's "take" on these developements ... There's A New Boss In Town over at Fr. Jake Stops the World!

[TLC: 10/30/2006] 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. “We are still contemplating our response, but I think we will refuse to take the ‘bait’ by responding in kind,” Bishop Iker said. “We will probably refer him to our website where our constitution and canons are published.”

In recent years, four dioceses – Fort Worth (Texas), Pittsburgh, Quincy (Ill.) and San Joaquin (Calif.) – have amended their constitutions to qualify the diocese’s accession to General Convention, reserving the right of the diocese to reject bylaws which in their view contradict scripture and/or historic church teachings. Spokespersons for Pittsburgh and San Joaquin reported being unaware of receiving a similar letter. Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin are the only three dioceses in The Episcopal Church which do not ordain women. Mr. Beers concludes his letter stating “should your diocese decline to take that step, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what sort of action she must take in order to bring your diocese into compliance.”

Bishop Iker questioned whether this was possible given that in September, Bishop Jefferts Schori told him to his face at a special meeting in New York City called by the Archbishop of Canterbury that the Presiding Bishop has no jurisdiction or oversight of dioceses under Episcopal Church polity.

Also during September, a disciplinary review board rejected holding San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield guilty of abandoning the communion of this church for similar changes made to its constitution by convention in that d

PB's Swan Song Sermon

Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold presided and preached at St. John's Anglican Church in Notting Hill, London, on October 29, the last Sunday of his nine-year tenure as Presiding Bishop.


I am very grateful to your vicar, Father Taylor, for the invitation to preside at this morning's Eucharist and to break the bread of God's word. I do so with a mixture of emotions on this, the last Sunday of my time as Presiding Bishop, chief pastor and Primate of the Episcopal Church. Next Saturday my successor, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, will be formally proclaimed Presiding Bishop during a liturgy at the Washington Cathedral.

My reason for being here in London has been to introduce Bishop Katharine to his Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury. While I have known Archbishop Rowan for many years – our friendship dating back to his days as a professor at Oxford – my successor had yet to meet him. It was an immensely positive and fruitful exchange. During our meeting we were able to share mutual concerns and hopes for the future of our Communion and its ministry of service to our broken and needy world.

The Anglican Communion, through its international consultative council, has committed itself to gender equity in all of its representative and consultative bodies. The election of Bishop Katharine to serve as 26th Presiding Bishop, and therefore Primate, is a first step toward bringing gender balance to what until now has been an all male preserve.

There are those who have indicated that they will not sit at the same table with her. I do hope that once they meet her as a person, rather than as a fabrication of the Internet, they will be able to sense the depth and authenticity of her faith, and to recognize her as a sister in Christ and a fellow bishop.

It is ironic that though women represent the majority of the Anglican Communion, their voices and their reconciling views are woefully underrepresented. In so many situations of conflict and division throughout the world it is women who, because of their passion for life and the wellbeing of the family, are the peacemakers. It is women who courageously refuse to play the largely male power games of who is in and who is out, who is strong, who is weak. These invidious games afflict not only nations but the church as well.

Today's gospel reading presents us with blind Bartimaeus who encounters Jesus making his way through the town of Jericho. If today you visit Jericho you will be shown an ancient tree in the center of town, and told – confidently – that it is the very tree under which blind Bartimaeus sat on that fateful day.

There is, however, another way to approach today's gospel. While it is clearly an account of Jesus healing a blind man, it can also serve as an invitation to explore blindness as a spiritual condition in which we see but do not see. Here I am put in mind of John Cosin's paraphrase of Veni Creator, the hymn sung at ordinations in which we pray to God the Holy Spirit "enable with perpetual light, the dullness of our blinded sight."

How easy it is for us – personally, ecclesially and nationally – to live with blinded sight. Unquestioningly and uncritically we accept prevailing attitudes, opinions and biases as self-evident, as true. The dullness of the familiar can so easily keep us from seeing the inequities, the untruths, the injustices that surround us.

Read it all here

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Year of the Lord's Favor

New Blog Op: The Year of the Lord's Favor

I was really taken with the ENS publicity around the Investiture suggesting the church consider praying and contemplating with Bishop Schori the texts (Isaiah 25: 1-9, Psalm 98, Ephesians 4:1-16, and Luke 4:14-2) she has selected for her November 4th sermon in the week ahead.

We'll be using them for weekday Eucharists at All Saints Church this week but I felt like I wanted to do something "bigger" -- and got to thinking about a wider pooling of our wisdom ... about all of us reflecting together on what it means -- at this time and place in the life of this church -- to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

And I wondered it if wouldn't be wonderful to hear from each other ... to not only encourage those who have blogs to reflect on these texts this week but also to create a place where we could link to those blogs AND to receive reflections from "out and about" ...

I'm imagining kind of a cyber-anthology marking this moment in the life of the Episcopal Church and have taken a shot at creating a site to compile it ... The Year of the Lord's Favor ... and an email address to receive submissions.

It's a huge old week for all of us, I know, but it's also a huge old opportunity to focus our prayer and contemplation energy on a common message of peace, justice and liberation.

So I'm running it up the flag pole. Salute if you choose ... and let's see what happens!

Friday, October 27, 2006

"In the News"

News reports on the PB-elect's trip to Canterbury, upcoming Investiture, etc ...

Female Bishop to Take Top Job in Episcopal Church:
WASHINGTON -- At a ceremony filled with pomp and tradition, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will become the first woman in Anglicanism's nearly 520-year history to lead a national church when she is installed as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church on Nov. 4. Beliefnet

Archbishop Welcomes Presiding Bishop and Presiding Bishop-elect:
[ENS, London] Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams -- hosting a discussion that affirmed the Episcopal Church's commitment to the shared ministries of the Anglican Communion -- welcomed Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori to Lambeth Palace October 27 for a 90-minute meeting described as a "cordial and collegial" exchange. ENS

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Fun Facts to Know and Tell About +Katharine's Investiture

From the bulletin insert available in a PDF download from Episcopal News Service

Church to welcome 26th Presiding Bishop

Next weekend, the Episcopal Church begins a historic chapter in its life of mission and ministry as Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori becomes the church’s 26th Presiding Bishop. Prayer and celebration will mark two services in Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. During a festal Holy Eucharist on November 4, Bishop Jefferts Schori will be “invested” as Presiding Bishop for a nine-year term. This liturgy will be webcast. An All Saints Sunday service on November 5 will include her offi cial seating in the cathedral. She will preach at both liturgies.

In these sermons, Bishop Jefferts Schori will call on Christians to live the gospel – especially in terms of eradicating poverty, hunger and disease, both locally and globally, as advocated in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. These goals “help us live our faith in practical ways by relieving suffering, caring for creation, and educating all children — girls as well as boys,” she has said.

