VirtueOnline Digest, Vol 9, Issue 9

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VirtueOnline Weekly News Digest
http://www.VirtueOnline.org
=================================

Welcome to the VOL Weekly News Digest, an electronic communique of news about The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion is brought to you by VirtueOnline (VOL), a non-profit news and information ministry to the Anglican Communion. Subscriptions are offered free of charge.

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Today's Topics:

1. Table of Contents (Robert Turner)
2. Table of Contents -- links for mobile devices; iPhone,
Blackberry, Android, etc. (Robert Turner)
3. VirtueOnline Viewpoints - March 02, 2012 (da...@virtueonline.org)
4. "Soul Freedom" is only way to keep world safe for diversity,
says social critic (da...@virtueonline.org)
5. SCREWTAPE PROPOSES AN EPISCOPAL TOAST (19)
(da...@virtueonline.org)
6. NEW YORK:General Theological Seminary set to sell Tutu Center
to Investor (da...@virtueonline.org)
7. VIRGINIA:Judge Orders Historic Falls Church Keys, $ to
Episcopalians By April 30 (da...@virtueonline.org)
8. Why it would be wrong to legalise gay marriage, by the
Archbishop of Canterbury (da...@virtueonline.org)
9. UK: The Women Who Oppose Female Bishops (da...@virtueonline.org)
10. Britain failing to stand up for Christians, say MPs
(da...@virtueonline.org)
11. Women Bishops Legislation draws Statement from Forward in
Faith Chairman (da...@virtueonline.org)
12. Human Rights and Religious Faith - Rowan Williams
(da...@virtueonline.org)
13. BRITAIN: Faith is still the warp and weft of our society
(da...@virtueonline.org)
14. Lectors and faith: Bishop Whalon Interviews Olivia de
Haviland (da...@virtueonline.org)
15. GEORGE CAREY & THE DILEMMA OF THE INSIDE STRATEGY
(da...@virtueonline.org)
16. Archbishop Duncan Calls on Province to Pray for the Diocese
of Recife (da...@virtueonline.org)
17. MAINE: Anglican liturgy, evangelical worship style combine at
Imago Dei in Orono (da...@virtueonline.org)
18. VIENNA, VA: Vienna Resident 'Plants' a Church
(da...@virtueonline.org)
19. Virginia Attorney General Intervenes for Breakaway Anglicans
in Property Battle (da...@virtueonline.org)
20. EL PASO, TX: Pastor who led recall to be ordained Anglican
bishop of All Nations (da...@virtueonline.org)
21. JOHANNESBURG:Traditional Anglican Communion College of
Bishops Reject Ordinariat (da...@virtueonline.org)
22. Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti and wife murdered in Olinda,
Brazil (da...@virtueonline.org)
23. Archbishop of York's Statement on Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda
(da...@virtueonline.org)
24. AUSTRALIA: Bishop defends gay priest appointment
(da...@virtueonline.org)
25. HARARE: Kunonga purge on Anglicans continues
(da...@virtueonline.org)
26. HEALING THE BROKEN HEART (Psalm 69:20) (da...@virtueonline.org)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2012 13:55:16 -0500
From: Robert Turner <webm...@virtueonline.org>
To: digest <virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org>
Subject: Table of Contents
Message-ID:
<1330714516.18628...@webmail.messagingengine.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

VirtueOnline Weekly News Digest
www.virtueonline.org
March 2, 2012

1. VIEWPOINTS: New Anglican Churches*Va Churches Reprieve*Recife
Murders*TAC Re-forms, Apb Out
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15643

***********************************
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
***********************************

2. "Soul Freedom" is only way to keep world safe for diversity, says
social critic
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15635

3. SCREWTAPE PROPOSES AN EPISCOPAL TOAST (19)
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15618

4. NEW YORK: General Theological Seminary set to sell Tutu Center to
Investor
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15621

5. VIRGINIA:Judge Orders Historic Falls Church Keys, $ to Episcopalians
By
April 30
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15642


******************************
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
******************************

6. Why it would be wrong to legalise gay marriage, by the Archbishop of
Canterbury
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15636

