Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Be Fruitful and Multiply...!

Livia Ionce, 44, second left, holds her newborn daughter, Abigail Ionce, who was born Tuesday, as she and her husband, Alexandru, 51, pose for a photograph with 13 of their 18 children at their home in Abbotsford, Canada on Saturday July 26, 2008. Their oldest child is 23-years-old. The couple immigrated to Canada from Romania in 1990.

Wow....I wonder if they are Catholics?



Monday, July 28, 2008

Which Way Africa...?

posted by Elizabeth Keaton on her blog; Telling Secrets

The following letter was posted by Elizabeth Keaton. It was written by Rose Ngeri a Nigerian woman, now in England on ocassion of the Lambeth Conference where she hopes to meet as many African bishops and possible and reach them with this message. I offer it with my prayers for her and without comment.

Here are her own words to her bishops and their wives:

"The Lambeth Conference, to me, is a place where you meet Bishops and people from all walks of life to share different views about lots of things we see and hear. I gather that LGBT are welcome in the House of God by some people . . yet, denied the right of place in the same house of God by others.

Please, our African spiritual fathers, let us have a place in our churches. REMEMBER, WE WERE BORN OF YOUR FATHERS, MOTHERS, SISTERS, AUNTIES, COUSINS AND NEICES. Our mothers did not ask for this group of children. Rather it is the content of the man deposited in the woman that came out the same way it is made by God.

African leaders keep passing laws against LGBT. Please, if I may ask, what crime have we committed? Mothers, will you fold your arms and let your children die through torture? Why can't you ask them what crime your children have committed before they kill more of your children?

How long should we keep quiet about issues like this?

Which way Africa?"



Clouds at Canterbury...

Halt Gay Bishop Consecrations and Same-Sex Blessings!

Ruth Gledhill Religion Correspondent
A new pastoral forum is to be set up to bring rebel provinces into line in the Anglican Communion. The 650 bishops meeting at the Lambeth Conference in Kent debated proposals today for a body headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, that would prevent any more consecrations of gay bishops or same-sex blessings.

The forum will also clamp down on "cross-border interventions" such as those where conservative bishops from Africa have consecrated bishops to pastor congregations in the United States. The document says the forum is needed because repeated requests for moratoria on gay consecrations, same-sex blessings and cross-border interventions have not been heeded.

It says: “The failure to respond presents us with a situation where, if the three moratoria are not observed, the [Anglican] Communion is likely to fracture.” The document proposes the forum as a “key mechanism to achieve reconciliation”.
The plan was drawn up by a group of bishops at the conference, who say in the document: "We believe that the pastoral forum should be empowered to act in the Anglican Communion in a rapid manner to emerging threats to its life."

It warns that a "proliferation" of ad hoc episcopal ministries such as those put in place by conservatives cannot be maintained. It calls for all existing ministries already set up to be placed “in trust” in order to be reconciled back into their original provinces...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cuba at Canterbury...

The Episcopal Church of Cuba presided at a Eucharist on Day 8 of the Lambeth Conference. The service has been described in the web as amazinly upbeat and Bishop Frade reports the Archbishop of Canterbury himself attempting to clap in time to the Cuban rythm.

Among Cuba's bishops, as a first time attender to Lambeth, is +Nerva Cot, Cuba's 1st female bishop and the 11th woman consecrated to the episcopate in the Anglican Communion.

It must have been a sight to see!



Sexy in the South...?

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) –

The South tips the scales again as the nation's fattest region, according to a new government survey. More than 30 percent of adults in each of the states tipped the scales enough to ensure that the South remains the nation's fattest region.

The 2007 findings are similar to results from the same survey the three previous years. Mississippi has had the highest obesity rate every year since 2004. But Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Louisiana have also clustered near the top of the list, often so close that the difference between their rates and Mississippi's may not be statistically significant.