Bishop Jefferts Schori’s Saturday homily will be based on Isaiah 25: 1-9, Psalm 98, Ephesians 4:1-8; 11-16, and Luke 4:14-21. Please consider joining her in prayer and contemplation of these texts during the coming week. In the gospel lesson, Jesus reads from Isaiah 61, one of the bishop’s favorite passages, which Jesus takes as his own mission “to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the
prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor ...”

Bishop Jefferts Schori, 52, an airplane pilot and former oceanographer, becomes the first woman in Anglicanism’s nearly 520-year history to lead a church province as its chief bishop. She was elected June 18 by her colleagues in the House of Bishops from among seven nominees. The House of Deputies confi rmed her election the same day. The election was one of the highlights of the 75th General Convention’s nine-day meeting in Columbus, Ohio — where the Church also affi rmed as its top priority peace and justice ministries framed by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Bishop Jefferts Schori is scheduled to appear on NBC’s Today Show November 3, one of the many interviews she has given since her election. Last week, she concluded her local ministry in Nevada, where she was elected bishop in 2000. She recently traveled with current Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold to Lambeth Palace in England to meet with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is a member province.

The Presiding Bishop is the Church’s key leader in articulating its vision and mission, and assessing its work. The Presiding Bishop brings together what is increasingly a multicultural, multilingual and otherwise very diverse church. He or she advocates for social justice for all the people of the world. As our chief pastor, the Presiding Bishop is the church’s primary preacher and liturgical leader, and provides pastoral care to bishops, among others.

The Presiding Bishop is a leader in the Anglican Communion and in this role takes the title of Primate, from the Latin for leader. The Primate works with the Communion and other faith communities toward the reconciliation of all persons as together we live out the Gospel.

Elizabeth Kaeton on NJ Marriage Ruling

Don't miss Elizabeth's If It Walks Like A Duck commentary on yesterday's NJ Supreme Court ruling. Read it all but here's my nomination for "quotes of the day:"
  • I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but you know, I’m really tired of taking baby steps to the full realization of what the Constitution guarantees every citizen of these United States of America – and, that would include me.
  • I’m weary of having to justify the fullness of my participation in the human enterprise – to have a family, to love, to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
  • I’m fed up with the second class status assigned to my first rate family.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Jersey Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality

INTEGRITY STATEMENT on New Jersey Supreme Court Decision
25 October 2006—Integrity is disappointed that the New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled today that the state constitution does not require the state to allow same-sex couples to marry. “However, we are heartened that the court mandated that the state must provide same-sex couples with the same 65 rights and responsibilities as married couples,” said Integrity President Susan Russell.

“Hopefully, the state legislature will remedy this unjust situation in the near future by extending civil marriage to same-sex couples, or at the very least, by providing civil unions. Integrity calls upon all Episcopalians in New Jersey to contact their state legislators and express support for marriage equality.” Read it all here

WASHINGTON — Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese made the following statement regarding today’s ruling in Lewis v. Harris — a court case in which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to receive the same state benefits, protections and obligations as opposite-sex married couples. The court ruled that the Legislature must either amend its marriage law to include same-sex couples or provide these benefits, protections and obligations by some other means such as civil unions.

Today, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples should have the same rights and obligations as heterosexual couples. This is, at its core, a pro-family, pro-equality decision. It is now in the hands of the Legislature to do the right thing, and recognize that all New Jersey families should have the protections that only marriage provides. Read it all here

Speaking of Family Values

As a long-time advocate for talking about the values that make a family rather than the gender that make the couple parenting a family I was thrilled to see this sweet young man singing an "ode to his two fathers" on You Tube!

Check it out here ... and give thanks for families that come in many shapes, sizes and varieties living out values that make this world a better place for all of us!

PB Elect Canterbury Bound

From TheLiving Church
Presiding Bishop-elect, Archbishop of Canterbury to Meet

Before arriving for meetings at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City on Oct. 30, Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori and Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold will travel to London where the two have accepted an invitation to meet with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will conclude her tenure as Bishop of Nevada tomorrow.

At Lambeth Palace, the archbishop’s official residence in London, Bishop Griswold will introduce Bishop Jefferts Schori to Archbishop Williams. The invitation to the official residence was extended shortly after Bishop Jefferts Schori was elected by the House of Bishops during the 75th General Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

The morning meeting will occur the week prior to the beginning of Bishop Jefferts Schori’s nine-year term as Presiding Bishop. It will also be a new chapter in Archbishop Williams’ attempts to broker a truce among factions within The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. A meeting of Episcopal bishops called at the archbishop’s initiative last month in New York City ended inconclusively.

Bishop Jefferts Schori officially becomes one of the Anglican Communion’s 38 primates Nov. 1. Her liturgical installation is Nov. 4 at Washington National Cathedral and she will be seated as primate at the cathedral the following day.

The Numbers

The Numbers on October 25th.

From Mark Harris' PRELUDIUM: As of today, October 25, 2006, the number of American Armed Forces personnel killed in the Iraq war has exceeded the number of persons killed in the terror attack on the World Trade Center Towers. The number of persons in the Towers killed was 2,801. The number of military personnel killed in Iraq as of today is 2,804.

These numbers mean nothing by themselves. The numbing and stunning death of so many on that one day, and the death of the firefighters who tried to save them, stands as a single terrible event. The slow agonizing trickle of news of deaths in Iraq has taken years. Yet for everyone who knew of someone who died in New York that day, there are equally people who know of someone who has died in Iraq. The news is devastating either way.

The Administration argues that being at war in Iraq is somehow connected to the deaths of those in the Towers. If so then perhaps the occasion marking the time when we have put in harm’s way sufficient people to where their deaths equal the deaths in the Towers is an occasion for reflection.

Read Mark's reflections here -- and pray for the peace on earth the Prince of Peace came to create on earth as it is in heaven.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Headline News" and Recommended Reading

Had an amazingly wonderfully restful fabulous long-weekend away at the beach that kept me offline since Friday and behind on some breaking news but caught up on rest, relaxation and reconnecting with the awesomeness of this fragile earth, our island home! So here are some bits and pieces of news that happened while I was away and some recommended reading after a little deferred blog-browsing:

First the "Headline News":

Several Diocesan Conventions passed "Beyond B033" resolutions, including El Camino Real, California and Northern Michigan.

The Bishop of Connecticut, Andrew Smith, authorized the blessing of same-sex unions joining Bishop of California, Mark Andrus in taking his diocese a step closer to that "full and equal claim" we've been working toward for lo these many years in the Episcopal Church. (And in the process, unleashing a sadly predictable avalanche of ad hominem attacks by the titusonenineites ... read at your own risk and see also: "makes the heart sad.")