7. UK: The Women Who Oppose Female Bishops
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15626

8. Britain failing to stand up for Christians, say MPs
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15620

9. Women Bishops Legislation draws Statement from forward in Faith
Chairman
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15619

10. Human Rights and Religious Faith - Rowan Williams
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15637

11. BRITAIN: Faith is still the warp and weft of our society
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15630

12. Lectors and faith: Bishop Whalon Interviews Olivia de Haviland
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15625

13. GEORGE CAREY & THE DILEMMA OF THE INSIDE STRATEGY
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15615

***************************************
Anglican News in North America
***************************************

14. Archbishop Duncan Calls on Province to Pray for the Diocese of
Recife
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15639

15. MAINE: Anglican liturgy, evangelical worship style combine at Imago
Dei in Orono
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15633

16. VIENNA, VA: Vienna Resident 'Plants' a Church
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15632

17. Virginia Attorney General Intervenes for Breakaway Anglicans in
Property Battle
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15634

18. EL PASO, TX: Pastor who led recall to be ordained Anglican bishop
of
All Nations
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15627

***********************************
GLOBAL ANGLICAN NEWS
***********************************

19. JOHANNESBURG: Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops
Reject Ordinariat
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15644

20. Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti and wife murdered in Olinda, Brazil
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15623

21. Archbishop of York's Statement on Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15631

22. AUSTRALIA: Bishop defends gay priest appointment
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15628

23. HARARE: Kunonga purge on Anglicans continues
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15638

*******************
DEVOTIONAL
*******************

24. Devotional: HEALING THE BROKEN HEART (Psalm 69:20)
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15640


*****************************************************
The following articles can be found on
the VOL website by following the hyperlinks
*****************************************************

1. Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15641

2. The Silence Regarding the Persecution of Christians
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15624

3. Christian homes invaded in besieged Syrian city; families desperate
to flee
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15616

4. What is a Sacrament?
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15622

5. For Such a Time as This
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=15617

END

------------------------------

Message: 2
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2012 13:55:33 -0500
From: Robert Turner <webm...@virtueonline.org>
To: digest <virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org>
Subject: Table of Contents -- links for mobile devices; iPhone,
Blackberry, Android, etc.
Message-ID:
<1330714533.18709...@webmail.messagingengine.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

VirtueOnline Weekly News Digest
www.virtueonline.org
March 2, 2012

1. VIEWPOINTS: New Anglican Churches*Va Churches Reprieve*Recife
Murders*TAC Re-forms, Apb Out
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15643

***********************************
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
***********************************

2. "Soul Freedom" is only way to keep world safe for diversity, says
social critic
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15635

3. SCREWTAPE PROPOSES AN EPISCOPAL TOAST (19)
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15618

4. NEW YORK: General Theological Seminary set to sell Tutu Center to
Investor
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15621

5. VIRGINIA:Judge Orders Historic Falls Church Keys, $ to Episcopalians
By
April 30
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15642


******************************
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
******************************

6. Why it would be wrong to legalise gay marriage, by the Archbishop of
Canterbury
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15636

7. UK: The Women Who Oppose Female Bishops
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15626

8. Britain failing to stand up for Christians, say MPs
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15620

9. Women Bishops Legislation draws Statement from forward in Faith
Chairman
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15619

10. Human Rights and Religious Faith - Rowan Williams
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15637

11. BRITAIN: Faith is still the warp and weft of our society
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15630

12. Lectors and faith: Bishop Whalon Interviews Olivia de Haviland
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15625

13. GEORGE CAREY & THE DILEMMA OF THE INSIDE STRATEGY
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15615

***************************************
Anglican News in North America
***************************************

14. Archbishop Duncan Calls on Province to Pray for the Diocese of
Recife
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15639

15. MAINE: Anglican liturgy, evangelical worship style combine at Imago
Dei in Orono
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15633

16. VIENNA, VA: Vienna Resident 'Plants' a Church
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15632

17. Virginia Attorney General Intervenes for Breakaway Anglicans in
Property Battle
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15634

18. EL PASO, TX: Pastor who led recall to be ordained Anglican bishop
of
All Nations
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15627