Why is the South so heavy? The traditional Southern diet -- high in fat and fried food -- may be part of the answer, said Dr. William Dietz, who heads CDC's nutrition, physical activity and obesity division. The South also has a large concentration of rural residents and black women -- two groups that tend to have higher obesity rates, he said.

Fried Chicken, chicken fried steak, corn bread, fries....I'm getting really hungry!


Careful with Cell Phones...

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The head of a prominent cancer research institute issued an unprecedented warning to his faculty and staff Wednesday: Limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer.

The warning from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is contrary to numerous studies that don't find a link between cancer and cell phone use, and a public lack of worry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Herberman is basing his alarm on early unpublished data. He says it takes too long to get answers from science, and he believes people should take action now - especially when it comes to children.
"Really at the heart of my concern is that we shouldn't wait for a definitive study to come out, but err on the side of being safe rather than sorry later," Herberman said.

No other major academic cancer research institutions have sounded such an alarm about cell phone use. But Herberman's advice is sure to raise concern among many cell phone users and especially parents.In the memo he sent to about 3,000 faculty and staff Wednesday, he said children should use cell phones only for emergencies because their brains are still developing.




Gay and Here to Stay....

+Gene Robinson responds to the Episcopal Church of the Sudan

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, this is also about the faithful people of New Hampshire who called me to be their bishop. Everyone seems to forget that I am not here representing myself, but rather all the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire, with whom it is my privilege to minister in Christ's name. They have called me to minister with them as their Bishop, and suggestions that I resign ignore the vows that I have taken to serve my flock in New Hampshire. I would no more let them down or reneg on my commitments to them than fly to the moon. We may be the one diocese in the entire Communion who is, for the most part, beyond all this obsession with sex and are getting on with the Gospel. They would be infuriated, as well they should be, if I entertained any notion of resigning. And it is not just Gene Robinson who is being denied representation at the Lambeth Conference, it is the people of New Hampshire who have been deprived of a seat at the table.

Second, those calling for my resignation seem to be under the impression that if Gene Robinson went away, that all would go back to being "like it was," whatever that was! Does ANYONE think that if I resigned, this issue would go away?! I could be hit by a big, British, doubledecker bus today, and it would not change the fact that there are faithful, able and gifted gay and lesbian priests of this Episcopal Church who are known and loved for what they bring to ordained ministry, who will before long be recognized with a nomination for the episcopate (as has already happened in dioceses other than New Hampshire), and one of them will be elected. Not because they are gay or lesbian, but because the people who elect them recognize their gifts for ministry in that particular diocese. We are not going away, as much as some would like us to. That toothpaste isn't going to go back into the tube! Not if the Bishop of New Hampshire resigns. Not if the "offending" bishops leave the Lambeth Conference. Not ever.

Well there you have it!



Gay Bishop Must Go...!

Archbishop of Sudan Press Briefing - Tuesday July 22
Excerps from a briefing with the Archbishop of the Sudan, the Most Reverend Dr. Daniel Deng Bul. Comments widely reported on the web.

“Gene Robinson should resign for the sake of the Church and the entire Anglican Communion…”

“We do not want to throw any people away, either. But we are here to determine how to remain united. That begins with forgiving one another for errors made. Gene Robinson is an error. The American church has not admitted they are wrong and we cannot forgive them until they do…”

“300 bishops are not here because of Gene Robinson. Can he not resign to allow them to come? Why has he not done that?

"...I am not saying the Americans should all be excluded, but keep Gene Robinson away and we will find a way to help them..."

“This issue of homosexuality in the Anglican Communion has a very serious effect in my country. We are called ‘infidels’ by the Moslems....I am begging the Communion on this issue so no more of my people will be killed…”

“The culture does not change the Bible; the Bible changes the culture. Cultures that do not approve of the Bible are left out of the Church’s life; people who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches…”

“…The American church is saying that God made a mistake. He made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Adam….”

