Saturday, October 27, 2007

Immigration Laws


Our God, you have given us in your word
the stories of persons who needed to leave
their homelands—Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, Moses.

You have chosen that the life of Jesus be filled with
events of unplanned travel and flight from enemies.

You have shown us through the modeling of Jesus
how we are called to relate to persons from
different nations and cultures.

You have called us to be teachers of your word.
We ask you, our God, to open our minds and hearts
to the challenge and invitation to model
your perfect example of love.



Friday, October 26, 2007

Application of the Gospel...?

Sunday closest to October 26
Year C

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, Have mercy on me a sinner...!



Thursday, October 25, 2007

Break Ups...

CHARISMATIC EPISCOPAL CHURCH SPLITS. More news. In my last VIEWPOINTS I said the schism in the CEC had resulted in many leaving and going to Rome. A priest who is leaving the CEC himself wrote to say that many of those leaving have gone to Western Rite Orthodoxy, but the most common destination has been for AMiA, CANA and the Anglican Province of America."Individuals have indeed gone to Rome, but parishes cannot do so. Thus, considering parishes are moving toward Anglican jurisdictions. It is much more accurate to describe the movement as toward Anglicans, including myself. Many former CEC priests have chosen to affiliate with AMiA and are busy planting parishes. Not a few parishes have also chosen to affiliate with AMiA. Lately, others have begun to affiliate with CANA. Eventually, however, it seems likely that a large number of former CEC clergy and parishes are in conversation with APA-REC. In the end, this may result in the largest single quorum of all." The source told VOL that the total number of parishes being planted by former CEC priests added to the parishes that have/are joining with Anglican bodies could total well over 30 Anglican parishes, when all the dust settles.

I am uncertain as to the accuracy of this news, it does not seem that way from where I am looking. It sure feels bad to have this kind of news about your church reported...such a letdown! My heart goes out to the Episcopalians who seem to have been in the news and blogs ad nausaum for the past year! I guess time is needed for all to settle. In the mean time the best we can do is pray!



Friday, October 19, 2007

Dire Consecuences...

This is just so funny...
what an argument for an open
Immigration policy!!!

It brought a smile to my face, but got me thinking!

There is a lot of truth conveyed in this image, and it is not just related to burritos. Migrants, with documents or without them provide services that our economy needs and our people demand, those that call for lower wages, more effort and hard labor ...the kind of work me and you typically do not want.

I wonder how we would manage without the laborers, fruit pickers, construction workers, nannies, waiters, gardeners and yes... the burrito makers that are so much a needed part of our society?

As the immigration debate and the persecution of immigrant families continues I wonder if people remember that many of their ancestors came here under similar circumstances!

Does the Liberty lady still say the words of welcome?

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door



No Outcasts...

TEC Presiding Bishop Speaks...

"...That person my friends is the image of Christ"

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Opening with an overview of the mission-driven September 20-25 House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori set the tone October 16 for her second webcast held at the studio facilities of Trinity Church, Wall Street, in New York City.

...She said the statement that was produced in the latter part of the meeting represented "a remarkable consensus among the bishops." ..."both affirms the church's commitment to the full dignity of gay and lesbian persons and cautions us to wait before their full sacramental inclusion."

She concluded her opening remarks by quoting one of her predecessors, Edmond L. Browning, "who was fond of saying 'in this church there will be no outcasts.'"

"I concur, and I challenge each one of us to consider who it is we would most like to be rid of," she said. "That person, my friends, is the image of Christ in our midst. There will be no outcasts in this church, whether because of sexual orientation or theological perspective. God has given us to each other, to love and to learn from each other. May God bless each and every part of this body."

How refreshingly Anglican...kudos to the Lady

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Different Kind of Truth..