***********************************
GLOBAL ANGLICAN NEWS
***********************************

19. JOHANNESBURG: Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops
Reject Ordinariat
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15644

20. Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti and wife murdered in Olinda, Brazil
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15623

21. Archbishop of York's Statement on Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15631

22. AUSTRALIA: Bishop defends gay priest appointment
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15628

23. HARARE: Kunonga purge on Anglicans continues
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15638

*******************
DEVOTIONAL
*******************

24. Devotional: HEALING THE BROKEN HEART (Psalm 69:20)
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15640


*****************************************************
The following articles can be found on
the VOL website by following the hyperlinks
*****************************************************

1. Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15641

2. The Silence Regarding the Persecution of Christians
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15624

3. Christian homes invaded in besieged Syrian city; families desperate
to flee
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15616

4. What is a Sacrament?
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15622

5. For Such a Time as This
http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/print.php?storyid=15617

END

------------------------------

Message: 3
Date: 2 Mar 2012 13:56:45 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: VirtueOnline Viewpoints - March 02, 2012
Message-ID: <201203021856...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


"Christ said 'follow me,' not 'study me.'" --- An Amishman

Many in the church are afraid to lead a better life, but not afraid to continue in the quagmire of their inertia. Because they consider themselves to be sinners, they tremble to approach the way of sanctity, but they are not afraid to persist in their vices. --- St. Gregory Dialogos (the Great), Pope of Rome 590-604

The historic episcopate. Anglican evangelicals may regard the historic episcopate as an acceptably biblical form of episkope (though it has by no means always conformed to the scriptural ideas of pastoral oversight). They may also value it as a symbol of continuity and a focus of unity in the church. But to acknowledge its potential value as a domestic institution is one thing; to insist upon it as a non-negotiable condition of union with all other churches is quite another. Those who do this are not only hindering the church's advance to unity but infringing a principle which the church's Lord laid down. They are teaching as a doctrine a precept of men. They are failing to subordinate tradition to Scripture. --- John R.W. Stott

Find Out the State of Your Soul. You cannot live forever. You must one day die. You cannot avoid the judgment after death. You must stand before the bar of Christ. The summons of the Archangel cannot be disobeyed. The last great assembly must be attended. The state of your own soul must one day undergo a thorough investigation. It will be found out one day what you are in God's sight. Your spiritual condition will at length be brought to light before the whole world. Oh, find out what it is now. While you have time, while you have health, find out the state of your soul. --- Bishop J.C. Ryle

Freedom of Conscience is a protection of believers; it is not a protection of beliefs. And Muslims are trying to turn that 'round so that the regulation of hate-speech and their own versions of insult, blasphemy and so on ... become a protection not only of beliefs but on one belief, namely, Islam. And that is a fundamental disemboweling of human rights that would be very fateful. --- Dr. Os Guinness, social ethicist.

Consider the growth in the number of people whom sociologists call "nones," those who report no religious affiliation. Historically, this category made up a constant 5-7 percent of the American population, even during the 1960s, when religious attendance dropped. In the early 1990s, however, just as the God gap widened in politics, the percentage of nones began to shoot up. By the mid-1990s, nones made up 12 percent of the population. By 2011, they were 19 percent. In demographic terms, this shift was huge. --- Reported in the Wall Street Journal

In Need of a New Heart. Life is the mightiest of all possessions. From death to life is the mightiest of all changes. And no change short of this will ever avail to fit a person's soul for heaven. It is not a little mending and alteration - a little cleansing and purifying - a little painting and patching - a little whitewashing and varnishing - a little turning over a new leaf and putting on a new outside that is needed. It is the bringing in of something altogether new - the planting within us of a new nature, a new being - a new principle - a new mind. This alone, and nothing less than this, will ever meet the necessities of person's soul. We need not merely a new skin, but a new heart. --- Bishop J.C. Ryle

Dear Brothers and Sisters
www.virtueonline.org
March 2, 2012

>From Vienna, Virginia to Orono, Maine God is doing a new thing.

New Anglican Church plants are popping up across the US and Canada on an almost weekly basis. They are emerging while Episcopal churches and a few cathedrals set about closing for lack of membership, money and any coherent message.