Finally, 60 Minutes' Andy Rooney stepped up and offered a compelling commenatry on the Iraq War which I missed on Sunday night but managed to see online after the fact: let's here it for stepping up and speaking out!

And now the Recommended Reading I've gleaned in my blog browsing:

The Wisdom of Integrity by Integrity Board Treasurer Jeff Martinhauk is a great reflection on wisdom in general and integrity in specific.

Mark Harris has a most interesting piece on The Nigerian Communion -- my, my my!

If you're looking for some light reading, stay away from Joe Doss's "The Anglican Constitution Brought to Light and Applied to the International Crisis in Anglican Polity through Comparison with Modalities of Interpretation in International Constitutional Law " posted on The Episcopal Majority site ... but DO check it out if you want a much clearer understanding of what the Anglican Communion looks like at its best -- and what we're in danger of losing if Mark's Nigerian Communion folks get their way.

Finally, don't miss Michael Hopkins' touching tribute to Prosper -- his beloved seventeen-and-a-half year old cat who departed this life October 23rd. It's a two-handkerchief-blog but a must-read for anyone who has ever shared their life and love with a beloved animal companion on the journey.

NYT on Connecticut Blessing Move

October 23, 2006
Connecticut Episcopal Bishop Authorizes Priests to Bless Gay Unions

The leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, Bishop Andrew D. Smith, has authorized priests to give blessings to same-sex unions during religious ceremonies. The move threatens to further alienate the conservative wing of his church and deepen a fissure between progressive and orthodox Episcopalians nationwide.

“I believe in my heart and soul that it is time for this church, this diocese, formally to acknowledge and support and bless our sisters and brothers who are gay and lesbian, including those who are living in faithful and faith-filled committed partnerships,” Bishop Smith said on Saturday in a speech at a diocesan conference in Hartford.

The decision, reported yesterday by The Hartford Courant, does not authorize Episcopal clergy to officiate at civil unions or create an official prayer service for the blessings. Rather, it permits parishes to acknowledge gay and lesbian couples who have had a civil union granted by the state. Connecticut approved civil unions last year.

The decision allows each parish to choose whether to acknowledge same-sex couples during religious services, said Karin Hamilton, spokeswoman for the diocese.

Nationwide, nine other Episcopal dioceses — in Arkansas, California, Delaware, Long Island, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Vermont and Washington, D.C. — have enacted policies allowing the blessing of same-sex couples, according to Integrity, a national Episcopal gay organization based in Rochester. Kansas used to have the same policy, but it was rescinded there in 2003, when the diocese ordained a new bishop, Dean E. Wolfe.

“What happened in Connecticut is great news for the church, because what it says is that we’re going to continue to move forward to fully include all of the baptized in the body of Christ, whether they’re gay or straight,” said the Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity and an Episcopal priest in Los Angeles. “We should be in the business of building bridges, not walls.”
But the Rev. Canon David C. Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council, an orthodox umbrella group, said that Bishop Smith’s decision “is proof of his disregard for the larger Anglican Communion and further evidences his militancy with the homosexual gay agenda.”

“Bishop Smith and some other bishops as well are literally choosing to pull themselves and their churches out of the broader religious community,” Canon Anderson continued. “In the future of the Anglican community, there might be no place for people like Bishop Smith.”

With about two million members in the United States, the Episcopal Church has taken significant steps toward inclusiveness in the past few years, most notably with the election of V. Gene Robinson in 2003 as bishop of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the history of the denomination.

The same year, clergy and laymen overwhelmingly approved a resolution that recognized the blessing of same-sex unions as a prerogative of individual parishes.

The moves strained relations between congregations in the United States and those in the global, more traditional, Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the American arm.

A 2004 report commissioned by the communion’s leader, the archbishop of Canterbury, recommended that the Episcopal Church apologize for the ordination of Bishop Robinson and stop blessing same-sex couples and electing gay bishops.

The Episcopal Church responded at its triennial conference this year, calling on dioceses to avoid backing the election of openly gay bishops.

But in Connecticut, Bishop Smith has continued to push forward his changes, as he has done since becoming the diocesan bishop seven years ago.

In 1999, he changed a longstanding policy to allow the ordination of gay clergy members. In 2000, he and other religious leaders voted to extend health benefits to the same-sex partners of diocesan employees.

“I believe that it is time for us to rethink, repray and reform our theology and our pastoral practices; to welcome, recognize, support and bless the lives and faith of brothers and sisters who are gay and lesbian in the equal fullness of Christian fellowship,” Bishop Smith said in his speech, which drew effusive cheers.

The Rev. Christopher Leighton one of six priests who rebelled against Bishop Smith over his support of Bishop Robinson, said yesterday that Bishop Smith’s position on the blessing of same-sex unions only complicated matters.

“He had a very fiery speech, interrupted by applause at several points and in the end, he got a standing ovation,” said Father Leighton, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien. “This is where the vast majority of the diocese stands on this matter; the problem is that the worldwide Anglican community will have no part in this.”

Father Leighon added, “It’s not that we’re against gays. It’s rather that we’re affirming the traditional beliefs that only a man and a woman should be intimate for life in holy wedlock.”

Friday, October 20, 2006

Keith Olbermann Hits A Home Run

By Keith Olbermann

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived as people in fear.

And now—our rights and our freedoms in peril—we slowly awaken to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:
A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

Read it all here ... or better yet, watch the online video ... and pray for this nation

Thursday, October 19, 2006

And The Winner Is ...

Here's the first in what I expect will be an Occasional Series of "Best of the Blogs" Awards based solely on stuff I've read and liked and think you should, too!

Best Summary of "As The Anglican World Turns" goes to Katie Sherrod (Diocese of Fort Worth) for "All Will Be Well."

Best Reflection on "Ordination, Feminism, Life, The Universe and Everything" goes to Elizabeth Kaeton (Diocese of Newark) for "Dancing With Mill Girls."

Best Blog by a Seminarian on "God" goes to Jeff Martinhauk (Diocese of Los Angeles/Seminary of the Southwest) for "God is Big."

Finally ...

Best Expose' on "Primates-Behaving-Badly" goes to Mark Harris (Diocese of Delaware) for "And then there were the Kigali Seventeen."

Here endeth the "Best of the Blogs" ... for now!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Onward and Upward

We're only a couple of weeks away now from the historic investiture of +Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and I'm sensing a "new day dawning" as energy and optimism creep back into the battle-weary, schism-threatened faithful of this great old church of my birth and baptism.