Finding love and redemption in the Anglican Church

By Emily Garcia
Princetonian Contributor
Photo by Jaewon Monica Choi

I first met Steve White in the doorway of a pantry in a big shambly church in Trenton. I was there for Community Action, working with the Crisis Ministry, and he was there for our Professor's Night to discuss Tracy Kidder's "Mountains Beyond Mountains." During the discussion we had been mulling over Paul Farmer's exhortation to help the world in whatever way you can. I brought up the passage from the New Testament in which Paul speaks about the church as a body, saying the eye cannot take the place of the hand and so forth, and in this same way, how we must all find own places in the whole world working towards social justice.

After our dinner, I snuck away to grab a glass of water, and at the doorway to the pantry I ran into Steve. He was dressed formally, in black with a white collar, with clean rimless glasses and neatly cut hair. I don't remember exactly what he said, but I do remember my first impression was something like, "Oh gosh, not a priest! I've got enough guilt already!" He thanked me for my comments during the discussion and introduced himself as the Episcopal chaplain. At the time, my knowledge was such that this brought up in my mind a small note-card which read only, "1: The American version of the Anglican Church; 2: Like the Roman Catholics, but without the pope." (These assumptions are actually in many ways correct: the Episcopal Church is the American "daughter" of the worldwide Anglican Communion, so anyone who is Episcopalian is also Anglican.)

Steve asked about my religious background; I told him that my family is evangelical, but that I hadn't been going to church for a while — two years in fact, and not because I was uninterested, but because I didn't find our evangelical services helpful or enjoyable. I would leave on Sunday mornings feeling conflicted, angry and guilty — feeling unworthy without knowing how to make things right.

Of course, I didn't actually say all of this to Steve, but I think he could tell. That semester they had a seminarian leading a Bible study every week, he told me, and she had in fact been raised evangelical — would I like to join? He wrote down my name and said he'd put me on the email list.

I was intrigued. I joined the Bible study and met the second person who would change my life. Jill Young is an intelligent, thoughtful and profoundly spiritual woman; with her guidance I found a way to escape the black-and-white world of pseudo-intellectualism in which I had trapped myself. Through her intellectual integrity and sensitive heart, I began to discover in myself an inclination toward an intuitive truth that is believed and understood rather than "known," and toward a greater appreciation for uncertainty and grayness, a defining characteristic of Anglicanism as a whole.

I began the Bible study joking with my parents, "Don't worry, I'm not going to become Episcopalian or something!" In December I took part in my first service (Lessons and Carols), and the Sunday before Ash Wednesday I started attending regularly. I asked Steve at least one question every time I saw him. Why do we pray for the dead? Do you believe in Purgatory? Where does the Book of Common Prayer come from? Why do priests have to wear fancy clothes? Our discussions always went further than the initial questions, branching into bigger ideas: How should we read the Bible? How should we interpret it? How should Christians act in the world? I was shocked — and relieved — to find a place where people thought it acceptable to disagree with Paul's thoughts on women, where silence and stillness were valued and where poets were cited as theologians.

I joined the confirmation class, not because I wanted to be confirmed but because I had so many questions. As I kept learning, however, I started to fall in love. I cannot even express what it was like to learn that perhaps all my questions were not signs of sinfulness or fault; I can't begin to explain the overwhelming and startling joy at encountering a God who did not look at me only to see where I had failed, but who accepted me and called me to higher places. On Easter morning I was baptized. Four weeks later, on Good Shepherd Sunday, I was confirmed, and officially, happily, enthusiastically joined the Anglican Communion.

I have found in the Anglican Church a long sweep of tradition and a wide spectrum of beliefs and doctrines, all centered around a message of love and redemption. I have found an intellectual engagement with Scripture and theology that is balanced precariously but perpetually with a sincere spiritual yearning for holiness. To be fair, not all of my interest and passion for "religion" (i.e. God) arose solely from having joined the Anglican Church; rather, it is in this particular expression of Christianity that I have found my home. It is the place where I have found safety and acceptance enough to explore myself and the world, and to continue the journey toward knowing God.