New fangled "doctrines" of inclusion and diversity are not doing the trick. The more the Episcopal Church widens the parameters of membership, the faster Episcopal churches wither and die. Without a clear fix on what the gospel is, the Episcopal Church is becoming indistinguishable from the world around it.

If you have no theological boundaries or moral compass points, why bother with the church at all. If you want pansexual inclusion, a bar is a far better place to meet, match, and mate than an Episcopal Church where they ask you for money and fail to deliver the goods. At a bar, the atmosphere is cheerier, the beer is cheaper (than wine), and the only creed is the menu of liquor options.

A case in point is the announcement this week that St. John's Cathedral in Providence, Rhode Island, will close in April even as new Anglican Church plants open down the road. (Watch here for what you will read about a new church plant coming on Philadelphia's historic mainline in the next couple of months.) TEC is dying for lack of a clear word on what and who is THE Word made flesh. New life forms are breaking out because even the stones would cry out if nothing were done. Perhaps the Cathedral should have applied for a liquor license.

The Diocese of Western Kansas and Bishop Michael Milliken recently secularized (deconsecrated) St. Augustine's Church in Meade, Kansas. The Meade church was built in 1911. A 100 years later it is closing its doors. The altar, sacred vessels and other furnishings will be placed in storage until such time as a suitable home can be found for them, read a blurb in The Prairie Spirit newsletter.

By contrast, in Orono, Maine, The Rev. Justin Howard has started Imago Dei Anglican Church. Some 40 -60 students at the University of Maine attend weekly worship services held at the Newman Center on College Avenue.

"It's really full of the Holy Spirit and happiness," Bill Jenkins of Kenduskeag said earlier this month after a Sunday service. "I find it very alive here and it's good to see so many young people in church."

Imago Dei, which is Latin for in the image of God, is the only church in Maine associated with the Anglican Church of North America, (ACNA) with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Not far down the road in Bar Harbor, Maine, a former independent pastor from West Chester, PA, the Rev. Dr. Wayne Buchanan runs a vibrant Anglican church (inside Tremont Congregational Church). The congregation hasn't quite gotten used to being Anglican even though Buchanan is Anglican and is under the ecclesiastical authority of CANA/ACNA Bishop Julian Dobbs. Buchanan told VOL that between 25 and 30 in the congregation have formed a mission society - St Brendan Missionary - within the congregational church for anyone who wants to seek holy orders in the ACNA. Tremont Congregational Church in Bar Harbor Maine is Anglican in all but name.

*****

CATHEDRALS CLOSING. Another Episcopal cathedral shoe drops and it is only going to get worse. Reporters are beginning to ask: do you know where your local Episcopal cathedral is? Are you sure that there still is one?

In Providence, RI, they are closing St. John's. The last Holy Eucharist for the cathedral congregation will be held on Sunday, April 22. This is not the first and it won't be the last. They closed the cathedral in Delaware, recently. A few years back they closed the cathedral in the Diocese of Western Michigan. This was the ego eyesore of one Bishop Charles Bennison who had the misfortune of breeding two equally worthless Episcopal clerics as sons. One is hanging on by a thread as Bishop of Pennsylvania; the other got the heave ho out of TEC. Bennison's cathedral was finally sold at a loss. The cathedral in Western Michigan was sold to an evangelical mega church. For entrepreneurs with a touch of religion such cathedrals will make spectacular bed and breakfast places. Watch this space for more closures in time.

*****

In the Diocese of Virginia, the fat lady apparently has not sung her last song. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli intervened for the breakaway Anglicans in their property battle with the diocese of Virginia. On Wednesday, he filed a brief with the Fairfax County Circuit Court, and argued that the departing congregations should be allowed to keep their personal property and any donations they made to the churches they inhabited.

Faith McDonnell, a member of Church of the Apostles, which is one of the seven churches involved in the property controversy, said she agreed with the attorney general. "Cuccinelli is very right when he says that this is a religious freedom issue," noted McDonnell.

"There is a violation of religious freedom in taking the funds and/or other property given to the churches by members and other friends that intended them to go to that particular body of believers."