The demand for tickets for the Big Event was so great that a recent ENS story reported only 25% of the requests could be filled and parishes all over the country are organizing "webcast" opportunities for folks to gather at-a-distance and share this new-day-dawning for the Episcopal Church. That's a lot of people excited enough about the future of this church to compete over dropping everything over All Saints weekend and schlepping off to the National Cathedral!

Closer to home, last night was my turn in the staff rotation to speak to the All Saints "Covenant I" class -- our twice a year class for new members. Over 80 people gathered in the Guild Room to share why they've come to the Episcopal Church and it was impossible to hear their stories of longing and faithful searching and hope and optimism and not be excited about the future of this church.

Many of them had come to All Saints as a result of the recent publicity we've received -- both the stories about our parish church and its standing up to the IRS and the stories about national church and its standing up to the internal and external forces trying to turn the clock back on our commitment to proclaiming the inclusive love of God.

Yep it is a sad thing all right that there are those who have chosen to leave the Episcopal Church over the inclusion of the LGBT baptized and the election of a woman as our Presiding Bishop. But make no mistake -- others are coming and have either arrived on our doorsteps or are coming toward us. They want to know if what they've heard and read about the Episcopal Church could actually be true: they are hoping that there really is such a thing as a church where the biblical values we proclaim are doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God rather than exploiting texts out of context to advance an agenda of judgment, exclusion and bigotry. And the work ahead of us is to get on with job of living into that new day.

Here’s what Mark Harris had to say today over on PRELUDIUM: The Episcopal Church is not for sale or rent, nor for the stealing. That's it. Those who wish to take it somewhere by means other than the workings of General Convention changes in canons and prayer book, by diocesan and national conversation, by parish practice and by the common life of the Church itself have had their day. The attempts to bend the path of this Church's ministry by agitating for the realignment of the Episcopal Church in the Anglican Communion have raised important issues and concerns, but these attempts have carried with them a virus, one that could kill the Episcopal Church's gift to the wider Anglican Communion and Christian community. We have been caught up in the miseries of this virus and now it is time to learn what we can from this peculiar time and get on with the life God has given this Church.

And let the people say, “AMEN!”

One opportunity to get on with the life God has given this Church is being offered by the Episcopal Majority folks who are convening a National Gathering in Washington DC November 3rd & 4th. From their website: The Right Reverend Jon Bruno, bishop of Los Angeles, will be the featured speaker at the first meeting of The Episcopal Majority on November 3 in Washington, D. C. He is a recognized leader in the Episcopal Church in such areas as interfaith ministry, education, nonviolence, the Kaleidoscope Project (which facilitates ministry in multicultural settings), and the diocesan Reconciliation Project, which works with people of diverse backgrounds and opinions, helping them find ways to understand each other and work together. Bishop Bruno, who has just returned from a conference in London,* will speak on the challenges confronting the Episcopal Church today.

So come to Washington if you can. Come to the National Gathering and hang out with the folks committed to making this “new day dawning” into a bright future for the Episcopal Church and for the proclamation of the Gospel we have been entrusted to share with a world in desperate need of the Good News it has to offer. And pray without ceasing that the God who has given us the will to imagine a church where all of the baptized are fully included in the Body of Christ will give us as well the grace and power to accomplish it.

*That “conference in London” would be a meeting of The Compass Rose Society -- "an international charitable organization that supports the programs and ministries of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council." I'm just SOOOO not sure where all this talk of "walking apart" is coming from when we're the ones who keep showing up!!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

In Other News ...

... A piece of the sky widely rumored to be about to fall remained firmly in place as the Archbishop of Canterbury's PANEL OF REFERENCE for the Anglican Communion issued its "Report on the Diocese of New Westminster."

You can read it all through the above link ... and you should ... but here are a few key points :

"The Panel of Reference cannot recommend the proposals of the applicants for transfer of jurisidiction ..."

"The most desirable outcome, as stated in TWR is for the theological dispute to be resolved and for reconciliation to be effected within the Anglican Church of Canada."

and here's my favorite part:

" ... the congregations should be willing to regularise their connections with the diocese, in matters such as diocsean synod attendance and the pyament of diocesan assessments ..."

Some other folks weren't so thrilled:

Gregory Venables (Primate of the Southern Cone) was quick to call the report "tragic"

The Living Church offered two articles: Panel Rejects Jurisdiction and Panel Report Called Inadequate.

Stand Firm decreed the report: Quite underwhelming, desperately cautious, toothless. Anyone who reads this will understand that they will fully support ECUSA’s DEPO in any appeal.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Makes the Heart So VERY Sad!

The following comment was posted today in response to the NPR Morning Edition story about two women celebrating 40 years of living happily ever after:

I noticed in the obituaries that Dana Rose, a 52 year-old priest in the Diocese of Newark died in August. He was active in The Oasis, the AIDS Resource Center, and an AIDS bereavement program in NYC that he founded called CenterBridge. Can anyone here tell me/us whether his death was due to AIDS? -- Tony Seel

Words failedme in trying to understand why lies behind this question about the passing of brother priest on this post about two women celebrating decades of living happily ever after. My initial instinct was to "moderate" it (AKA delete it) but decided to do some research instead.

A colleague pointed me to this post on the Stand Firm site which read: "

The Living Church reports in its obituaries (10/22/06, p. 28) that a 52-year-old priest died recently in the Diocese of Newark. There is no mention of his illness, but it does say that he was the education coordinator for The Oasis, a ministry of the diocese to gays. It also says that he was project director for the congregational training programs at the AIDS Resource Center and that he founded CenterBridge, an AIDS bereavement program in NYC. I know that we can’t assume that he died of AIDS, but I am guessing that it was his life-giving lifestyle that did him in. How sad."

And I was able to point the poster (The Reverend Tony Seel of St. Andrew's in Vestal NY) via email to the moving tribute to Dana Rose's life and ministry posted in August by the ever-eloquent Elizabeth Kaeton and his response was:

Thank you; I went to the tribute, but my question wasn't answered there. Did he die from AIDS?

Words still fail me in trying to understand such narrow obsession about why someone died rather than how they lived (and for the record, I don't have any information about Dana's HIV/AIDS status).

But re-reading about all that Dana was and did and offered to this hurting world was in itself an answer of love and service outliving the slings and arrows of those who are determined to tear down rather than build up. And if it truly comes to a "Choose This Day" moment it is getting easier and easier with every day to choose the Gospel of love lived and served by priests like Dana and let those who choose otherwise to walk apart with their snide certitude. Which isn't to say it doesn't make the heart sad so to do. Very sad.

Inaugural 2006-2009 Integrity Board Meeting

Prayers invited for the members of the National Board of Integrity who are gathering "as we speak" for the inaugural meeting of the 2006-2009 triennium in Pasadena, CA.