“We will not talk to Gene Robinson or listen to him or his testimony. He has to confess, receive forgiveness and leave. Then we will talk. You cannot bring the listening to gay people to our Communion. People who do not believe in the Bible are left out of our churches, not invited in to tell us why they don’t believe…”

“The Authority of the Bible is always the same. You cannot pull a line out or add a line to it. That brings you a curse….”

When asked if he knows any gay people in the Sudan he replied, “They have not come to the surface. We do not have them.” The press from TEC that were in the room did not laugh out loud at this statement, but nearly.
This is somewhat disturbing at multiple levels, despite the Archbishop's obvious concern for his people , the Anglican Communion and of course the Scritptures and Gospel message! Perhaps it seeems so as a result of my living in a free, pluralistic society where, despite disagreement, respect for other's viewpoints and litsening to others is valued.

I fail to see how these words will in any way be convincing to Christians of progressive tendencies, whether they sympatize with the plight of the Sudanese or not. They reflect a world view , a view of Scriptures, the Gospel message and the baptismal covenant that does not resonate with the experiences and values of many in western, largely post modern societies.

One would also have to wonder as to the prudence of this statement given that many in TEC, including gay clergy, actively fund and suppport projects that have benefit the people and churches in Sudan.



Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is This Woman a Heretic?

[I composed this before arriving in Canterbury, but wanted to wait for the Conference to begin before publishing it.]

by Bishop Whalen

In the run-up document to the Global Anglican Future Conference entitled “The Way, the Truth, and the Life,” there is a remarkable statement:

“ English and American Anglicanism fell victim to certain bishops – ...who questioned the very ‘substance’ of orthodox Christianity: the transcendence of God, the possibility of miracles, the Virgin Birth and Bodily Resurrection of Christ and, underlying all, the authority of the Bible... such ‘prophetic’ views were stamped as mainstream with the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop in 2006.” (page 39)

So, is she a heretic? That is, does she advisedly hold to teachings that contradict the Church’s clear witness to Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again from the dead? He who is truly human and truly divine, yet one person? In interviews with her, this is clearly not the case!!!

Now, there are those who think that Bishop Katharine is a heretic because she supports the “full inclusion” of gay people into the Church—that is to say, that it is possible for gay people to lead holy lives as Christians, as long as their sexual expressions of love take place within a covenant bond, just as with straight people.

But there has always been a clear distinction between faith and morals, between doctrinal theology and moral theology. That distinction is formal: the doctrines of the Church may be developed but they may not be denied. If Bishop Katharine denied the tenets of the Creed, or that Holy Scripture does contain all things necessary to salvation, she would be a heretic, and I would most certainly resign my office as Bishop In Charge of the Presiding Bishop’s jurisdiction.

On the other hand, the moral teachings of the Church have always reflected the context in which the Church found itself. In times past, it has been taught that widowed people could not re-marry; that Christians could own slaves as long as they treated them correctly , that Christians could not charge interest on loans. It has never been heresy to disagree with such teachings. Bishop Katharine may turn out to be wrong about changing the traditional teaching on homosexual people. But that is not heresy.

Very interesting take on the Presiding Bishop's progressive views in reference to contemporary topics of faith and practice in the Episcopal Church.

Having had the privilege of hearing our Presiding Bishop preach in several ocassions I can say she is definitely not someone you can neatly tag and place in a box. A quiet speaker, she is uncompromisingly an advocate for those who are needy, marginated, siolated, the immigrant and infirm. Often her words remind the church that the good news are not just to be believed and talked about but lived in love and service to God and our fellow man!

God bless and guide The Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schorri as she leads the Episcopal Church in this complicated century, let her be a voice for Christ proclaiming the good news of his love for all.



Gays and the Millitary

Poll shows growing acceptance of Gays in the Millitary
By Kyle Dropp and Jon Cohen

Public attitudes about gays in the military have shifted dramatically since President Bill Clinton unveiled what became his administration's "don't ask, don't tell" policy 15 years ago today. Seventy-five percent of Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, up from 62 percent in early 2001 and 44 percent in 1993.