Last month, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled in favor of the Diocese of Virginia regarding who owned the property of seven Episcopal churches that had decided to break away from TEC over theological differences.

In his motion, Cuccinelli noted that since 2003 nearly all donations given by members of the seven churches were specifically given to their respective church and not to the Diocese of Virginia or The Episcopal Church.

Late on Thursday, Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled that the transfer of all property, physical assets, and any other assets of the historic Falls Church in the downtown City of Falls Church must be transferred away from control of the Anglican congregation to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia by an April 30, 2012 deadline. The Diocese had sought a March 30 deadline, but Bellows agreed to comply with a request by attorneys for the breakaway "Convocation of Anglicans in North America" (CANA) group to have a bit more time. As for the funds, it is estimated that $7 million is involved, with all of it to go to the Diocese except for what might be construed as money raised by the CANA group for its own specific missionary deployment. Resolution of some of monetary matters, therefore, such as money raised for a Southgate Fund to build an auxiliary building, could wait for the March 30 deadline set by Bellows.

*****

It was with deep and profound sadness that VOL reports the deaths of two great servants of the Lord. Bishop Robinson and Miriam Cavilcanti of the Diocese of Recife were apparently murdered by their adopted son in their home in Olinda, Brazil.

He was a very dear friend.

The Rt. Rev John Alexander Ellison, Anglican Bishop of Paraguay, paid the following personal tribute to the Cavilcanti's from 1988 to 2007.

"As the news of their tragic death last Sunday evening makes its impact upon us, those of us who knew them personally can only join with Recife Diocese in mourning their loss. A faithful Christian leader has been taken from us. It is hard to imagine the South American church scene without Robinson.

"I, amongst many others, knew him in the early days of his commitment to evangelical student ministry both in Brazil and beyond. Over the years we were encouraged by his significant contribution to political and social reform in his native Brazil. He gave us insights in to how as Christians we could face the huge problems of poverty and injustice that surrounded us. He made us think and gave us hope that change would come. As his influence in the Episcopal Church of Brazil grew, he spoke out and took action that inspired many of us to stand firm for the Gospel of God and be obedient to the clear teaching of Scripture. His influence spread way beyond the Anglican scene. When he visited us in Paraguay, Mennonites, Baptists and Anglicans joined together in welcoming him. Such was the stature of this influential Latin American leader that he was able to meet personally with the Paraguayan President.

"As Anglican Bishop in Brazil's fastest growing diocese, he faced with characteristic honesty and integrity the dangers the Church would face if it continued to drift away from Scripture. His courageous ministry was an example to us all. We thank God for Robinson and Miriam Cavalcanti who ran with endurance the race that was set before them."

You can read more in today's digest. His loss is enormous to that diocese. To me it is a personal and profound loss.

*****

The saga of TAC Bishop David L. Moyer and his Newman fellowship continues. He announced to his small flock this week that he would not be accepting Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson's offer of laicization in order to enter the Roman Catholic Church. Instead, he wrote, "I believe that to honor God in His calling, I need to remain in the priestly vocation."

What a surprise. The resignation of his boss, Archbishop John Hepworth, was accepted by the Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops in Johannesburg this week. He, too, has indicated that he will not accept Rome's offer of laicization. He says he plans to start all over again with whatever rump parishes and dioceses he can salvage from the TAC. Unless Moyer comes under Hepworth in his new makeshift TAC tent, Moyer has no ecclesiastical authority; thus is he part of any apostolic tradition? Based on all the available evidence VOL has received, the chance of Moyer ever getting Ordinariate approval from Steenson is zero to none.

"We continue on in our corporate trajectory of unity with the Catholic Church. Our journey is in God's hands. In His Providence, you and I are faced with obstacles and concerns, and points that need resolution and clarification," wrote Moyer.

Steenson has made it clear that Moyer will never be received into Rome as a priest with so much stuff hanging over him. If the congregation, sans Moyer, truly believes in the faith as Rome sees it, they are jeopardizing their souls not to join St. Michael's under the Rev. Dr. David Ousley who will be given the nod to enter Rome through the Ordinariate some time down the road.

Is Moyer jeopardizing his own soul and those of his followers by not accepting laicization?