Keep us in your prayers as we continue to work to realize the dream of a church where there truly "are no outcasts" -- to make "full and equal claim" not just a resolution but a reality!

Gracious God, we pray for your holy catholic Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Archbishop of Wales Speaks Out

Been away from my desk most of the day -- between morning staff meetings, speaking on a Nat'l Coming Out Day panel at the University in Long Beach this afternoon and an Altar Guild Meeting this evening it has been a full, eclectic day at work in the fields of the Lord ... with this happy treat at the end of it: Windsor Report Clarification from the Archbishop of Wales (The Most Reverend Barry Morgan) in his September "Presidential Address." Here -- for my money -- is the take-away:

"... we did not have in mind a covenant that was prescriptive and detailed and intrusive. What we did have in mind was what ECUSA did at its convention in July."

Well there you have it. Can we get back to work now?

Read it all here.

Read more below:

The Windsor Report advocated that provinces should covenant with one another and consult with one another before making decisions, which might affect the life of the Communion as a whole. As a member of that Commission, we did not have in mind a covenant that was prescriptive and detailed and intrusive. What we did have in mind was what ECUSA did at its convention in July when:

*It re-affirmed its abiding commitment to the fellowship of churches that constitute the Anglican Communion and sought to live into the highest degree of communion possible.

*It reaffirmed that it was in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.

*It went on to make a commitment to the vision of inter-dependent life in Christ, characterized by forbearance, trust, and respect, and commended the Windsor Report and process as a means of deepening understanding of that commitment.

I do not know about you, but I could sign a covenant such as that. For, just as we have to recognise that the theory of the just war does not answer all the difficulties raised by modern methods of warfare, so too we have to recognise, as far as the Anglican Communion is concerned, that globalisation and instant communication have changed the nature of our relationships with one another and that what happens in one part of the church does affect another for good or ill. A covenant, setting out our mutual inter-dependence would remind us all of that fact.

But that is totally different from the kind of covenant that some people want – a kind of prescriptive one, setting up an inter-provincial constitution that would set out theological boundaries and perimeters for individual provinces in both belief and behaviour, policed by a central curia of the primates or Archbishop of Canterbury. That would go much further than what ECUSA has done, or the existing agreement of the Lambeth quadrilateral, based on the acceptance of the scriptures, the creeds, the two dominical sacraments and the historic episcopate.

It would cut at the root of the Anglican Communion as it has been traditionally understood with to my mind, disastrous consequences. We are after all a communion not a confession. We all need reminding of the words of St Augustine ‘In certis, unitas. In dubiis, libertas. Et in omnibus caritas.’ ‘In fundamentals of faith there must be unity. In disputable matters there must be freedom for debate. But in everything there must be love.’

Not surprisingly titusonenine, Fr. Jake and PREDLUDIUM are all commenting.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dissent from B033

The following resolution will be considered on December 1/2 at the 111th Convention of the Diocese of Los Angeles:

Dissent from B033

Resolved, that the One Hundred and Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Convention of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles dissent from Resolution B033 of the Seventy-Fifth General Convention of the Episcopal Church as inconsistent with both Title III, Canon 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and Canons for the Government of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and our baptismal covenant to love and respect the dignity of every human being; and be it further

Resolved, that the One Hundred and Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Convention of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles repent of the continuing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people that B033 encourages and authorizes and reaffirms the full inclusion of all sisters and brothers in Christ, regardless of sexual orientation, into all areas of the life of the Church; and be it further

Resolved, that the One Hundred and Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Convention of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles call upon the Bishops and Standing Committee of this Diocese to uphold canon law in both letter and spirit when considering consents to the consecrations of new bishops.


Title III, Canon 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and Canons for the Government of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America requires that “[n]o person shall be denied access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons…” (Emphasis added). The Canons for Government do not prohibit lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered persons from being consecrated for and serving in the episcopate.

Resolution B033, which the Seventy-Fifth General Convention of the Episcopal Church enacted as a recommendation, but not as one of the Canons for Government, provides as follows:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 75th General Convention receive and embrace The Windsor Report’s invitation to engage in a process of healing and reconciliation; and be it further resolved, that this Convention therefore call upon Standing Committees and bishops with jurisdiction to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.

The effect, if not purpose, of B033 is to subvert Title III, Canon 1, Section 2 of the Canons by encouraging and authorizing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the selection and consecration of new bishops. As a consequence, it also diminishes the 2003 consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire and undercuts years of forward progress that the Episcopal Church and this Diocese have made in securing the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons into the life of the Church.

Submitted by:

Bob Long, All Saints, Pasadena
The Rev. Altagracia Perez, Holy Faith, Inglewood

Monday, October 09, 2006

Enough to Make Your Eyes Sweat ...

Don't miss this wonderful story of love, redemption and living happily ever after in spite of the odds from NPR's Morning Edition:

Sandi Cote-Whitacre and Bobbi Cote-Whitacre have been together for nearly 40 years.
The two met when they were very young. As Bobbi asked her partner recently, "Do you remember what it was like when we were 19 and totally in love -- and couldn't tell anyone?"

While the couple knew immediately that they would spend the rest of their lives together, the people around them weren't so accepting.

After moving to a small town in Ohio, their relationship was revealed. Bobbi's mother gave them three days to leave town, Sandi recalls, "so that we wouldn't disgrace your father, his practice, your extended family."

Despite that reaction, Sandi and Bobbi stayed together, and after 33 years they were joined in a Vermont Civil Union ceremony, finally announcing their commitment to each other out loud.
But there was one condition set for the occasion: Bobbi's mother insisted that she walk her daughter down the aisle. Her demand came despite a recent diagnosis of a brain hemorrhage.

"And this was the same woman," they said in unison, "that gave us three days to get out of town."

Four years after their Vermont ceremony, Bobbi, 58, and Sandi, 59, were officially married in Massachusetts. And having their friends and family there, Sandi says, "was sort of like being 19 again."

This story was produced for 'Morning Edition' by Katie Simon. You can listen to it here

+Tutu Turns 75!

Happy Birthday, Dear +Desmond,
Happy Birthday to YOU!

[ENS] Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he has been saddened by the Anglican Church’s position on the ordination of gay priests, in his biography which is to be released in the United States and Europe on October 7, his 75th birthday.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who gained the award in 1984 at the height of the struggle against apartheid, is also critical in the book of former South African president F.W. de Klerk for his failure to more fully admit accountability for apartheid atrocities.

World Council of Churches general secretary, the Rev. Samuel Kobia, said in a congratulatory letter to Tutu on October 6: "You have challenged and pushed us never to adjust to the powers that are, but always to discern the signs of God's coming kingdom and to act accordingly. Through your work with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, you gave this fractured and broken world a model for overcoming the wounds of past evils and for creating space for healing and reconciliation."