Today, Americans have become more supportive of allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the armed forces. Support from Republicans has doubled over the past 15 years, from 32 to 64 percent. More than eight in 10 Democrats and more than three-quarters of independents now support the idea, as did nearly two-thirds of self-described conservatives.

Fifty-seven percent of white evangelical Protestants now support allowing openly gay service members in the military, compared with 82 percent of white Catholics and 80 percent of those with no declared religious affiliation. Three-quarters of both married and single people support the idea, both significantly higher than in 1993.

Across all three periodic Post-ABC surveys on the issue, women have been more apt than men to support gays in the military. Today, more than eight in 10 women support allowing openly gay soldiers, compared with nearly two-thirds of men. Fifteen years ago, half of women supported this stance; nearly two-thirds of men opposed it. Furthermore, large majorities across age and education categories now support allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military.

The Post-ABC poll was conducted by telephone July 10 to 13, among a random national sample of 1,119 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. Error margins are larger for subgroups.

Even as we witness the controversies related to the role of gays and the place for their relationships in the life of the church, news like these remind us there is a radical change in the public attitudes about homosexuality in our culture. These changes seem to trascend religious preference, education, age and political persuation. It is quite illusory to think these attitudes and the tolerance they convey are somehow going to be erased as Americans enter churches on Sunday morning, read and interpret the Bible and choose those they want to lead them as pastors and bishops.

The Anglican Communion's crisis in this light seems more a clash of cultures and a natural consequence of changing public perceptions and attitudes than a battle for the soul of Christianity and Anglicanism as some would frame it. Are we becoming more liberal, permissive, tolerant of sin? Or is it that we are becoming more human, welcoming, respectful of the identity and rights of others? One thing seems certain, there is no way the clock can be set back nor human issues like these along with the persons they affect shoved back into the closet!



Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hugo Chavez launches his own Church

Venezuela: Anglican, Lutheran and Roman Catholic have consecrated three priests as bishops of a new church loyal to Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.

Last Saturday the dissident churchman formed the Reformed Catholic Church of Venezuela in a ceremony in the western city of Ciudad Ojeda. Organized along Anglican principles, the “Bolivarian” church seeks to combine the socialist ideals of the president and nationalist heritage of Simon Bolivar --- the country’s founder --- with the tenets of liberation theology.

While the estimated 2,000 parishioners in five parishes in working-class districts loyal to the president pose no ecclesial threat to the Roman Catholic Church, or smaller Anglican and Lutheran churches --- they have been denounced by the country’s Roman Catholic hierarchy.

"The apparent political goal of this association distances it from the true expression of Christian faith," Cardinal Jorge Urosa Sabino said in a statement on Sunday. "Jesus Christ's true church is spreading the word and the gift of Christ to the whole world, separately from political issues and party affiliation."

However, the Rev Enrique Albornoz, a former Lutheran minister who helped create the independent church told the Associated Press, “We don't side with any political banner, but we cannot fail to recognize and support the socialist achievements of this government," and “back the social programmes of this revolutionary government."

The Bolivarian Church, which models itself on the nationalist catholic church formed in Nineteenth century Mexico that has since become the Anglican Church of Mexico, uses the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer and has adopted a liberal moral ethos, making clerical celibacy optional, permitting divorce and remarriage, and holding that homosexual conduct is not immoral.

Lord have mercy...!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Psychoactive Incense....

Burning Incense Is Psychoactive: New Class Of Antidepressants Might Be Right Under Our Noses

ScienceDaily (May 20, 2008) — Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too. An international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses...

To determine incense's psychoactive effects, the researchers administered incensole acetate to mice. They found that the compound significantly affected areas in brain areas known to be involved in emotions as well as in nerve circuits that are affected by current anxiety and depression drugs.

Well there you go...! Low chuch folks, the bells and smells crowd had the right idea all along!