Amen and Amen!


Barbies or Birth Control ...

Maine School offers Birth Control...

After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11.

King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. Condoms have been available at King's health center since 2000. Students need parental permission to access the school's health center. But treatment is confidential under state law, which allows the students to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive...
I found this to be extremenly disturbing!

I do not let the school give my children even Tylenol . Parents are morally and legally responsible at that age range to make all medical decisions for their children who may not understand the implications and risk of the medication they take.

It seems that an outbreak of pregnant 11 year old girls in middle schools should prompt the school district to contact parents, child protection agencies, hold people accountable and educate about responsible age appropiate behaviour, NOT put birth control pills on the hands of children...!


The Beloved Physician


Almighty God, who didst inspire thy servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son: Graciously continue in thy Church the like love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of thy Name; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

From Bishop Ken Myers...

A Christian I admire posted this in a different blog. I am still thinking and praying about all it conveys. Yes...this is an old picture!!!!

I registered, but it wouldn't let me post under my registered name, so I'm doing it this way.

Shall I weigh in? Since it was an affront against my wife which was one of the central pieces of the San Clemente problem, perhaps I might make a couple of observations on the retirement of the Patriarch.

I went to the Patriarch's Council over a year ago asking the Patriarch to step down, for a variety of reasons. He said he would if the Council thought it best. They didn't. In a round the table poll, I was the only member asking for him to step down. Interestingly enough, many of them expressed to me "on the side" that Bishop Adler was "a mess", in deep personal crisis, unfit to truly lead, and I was promised that he was going to take "an extended sabbatical" during which he would release the reins of leadership.

A letter was drafted, insisting that there had been NO sexual harassment by the Patriarch. I was told, erroneously (and manipulatively) that if Shirley and I said there was sexual harassment it automatically became a "legal" issue and HAD to be addressed in a court of law. Not wanting it to become a legal matter, rather something dealt with in the context of the church, we refrained from the language of "sexual harassment" and said that there had been inappropriate behavior. This was spun into a strong categorical denial that there had been any sexual harassment charges leveled against Bishop Adler.

Later, one of the Patriarch's Council members told a priest, "We intentionally marginalized Myers". This man was someone I had counted a good friend and someone I had trusted. It was a deep cut.

Through much grief and pain, my diocese left the CEC a month later. We left in mass, but within a matter of months experienced fragmentation - some going to Orthodoxy, some going to Rome, some going to Bishop Zampino, some going to Bishop Fick. That experience was also very, very painful.

Now, a year later, Bishop Adler admits to his local congregation that he had been inappropriate toward the wife of a close friend (that means, Shirley, the wife of his close friend, Ken). Likewise, other allegations were brought forth, and are at least reported to have been admitted to.

Now, I receive emails from some of the priests who have left my fold (good men, I might add), saying, "if only this had happened" a year or so ago none of the fracturing of the CEC or of our diocese would have happened. Indeed.

So, you all must understand that it is with some measure of incredulity that I read the official report: Bishop Adler has retired. His retirement has been graciously accepted by the others and thanks offered for his years of service. Not a mention of the scandal. Not a mention of the sin. Not a word about having been wrong in previous decisions.

I recognize the need for civility, but I detest spin. Couldn't there have been even the simple admission that there were problems? That mistakes were made? That this wasn't just the giving of a man a golden watch at his retirement party? It all has a ring of hollowness to it.

I think what people really yearn for is honesty.

Those men who came to me privately saying, "Keep pressing the matter. Don't let up" but who refused to speak when I spoke; those men who said to me, "He's messed up" (but using language much stronger than "messed"), but refused to demand correction; those men who said privately to me, "He MUST step down" but who when polled said, "No"; those men who insisted that there was "no sexual harassment" but admitted to "marginalizing Myers" - will they make amends? Will they even dare say publicly that sins were committed and grievous mistakes were made?