Read it all here

Diocese of California Steps Up

From John Kirkley's meditatio:

Bishop Marc Andrus has announced his policy regarding the blessing of same sex unions in a letter to clergy of the diocese of California. Unlike the previous bishop, whose policy was "not to have a policy," Bishop Marc has presented a clear, concise, and pastoral response to the needs of lesbian and gay couples in our churches, consistent with Resolution C051 of the 2003 General Convention.

* Blessings are subject to the discretion of clergy in consultation with couples

* Careful counseling and preparation should precede the rite

* The bishop is to be informed of the blessing in advance and consulted regarding the rite, as part of the exercise of his pastoral responsibility

* The Diocesan Commission on Marriage and Blessings will identify and/or develop rites of reference for use in the diocese (this will relieve couples and clergy of the onerous and unfair task of having to reinvent the liturgical wheel for every rite)

* "The blessings of same-sex couples in our churches are celebrations of Christian love and vocation, and deserve the same expressions of joy and excitement that others enjoy." (in other words, such rites are not to be treated as a dirty secret, but as a public expression of the church's common life and ministry like any other sacramental rite)

Bishop Marc is demonstrating the kind of transparency that caused him to be elected bishop of California in the first place. This is a real step forward toward the full inclusion of lesbian and gay couples in the diocese of California, and Bishop Marc is to be commended for his leadership. It will, no doubt, result in some backlash across the wider church. Ultimately, however, it will be a gift for all Christians who care about the vocation of couples as icons of holy relationship.

It is an important next step on a journey that isn't over yet.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

From "Changing Attitude" England

Nice piece by our UK colleague, Colin Coward, responding to the Kigali Communique just posted over on the Changing Attitude website. Here's a sample to get you going:

The meeting of the Global South group in Kigali approved the document The Road to Lambeth. The document espouses Lambeth 1.10 as authoritative for Anglican policy towards LGBT people. It reminds us that Lambeth 1.10 states ‘homosexual practice is “contrary to Scripture” and “cannot be advised.”’

It ignores Lambeth 1.10 section 3 which commits the bishops ‘to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and … assure[s] them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ’ and section 4 which ‘calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals’.

the bishops indicated that homosexual practice violates the first principle of the Communion’s Quadrilateral and indeed the fundamental basis of Anglican Christianity (as expressed in Articles VI and XX). They were saying: “Here is an issue on which we cannot compromise without losing our identity as a Christian body.” Such was the understanding of the Global South bishops, and hence they were taken aback when Resolution 1.10 was immediately ignored and denounced by bishops of the Episcopal Church.’

The Episcopal Church was by no means alone in reacting against Lambeth 1.10. The passing of Resolution 1.10 was immediately followed by A Pastoral Statement to Lesbian and Gay Anglicans issued on August 5 and signed by 185 bishops from 14 Provinces including 9 Primates. One of the bishops was the Most Revd Dr Rowan Williams, Bishop of Monmouth. [I think I've heard of him!]

It is as true (and equally unhelpful) to maintain that the majority of Provinces immediately ignored Lambeth 1.10 because they refused, and still refuse, to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and assure them that they are loved by God. Global South Anglicans have repeatedly spun the falsehood of the Episcopal Church’s denunciation of 1.10 until it has become accepted as the truth.

‘the Windsor Report was considered a vehicle by which the offending churches might realize the enormity of their actions and turn back’.

The Windsor Report may have been considered such a vehicle by the Global South but that wasn’t part of the mandate from the Archbishop of Canterbury given to the Lambeth Commission.

Due to this breakdown of discipline, we are not sure that we can in good conscience continue to spend our time, our money and our prayers on behalf of a body that proclaims two Gospels, the Gospel of Christ and the Gospel of Sexuality.

Changing Attitude England proclaims one Gospel, the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are offended by the implication that we proclaim a Gospel of Sexuality and it is unworthy of the authors of The Road to Lambeth to impute such a lie about us. We ask the Church to be honest and truthful about sexuality - everyone’s sexuality. The Church is caught by an obsession with genital expressions of sex and is obsessive about homosexuality. We are working for a holy, integrated Christian understanding of God’s divine gift of sexual pleasure expressed in committed, loving relationships. The Church of England’s concern at the high incidence of domestic abuse within marriage highlights but one example of the Church’s failure to help Christians express their sexuality in holy and on-abusive ways.

Here, here! Cheerio! Spot-on, I say! Read it all here ... and give thanks for laborers in the vineyard "across the pond" like Colin and others committed to changing attitudes ... and living the Gospel!

Ed preached on the healing of the paralytic today ...

Not the one who'd been lying by the pool for years and could never get into it when the water stirred up -- this was the one whose friends didn't get tickets in the "see Jesus live and in person" lottery but came to Capernaum anyway and tore a hole in the roof of Peter's mother-in-law's house and lowered their sick friend down into the crowd for Jesus' healing touch.

And when Jesus saw their faith he healed the man.

It's a favorite story of mine and even more so having talked to my son the other day -- the 24 year old serving in Iraq. "What's it really like?" I asked. "Lots of dirt, lots of sand and the houses look the ones from Bible days ... you know, like the one those guys took the roof off to lower the man down to get healed." Be still my heart -- something from Sunday School/VBS and/or Bible Stories at Bedtime actually stuck!

And so when Ed was preaching today* I thought about that man on the stretcher and I thought about all the things that paralyze us ... paralyze me ... that seem to hard or too challenging or two "far gone" or too beyond our puny power to influence. The war in Iraq certainly comes to mind -- even if you don't have a son stationed in Tikrit! So does global warming -- even if you haven't seen "An Inconvenient Truth" or heard Dr. Helen Caldicott speak this morning about how we are slowly but surely killing this planet -- this fragile earth, our island home.

I thought about how hard it is for us as individuals or as congregations, as churches or communions, as countries or even as a global community to break through that paralysis -- to think outside the box, to imagine solutions to the challenges that face us. And yet, it was the paralyzed man who was the passive player in this drama -- it was the faith of his friends who healed him; the power of God's love through Jesus' outstretched hands that forgave his sins, made him whole. It was their willingness to risk going through the roof rather than the door that ultimately made this difference. And I'm wondering today if the call isn't for us to go and do likewise.

I'm wondering if it isn't time to tear some holes in some roofs. To refuse to be refused access to what can heal us -- to strike forever from our vocabulary "but we've always done it that way" and replace it with "but what if we tried it this way ..."