+ Katharine at Lambeth

By RACHEL ZOLL 07.11.08, 7:03 AM ET
Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was installed as head of the U.S. church less than two years ago, inheriting a mess not of her own making. The global Anglican Communion was in an uproar over the 2003 consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. Long-simmering differences over Scripture and the global Anglican fellowship erupted into a threat of full-blown schism.

Jefferts Schori, a theological liberal who supported Robinson's election, has tried to ease the tensions in meetings with other Anglican leaders. Starting next Wednesday, she will be explaining the church's actions in her broadest venue yet: the Lambeth Conference, a once-a-decade meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world. Jefferts Schori said she's looking forward to the "face-to-face conversation" at the event.

While Robinson won't attend the Lambeth meeting, he will be just outside the event.He is preaching at a British church, despite a request from Williams that he refrain from doing so. A group of Episcopal bishops will host two receptions for Robinson outside the Lambeth Conference grounds so other Anglican bishops can meet and speak with him.

Jefferts Schori said she didn't ask Robinson to refrain from preaching and said his presence on the outskirts the conference "doesn't make my life more difficult." "I think it's an opportunity for others to meet him as a human being, as a member of this church, as an honored member of this church," she said.

Liberal Christians believe that committed same-sex relationships are permitted under the Bible's social justice teachings. Conservatives disagree - and they are a majority in the 77 million-member Anglican fellowship.

"Some people think that you can read the Bible without understanding the original context and simply take literally what you read. We will interpret - and it's an important part of faithful living," Jefferts Schori said. "To assume there is only one way of reading is hubris."

To prepare for the meeting, the presiding bishop said she has been speaking and praying with other Episcopal leaders. She is urging them to have realistic expectations for the event…."Conversations that are challenging can't be solved in one meeting," she said. "These issues aren't going to be finished by the end of the summer."

Sounds like it will be a hot summer at Lambeth!



I Love TEC

I love the Episcopal Church, and in spite of the desirability of modern ecumenism, perhaps I secretly hope that I may die in her arms. I love her not conditionally or with calculation, not with careful reservations, but freely, joyfully, wholeheartedly.

I love the stone-and-brick stateliness of her old city parishes, even when they get down at the heels because “the neighborhood has changed.” And her tatty little small-town churches, smelling faintly musty and damp, kept going somehow in the face of great challenges by devoted, self-giving souls. And her gleaming, spanking-fresh suburban churches too, whose modern architecture speaks of the unending creativity of the Spirit.

I love her high-church places with their clouds of smoke from the incense pot and their chants. And no less do I love her low-church parishes, all furniture polish and gleaming brass and memorial tablets, some still with the restrained but curiously exuberant dignity of choral Morning Prayer.

I love her Book of Common Prayer, her firm doctrine and emphasis on sound learning, her devotion to scripture and tradition, and the glorious cadences of her language. But I love too the freedom that she grants her children, her openness to the new, her breadth of humanity, her expansive love, learned at the feet of Christ.

I love the bright young families proudly ranged in their pews on Sunday morning, and the elegant elderly who have seen it all, and the sparse little congregations on weekdays whose hushed devotion to their Lord is an almost palpable radiance. And her old priests whose eyes show the compassion taught them in a lifetime, and her young priests who are so sure that the world can be won in five years at the outside.

I love the names of her heroes—Cranmer, Hooker, Julian, Pusey, Gore, Underhill, Lewis, Seabury, Breck, DeKoven. And a hundred others, including some private ones of my own.

I love the letters to The Living Church that begin, “Dear Sir: It is high time . . ..” And the solemn verbiage with which the Executive Council launches a new project, the billowing sleeves of the bishops’ rochets, and the whole mad range of possible headgear that clerics can wear. I even love the battered Prayer Books in the pew racks that are sometimes confused with Hymnals.