That Bishop Adler has "retired" is a good thing. I still love him very much, miss him, and pray for him. I hope his life is brought into a good and godly balance and restored to a healthy place. And so now what, for those left in leadership? I love and respect Archbishop Woodall, who had the courage to write on this forum under his own name. I understand what he means when he writes, "For those of you who have left the CEC for whatever reason and have expressed your pain and anger, may God in His mercy begin the healing process in you which enables you to forgive those who have intentionally or unintentionally hurt you and to move on with your lives." I would simply suggest that "the healing process" is best accomplished when there is godly repentance by the offending party. I would suggest that a good start would have been Bishop Adler publicly asking forgiveness and particularly doing so directly to those he sinned against. A good continuance would be for the leadership of the CEC to not spin this as a retirement, but deal honestly with the matter and to perhaps, themselves, in a spirit of repentance, ask forgiveness of those many who have been devastated by the choices they have made (or failed to make) in the past - choices of publicly whitewashing rather than simply being honest.

Archbishop Woodall suggests that those who have been hurt, even intentionally, come to a place where they can "move on with your lives". We are moving on with our lives, Shirley and I. With a diocese that has completely exploded, with significant financial difficulties, with the struggles of moving forward in a new communion, with the personal pain of friendships lost and the abuse of authority figures - we are indeed moving on with our lives. It's just that such a moving on would be much easier if there were a little bit of genuine repentance and admittance of wrongdoing.

That's all I'm saying. Twelve Step stuff. Bible stuff.


Lord Jesus Christ son of God, have mercy on us...


Patriarch Retires...

Statement from the ICCEC's Patriarch Council, October 15, 2007

The Patriarch’s Council of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, meeting in Orlando, FL, October 15,2007, accepted the Most Reverend Randolph Adler’s retirement as Primate and Patriarch of the ICCEC. We wish to express our gratitude and appreciation for his founding of and many years of service to our church and we express our deepest love and affection for him and his
wife, Betty, and our best wishes for their future.

without comments for now


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wedded Bliss...

"...We've been too busy to fight..."

A Scottboro couple recently celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary, one of the longest marriages among living people when compared to reports in the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records.

Alonzo, 97, and Beulah Sims, 94, celebrated their anniversary a day early Sunday at the nursing home where they have lived since May 2002.Without their families' approval, the two teens married in 1927, when he was working at a farm, plowing fields with a mule and picking cotton for 50 cents a day. The couple, who raised six children, credit their long lives to hard farm work and eating lots of vegetables. They moved frequently to find farm work, going from Paint Rock Valley near Garth to Atchley Bottom in Madison County and then to Woodville in the 1960s. They said their eight decades of marriage have been virtually free of fussing.''We've been too busy to fight,'' Beulah Sims said.

In a society where most marriages do not last it is quite inspiring to read about this elderly couple who have made their relationship last. I must admit reading this brief story of their lives together it does not strike me as a recipe for wedded bliss..but its hard to argue the experience of 80 years ! This is one that defies odds and predictions! They married young, had no family approval, worked at unskilled jobs had way too many kids for our society's taste and frecuently moved, all markers of risk of dissolution in a marriage. Yet these two, amidst the busyness of hard work, raising children and making ends managed to remain together and after 80 years report enjoying each other's company.

Maybe the marriage experts are missing something! It seems that money, family support, marrying when older and more sucessful, limiting the number of children and having more quality time are not necesarily conducive to longterm sucess in marriage! Certainly not for most of us AND..according to these two real experts....maybe we all have too much time in our hands!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

CEC Troubles

"...A cord of three stands is not easily broken..."

More problems and rumors of trouble in the Charismatic Episcopal Church of North America(CEC). Almost year after the communion was impoverished by the loss of 7 bishops and about a third of the congregants new allegations of impropriety in the leadership at the national level threaten to shake this community once again. The flagship communion of the convergence movement; a home for all christians seems to be shaking on its foundations...will the cord be broken...again?