Maybe the Communion isn't doomed. Maybe there is a just solution to the immoral, unwinnable mess in Iraq. Maybe we can as a global community rise up and find a way to reverse the damage to the environment. And stop the genocide in Darfur. And broker peace in the Middle East. And keep our children safe from gun violence in our streets and in our schools. And maybe the words to today's closing hymn have never been more instructive:

Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore;
Let the gift of your salvation be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Serving you whom we adore.
Wisdom for thinking outside the box. And courage to tear some holes in some roofs if we have to. Amen.
*That would be Ed Bacon at All Saints Church, Pasadena.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Things Afoot" in Schism-land

For those interested in keeping up with the latest activity in the shifting sands of schism-land, Mark Harris has a great overview posted on his blog: Things are Afoot over at PREDLUDIUM.
Check it out ...

The Moderator knows that it is crisis time – not for the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion – but for the realignment community. He says, “Orthodox and faithful Anglicans can be divided from one another only if we allow it to be so. The present separations are temporary. When midday comes, the Lord will have put it all back together in the way He intends, if we will but not get in the way.”

When a statement like that is part of a Pastoral letter we know things are in crisis mode. It is only necessary to talk about the divisions when they are real and immediately concerning.

Something is afoot. The Moderator is pulling out the “hang together or be hanged separately” language used by Ben Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We know things are getting difficult when that word play is pulled. It is a sentiment that looses something in the translation to this particular ecclesial situation. Poor Ben.

Friday, October 06, 2006

From "Candorville" This Week ...


More on San Joaquin

Strong (and welcome!) Words from The Episcopal Majority

Here's an excerpt from the commentary on the recent announcement of the proposal in the Diocese of San Joaquin to amend its canons in order "to transfer all relationships and communion from ECUSA to an Anglican Province" from our friends over at The Episcopal Majority:

This move is breathtaking in its illegality and in its arrogance. ACN-affiliated dioceses like San Joaquin seem to persist in giving to the Archbishop of Canterbury a role as a kind of Anglican pope. He is not, and never has been. Further, they cede to overseas primates a legal standing that those primates do not have in our church canons or in our state or national legal codes. They have neither the right nor the power to determine anything concerning the Episcopal Church. Apparently, the Bishop of San Joaquin and some number of his diocese believe wishing it makes it so. It does not.

A more honorable course for Bishop Schofield has long been open to him. It is open to all those who wish to leave the Episcopal Church. They could, as their consciences seems to indicate, simply leave the church and form some "pure" denomination of their own. Instead, they attempt to have their cake [steal property of the Episcopal Church] and eat it too [insist that theirs is the "authoritative" view]. Such actions smack of hypocrisy and a lack of courage. We invite them to leave if their consciences can no longer tolerate the Anglican mode, while we would hope they would not depart. But this constant effort to steal the assets of the Episcopal Church only reveals their crass materialism, power-mongering, and lawlessness.

Read it all here ... and let's give thanks, once again, for those willing to step out and speak the truth: like the emperor with no clothes these schismatics have no scruples.

Speaking Of Primates ...

Speaking of Primates* ...
* The actions of many of the Anglican Primates are summed up for me in this quote from colleague Jim Naughton: "Archbishop Ndungane once told me that the difference between a monkey and a Primate is that monkeys cannot make Primates of themselves."

Father Jake comments today on Michael Hopkins' new blog From Glory to Glory focusing on this excerpt with the question: Are Primates A Good Idea? Good question ... and good time to be asking it! A few more Primates acting more like pastors than "popes" would mean a whole lot less monkey business and a whole lot more time focused on the Gospel!
Key points from Michael's blog:
... More importantly, however, my point is how dangerously close we are as a church—be it Episcopal/Anglican or Roman Catholic—to acting completely antithetical to the Gospel we are called to proclaim in word and deed. Those of us who live in “high church” traditions have always lived in this danger, mind you, and frequently succumbed to it. The Church ends up getting in the way of the Gospel because it begins to consider itself more important than Jesus himself.
For Anglicans, one of the principle reasons we remain separated from Rome is that we do not trust that particular system not to succumb to that temptation (and I don’t mean to score debating points with my Roman Catholic sisters and brothers here, I am just describing what is real), and yet, here we Anglicans are, in the full nature of human hypocrisy, screwing it up just as royally ourselves.
We’ve created a system with rules of behavior that determine who is in and who is out and created a super-hierarchy with persons we call “primates.” Can anyone in their right minds imagine Jesus—or even Paul, for that matter—thinking it was a good idea for Christians to call some people “primates” who have “primatial authority?” It’s enough to make this good catholic boy a mad-raving protestant!
Good question ... and good time to be asking it! A few more Primates acting more like pastors than "popes" would mean a whole lot less monkey business and a whole lot more time focused on the Gospel!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Feast of St. Francis

Blessed are you, Creator God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless our pets.* By the power of your love, enable them to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Holy God, in all your creatures! Amen.”

*Even the naughty ones (See also: Harvey and Luna)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hmmmmm ....

I wonder if it's too late to revist the definition of "abandonment of the communion of the Episcopal Church!"

San Joaquin diocese to consider constitutional amendments severing relationship with the Episcopal Church
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
Monday, October 02, 2006
[Episcopal News Service]

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin's December 1-2 convention will be asked to consider constitutional amendments that would "place the Diocese of San Joaquin in an ideal position to be part of any ecclesiastical structure that the Archbishop of Canterbury and Primates might design," according to a statement posted on the diocese's website October 1.

The 13 amendments or additions are intended "with appropriate consultation (e.g. Archbishop of Canterbury/Primates of the Anglican Communion) to transfer all relationships and communion from ECUSA to an Anglican Province to be determined at a Special Convention called by the Bishop of San Joaquin," the statement said.

The proposed changes do not affect "the Apostolic teaching and practice of the Episcopal Church that it received by being part of the Anglican Communion" but rather "perpetuate the historic Faith of the Church in a time when these things are being challenged by others," according to the diocese's website.

The changes include, among other things, striking references to the Episcopal Church, its canons and its General Convention, and changing the qualifications for certain office holders from "communicant(s) in good standing" to "voting member(s) of a Parish or Mission."
Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, dioceses are designated and recognized by the General Convention.

The constitution's second article would be amended to make the diocese accede not to the constitution of the Episcopal Church but to the "faith, order and practice of a province of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church known as the Anglican Communion."
The full text of the proposed changes is available here.

The statement says that the proposed amendments have been on file with the diocesan convention secretary since September 1, well before a series of September meetings in New York, Texas and Rwanda, which the diocese's statement said it anticipated would affect it and its request of alternative primatial oversight.