It is with great irony that Moyer writes (it is Lent remember), "Within these realities is the call of our Lord to contrition and repentance for sins of omission and commission. We pray in the Collect for Ash Wednesday (which is used throughout Lent): Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness..."

His former friend and attorney John H. Lewis, Jr., would appreciate a call apologizing for a phony lawsuit Moyer and a number of his pals brought. Perhaps that is where "contrition and repentance" begins...at least for Moyer. An apology is very unlikely however as Moyer said: "No apology is in the cards. He should make one."

*****

As same-sex marriage supporters celebrate victories in Washington and Maryland this month, they are keeping a wary eye on New Hampshire, where lawmakers may soon vote to repeal the state's two-year-old law allowing gay couples to wed.

A repeal bill appears to have a good chance of passing in the State House and Senate, which are both controlled by Republicans. The bigger question is whether they can muster enough votes to overcome a promised veto from Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat.

In a state whose "Live Free or Die" motto figures into many a policy decision, many opponents of same-sex marriage wish the issue would just disappear. Representative Andrew Manuse, a Republican, said in an e-mail that he would support a repeal because he objected to government "using its power to redefine a religious, social and societal institution."

Should the repeal pass, New Hampshire would be the first state in which a legislature has reversed itself on the issue of same-sex marriage. One person who will be decidedly unhappy about this is homogenital New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson who has built his career and reputation promoting pansexuality in the church and society. It would be a real kick in the pants if it passes as he heads out the door into retirement and into the secular world to promote pansexuality.

*****

FREE SPEECH AND GENE ROBINSON. Robinson, along with some clergy from New York City, called on MSNBC to stop inviting Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (FRC), to appear on their programming. Really. Whatever happened to free speech; whatever happened to the First Amendment?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is the fascist strategy of homosexuals like Robinson. First cajole and whine; then demand acceptance; then call anyone a homophobe who disagrees; and then ban all opposition. Hitler and Stalin would have loved it. Robinson doesn't want Perkins to have a say on the Huffington POST either.

If you want an excellent take on this kind of thinking, read social critic and author Dr. Os Guinness who gave a lecture at Eastern University last week. It's titled 'Soul Freedom' of thought and conscience is only way to keep world safe for diversity and can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/6shqh9r

*****

In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, a slate of candidates has been placed before the rump diocese. It is interesting to note that local rectors were apparently not interested in the job. Only one, The Rev. Canon Scott T. Quinn, of Crafton has shown any interest. All the rest come from very liberal dioceses like Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Colorado. One can understand escaping the dying Diocese of Maine or leaving Bishop Rob O'Neill of Colorado who wrecked his diocese financially going after the Rev. Don Armstrong.

Scott Quinn calls himself an evangelical but is a TEC loyalist and a thorough institutionalist, VOL was told. There are 29 parishes in the rump diocese yet only nine have full time rectors and two full time assistants. The deeper truth is that they really need to close up shop and combine with another Pennsylvania diocese, and the most likely juncture would be Pittsburgh and Northwest PA (Erie) but both balked in early 2009 at pulling the trigger on a proposal to join. Here are the candidates.

The Rev. Canon Michael N. Ambler, Jr., Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Bath, Maine;

The Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell, Rector of Church of the Redeemer, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts;

The Rev. Canon Scott T. Quinn, Rector of Church of the Nativity, Crafton, Pennsylvania;

The Rev. R. Stanley Runnels, Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Kansas City, Missouri;

The Rev. Ruth Woodliff-Stanley, Rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Denver, Colorado.

*****

On Tuesday, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams stepped into a row that is flaring at the U.N. Human Rights Council over the alleged persecution of gays and lesbians.

Williams, who faces continued strong opposition from parts of the Anglican Communion especially in Africa for his stance on gays, did not directly refer to the current controversy at the Council, according to the text of a speech prepared for delivery at the Geneva-based World Council of Churches (WCC).

However, he said laws against sexual minorities were equivalent to racism, and warned that legal regulation of consensual sexual conduct "can be both unworkable and open to appalling abuse - intimidation and blackmail."