I love the eccentric ladies in city parishes who dress in liturgical colors. And the uproarious stories about departed dignitaries that are told whenever the clergy gather and have time for small talk.

I love the Holy Communion, and the beauty of holiness, and the hands of young and old reverently raised to receive the sacrament. I really can’t help it. I don’t know if everybody ought to be an Episcopalian; it may be that other people feel as strongly about their Churches as I do about mine. I do know that I love the Episcopal Church and that I am sworn to her, forsaking all others.

I’m glad of it. And it isn’t denominational loyalty or sectarian spirit or party fervor or naiveté about her imperfections. It’s love.

Written originally by the Rev. James Pearson, edited by the Rev. Don Henning, and further edited by The Rt. Rev. Henry N. Parsley Jr.

I found this so very nice. Being in my "first love" as a newcomer to the Episcopal Church, I hope to love my new home this very much.



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Living without Illegals....

What if we threw out all the illegal immigrants?
By Shirley Skeel

At least 12 million illegal immigrants live in the U.S. Most pick crops, wash dishes, build houses, cut lawns and do other jobs for between $6 and $15 an hour. They make up about 5% of the total U.S. work force. But … What if we threw them all out?

Lettuce and strawberries would rot in the fields. Dirty dishes would pile up in restaurants. Thousands of farmers and builders would go bust. Predator aircraft drones would prowl the Mexican border. And chunks of Los Angeles and Houston would look like ghost towns.

The biggest losers would be middle-class families with two working parents, living in high-immigrant states such as California, Texas, Florida or New York. Why? They would pay more for food, housing, entertainment and child care as a shortage of low-skilled workers drove up some wages, and therefore, some prices. Meantime, their own pay would remain the same. What's more, the ripple effect of thousands of businesses shrinking or closing for lack of staff might put one of the parents out of a job. Not to mention the garbage collection going to pot and no one to polish the missus' nails.....

People often fail to look at the practical consequences of their rethoric...would this not be a sight..! Seems like comprehensive inmigration reform allowing undocumented workers to regularize their status would be much more practical and humane.



Thursday, July 3, 2008

Episcopales Latinos!

Nuevo Amanecer represents 'A New Dawn' for Hispanic and Latino ministries

By Nan Ross, July 02, 2008

An Episcopal Church conference on Hispanic and Latino ministry underway this week near Atlanta has gathered more than 200 people from diverse Spanish-speaking communities in eight countries to share in the challenges and blessings of their ministries and chart a course for continued growth.

"A New Dawn -- Nuevo Amanecer -- Together We Grow and Are Strengthened," represents the first time in six years that Episcopalians engaged in Hispanic and Latino ministries have come together. The entire program is offered in Spanish, with English translation available throughout.

At the opening Eucharist June 30, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori encouraged participants to examine "Why are we here? What is our mission? What is our vocation as Christian brothers and sisters?" And she reminded them, "Jesus' ministry belongs to all people who are baptized, not just bishops and clergy."

In her sermon, preached in Spanish, Jefferts Schori used Old and New Testament lessons for the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. Both readings use shepherds and sheep as metaphors to convey the vision of God, she said. And the vision of God "involves caring for all of the sheep, which means offering justice for all.

"It is our role, our work, to raise a strong voice in the wilderness," she said. "Only with a strong voice will we be able to challenge injustice."

Pastoral care is one of the more urgent topics being discussed. With tougher immigration laws being implemented in various parts of the country, a great deal of Hispanic and Latino ministry involves people who are feeling the pain of families torn apart by a legal system that's not as tolerant as it once was.

"Families are being divided because in the same family some are residents and some are not," said Soto.

"What is the church called to do?" Soto said. "The great Anglican theologian Richard Hooker told us to look to scripture, tradition and reason. The Hebrew scripture says the alien shall be as a citizen; the alien shall be given food and treated as if born here. We are too far from that concept. We are Episcopalians, and we have made the promise that we will treat every human being with dignity."


It was wonderful