It is also nearly a month before San Joaquin Bishop John David Schofield was cleared of accusations that previous diocesan constitutional changes had constituted an abandonment of the communion of the Episcopal Church. Those accusations were found not to constitute such an abandonment, as defined in the Church's canons.

On September 28, the Episcopal Church's Title IV Review Committee determined that Schofield had not abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church by leading efforts to change other parts of the diocese's constitution and articles of incorporation.

Bishops J. Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, Jerry A. Lamb of Northern California, James R. Mathes of San Diego and then-diocesan William E. Swing of California claimed evidence of abandonment in San Joaquin's action at its last diocesan convention, when it changed its constitution to qualify its agreement to submit to the Episcopal Church's Constitution and Canons. Article V, Section 1, of the Constitution says that a diocese's constitution must accede to that of the Episcopal Church.
At its last convention, the diocese changed its constitution to read that it would accede "to the extent that such terms and provisions, and any amendments thereto, adopted by the authority of the General Convention, are not inconsistent with the terms and provisions of the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of San Joaquin..."

Eight of the Episcopal Church's 110 dioceses are requesting a relationship with an Anglican primate other than the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in what is being called Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO). They are Central Florida (Orlando-based), Dallas (which has requested a relationship with the Archbishop of Canterbury), Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy, San Joaquin (California), South Carolina and Springfield (Illinois). The bishops of Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin refuse to ordain women to the priesthood or deploy women priests in their dioceses.

Only the Diocese of Quincy's convention has yet ratified the APO requests. Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, San Joaquin, South Carolina and Springfield all have annual conventions later this year. Central Florida's convention is set for late January.

Living With Hope

"I think above all it means living with hope. The kingdom of God may be glimpsed here and there, but we're not there yet in its fullness and, therefore, there's more to discover, there's more to hope for, more to look for, more to wonder about."
The Right Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori

[ENS] Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori October 2 told a historic gathering of ordained Episcopal women part of her story and connected it to the way she thinks about leadership.

The text for the gathering is the stories of their lives and the stories of those whom they represent, said Jefferts Schori, as the first speaker at the "Imagine: Claiming & Empowering Ordained Women's Leadership" conference, which runs until October 6 at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

It is the first Episcopal Church-wide gathering of ordained women in the 30 years since women were admitted to the orders of priest and bishop. Many of those attending had their costs paid for by their bishops. Ordained women from Europe and Uganda are part of the group.
In addition to receiving coaching about leadership, the participants are being asked to imagine the kind of church they want to lead.

Jefferts Schori told approximately 200 women that her parents encouraged her intellectual curiosity and never had a pre-determined idea of what a girl could and could not do. As a child, Jefferts Schori's curiosity took the form of building a crystal radio set and learning to work in a darkroom when she was six years old. It later meant taking both bugle and harp lessons, as well as learning to fly and to scuba dive.

Read it all here

Monday, October 02, 2006

Archbishop of Canterbury Clarifies Role in Camp Allen Meeting

As reported in The Living Church

Archbishop of Canterbury Clarifies Role in Camp Allen Meeting

The Archbishop of Canterbury has clarified his relationship to the recently concluded meeting of 21 bishops at Camp Allen. A spokesman for Archbishop Rowan Williams said there was no discrepancy between the statements of Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold and the 21 bishops attending the Camp Allen meeting last month.

In his Sept. 28 letter to the bishops of The Episcopal Church, Bishop Griswold said the Camp Allen meeting was not initiated by Archbishop Rowan Williams nor was the Sept. 19-22 meeting of Windsor-compliant bishops planned in collaboration with him. Furthermore, Bishop Griswold said the two bishops from the Church of England “did not attend as delegates of the Archbishop, nor were they empowered to speak on his behalf,” he noted.

In his letter of invitation, the Rt. Rev. Don A. Wimberly, Bishop of Texas, stated the Archbishop of Canterbury had been party to the discussions and that the Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, Bishop of Winchester, and the Rt. Rev. N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, “having had thorough discussions with [Archbishop Williams], are coming with his blessing to discuss with us the nature of our future relation to the See of Canterbury and the Anglican Communion.”

The archbishop’s role in the meeting was further highlighted in the letter to the House of Bishops signed by the participants at the Camp Allen meeting. The 21 signatories stated they were “grateful for the helpful briefing from the Archbishop of Canterbury, brought to us through the Bishops of Durham and Winchester. We have corresponded in turn with the Archbishop and communicated our hopes with respect to continuing in full constituent Communion membership.”

Asked to explain the apparent contradiction on Sept. 29, the Rev. Jonathan Jennings, Archbishop Williams' press secretary, said both sides were correct.“The Archbishop of Canterbury was not involved in the organization of the Texas meeting and the Bishops of Durham and Winchester did not attend at his request,” Mr. Jennings noted.

“Once they had been invited by the organizers, they sought his consent to become involved in these discussions. This was discussed in the context of other initiatives and of the statements publicly made by the Archbishop since the General Convention, and consent was given to their participation in their own right in the Texas meeting,” he said.

by (The Rev.) George Conger

P.S. -- See also: No Wonder the Kingdom Hasn't Come Yet!

Los Angeles Throws A Party!

Diocesan Celebration of Women’s Ministries
to honor and pray for the new ministry of

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop-elect of the Episcopal Church

All women, men, youth and children of the Diocese of Los Angeles are
invited to a special celebration of women’s ministries in honor of the
election of The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori and her new
ministry as 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

This Eucharistic service will celebrate the gifts and ministries of the
women and girls in our Diocese and express our solidarity and
support for Katharine as she prepares to become the chief pastor of
our community of faith.

Saturday, 28 October 2006
2:30 pm
Cathedral Center of St. Paul
840 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles

Rooftop reception to follow.
As part of the celebration, you are invited
to bring flowers and your icons of
important women in your life to place before the altar.
The festival dress is red, gold and purple!

For more information contact celebratewomen@gmail.com

Let The Playoffs Begin!

So as I was listening to the Dodgers finish up the season by beating the Giants IN San Francisco yesterday (it doesn't get MUCH better than that!) I found myself with mixed emotions: thrilled that "my team" had pulled it out at the end of the season with a great stretch run and wondering how on EARTH I'm going to fit the playoffs into my full-to-bursting schedule.
"I don't have TIME for baseball!" I muttered to no-one-in-particular (in my car on the way to Home Depot trying desperately to cram one more errand into a Sunday schedule that went from 8:00 a.m. til 9:00 p.m.) and then had the epiphany:
Life abundant means time for baseball playoffs.
And trips to the dog park. And calling your mother even if you don't have anything new to tell her because you haven't talked to her all week. And all the other things that add up to a wholeness and balance and health ... in body, mind and spirit.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven ...
...even baseball playoffs!
Let the games begin!