It is hard for me to pinpoint a single reason for the problems that have buffetted the CEC. Some have pointed at very human flaws of its leaders and failure to deal with problems at the highest levels of authority. Others have focused on the CEC's lack clear doctinal guidelines and no liturgical uniformity. Yet for others the problem lies on the interpretation of one the foundational principles of the CEC, consensus government.

While the idea of seeking the consensus of the Holy Spirit by a group of men in relationship with one another and under the leadership of a priest or bishop is laudable, the practice has been less than admirable! There have been allegations ranging from secrecy to spiritual abuse and manipulation, a disconnect betwen the higher echelons of power centered in the Patriarch and his council and the parishes that incarnate the CEC at the local level.

This week the bishops meet in council, next week the Patriarch's council convenes and the story will be written!!! I must confess to being a little afraid of what will happen, whatever the outcome ! If nothing of substance occurrs and the staus quo remains it will signal a death for many hoping for reform. If significant problems are revealed and changes implemented, it may also be the death of this Communion as we know it.

May God in his mercy embrace all clergy and lay people in the CEC, many of which have given so much for love of him and this church. May he lead us to safety and give us joy and hope!


Peace Blessing

I heard the most beautiful blessing at church this Sunday. I found it so very inspiring. Bishop Jane Dixon used it for the Liturgy after 911 at the Washington National Cathedral....


Go forth into the world in peace,
Be strong and of good courage,
Hold fast to that which is good,
Render no one evil for evil,
Support the weak, comfort the afflicted,
Honor all people, Befriend the poor
Love and serve the Lord with singleness of heart,
Rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
And may that Spirit so fill you that you
Go forth from this place seeing the face
Of Christ in each person you encounter. Amen!

New Bishop for the CEC

Seal of John Holloway Bishop of the Diocese of Georgia, a wonderful priest and friend!

Canon David Epps- Bishop Elect sends out this email notification

It seems that I am soon to be made a bishop. It is a position which I have not sought, for which I have not campaigned, and, in all truth—at least for the past few years---have not desired. All this has come about not because I have come to a place where my leadership abilities are profound and undeniable or because my accomplishments are such that they cannot be ignored. Quite the opposite, in fact. It has come about because our bishop, The Most Reverend John Holloway, age 53 and the father of four, suffered a massive stroke in early June and has been severely disabled since that time. As in war, when a commander is wounded or killed, someone has to be promoted so that the battle may continue and the enemy defeated. So it is with me. Our commander is wounded and I am to receive a battlefield promotion. Such was the decision of our American House of Bishops in Orlando last Monday...

It seems strange to me that I will have a new designation. Whereas, at present, I am “Father David Epps,” or “The Reverend Father David Epps,” I will soon be “The Most Reverend David Epps,” People who know me are aware that I am not very “reverend” and am certainly not “the most reverend.” The people in my church will most likely continue to call me “Father David,” a designation with which I am most comfortable since it conveys relationship rather than position.

I will be the “acting bishop” of the Mid-South Diocese which includes Tennessee and Georgia. I suppose I will have to cheer for the Bulldogs now (except when they play Tennessee). When, in the grace and mercy of God, Bishop Holloway returns to health and resumes his duties, then I will stand aside and serve as his auxiliary or assisting bishop...

When I was elected last Monday, the bishops gave me the news and then apologized for having elected me. There was no applause, no backslaps, no cheers of congratulations. The moment was sober because the challenges ahead are daunting. I am, of course, honored and humbled. And, for the foreseeable future, there will no funds available to carry out the work—this promotion will actually come at a cost to my church and me. I will be consecrated in November, the Lord willing. I feel intensely unworthy which, in truth, I am. But I will do my duty. Lord have mercy. Pray for me.

Father David Epps is the founding pastor of Christ the King Church