In other news, the ABC said he was opposed to gays marrying in the Church of England. Williams said a new marriage law for gay couples would amount to forcing unwanted change on the rest of the nation. The government has no right to legalize same-sex marriage, the Archbishop of Canterbury declared.

He also opined it would be wrong to legalize assisted dying because of the threat it would pose to the vulnerable and because it would go against the beliefs of most people.

In a key speech on human rights, Williams put his weight behind other leading clergy who have launched a powerful campaign to prevent Prime Minister David Cameron from going ahead with his plan to allow the full rights of marriage to same-sex couples.

Now does this mean that Williams has repudiated his stand in The Body's Grace? Not necessarily. He is ONLY saying that gays can't marry in the CofE. The Mail chose to quote Dr Williams saying: "If it is said that a failure to legalize assisted suicide - or same-sex marriage - perpetuates stigma or marginalization for some people, the reply must be, I believe, that issues like stigma and marginalization have to be addressed at the level of culture rather than law."

The newspaper did admit that the Archbishop has long been a personal supporter of gay rights. His lecture insisted Christians must accept that gay equality laws are here to stay. The newspaper said he has also listened to the concerns of traditional Christian believers by refusing to allow Jeffrey John to be appointed as a bishop.

But British politicians are still pushing for "gay marriage" which brought out a response from two leaders of Anglican Mainstream, the Rev. Dr. Chris Sugden and Vinay Samuel. "The Equalities Minister whilst agreeing with former Archbishop Lord Carey that marriage 'is owned by neither the state nor the Church . . . (but) is owned by the people', goes on to insist that the Coalition has a duty to push ahead with its proposed changes. Arguing that the Government's fundamental job is . . . to shape the future', she interprets this to mean that it must not back down on its plan to legislate to introduce 'gay marriage'.

"We welcome the acknowledgement that the state does not own marriage. That in itself raises the question how marriage is to be defined in a free society. Who is to decide its nature, morality and covenantal content? Ms Featherstone appears to believe it is the government's right to assume that responsibility and entrench it in statute law. Does this mean that government will expect religious organizations that from time immemorial have defined marriage now to conform to its precepts? If that is what the Equalities Minister is saying then it is indeed ironic that a Government that is committed to free markets, the free exchange of ideas and the protection of differing views is now moving into state control of social legislation.

"To attempt this in a free society would be to go far beyond anything that the colonial and imperial powers have tried to do. They never sought to impose their definitions of marriage on their Muslim or Hindu populations. The colonial powers were wise enough not to press their views.

"Neither the church nor the state own marriage. The church is, however, called to witness to the many goods of marriage that is a "given" of the created order. It is clear through the act of procreation that a man and a woman are needed for the birth of children and the well being of children is linked to the covenantal relationship of their biological parents. The scriptures and teachings of many religions and philosophies witness to this good of creation. In a free society Governments, whose duty it is to legislate on behalf of all the people, should take care not to step outside their own legitimate sphere of competence."

*****

Atheism is having a hard time defending itself apparently. Atheist Richard Dawkins is now not entirely sure God doesn't exist. The controversial Oxford University professor, billed by many as the world's "most famous atheist", says he is not 100 percent sure that God doesn't exist -- but just barely.

In a 100-minute debate with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Richard Dawkins surprised his online and theater audiences by conceding a personal chink of doubt about his conviction that there is no such thing as a creator.

But, to the amusement of the Archbishop and others, the evolutionary biologist swiftly added that he was "6.9 out of seven" certain of his long-standing atheist beliefs.

Replying to moderator Anthony Kenny, a noted English philosopher, Dawkins said, "I think the probability of a supernatural creator existing (is) very, very low."

*****

Authorities in London dismantled St. Paul's Occupy Camp this week. Just after midnight while much of the city slumbered, bailiffs, supported by police officers, dismantled a tent encampment outside St. Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday, ending a four-month protest that divided the Church of England and resonated among Britons opposed to what was seen as runaway capitalist greed.

Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protest at Zuccotti Park in New York, the camp was started late last year amid a deep economic slowdown and with jobs being lost and social services being cut even as Britain's investment bankers sought large bonuses.

A handful of protesters resisted. Police officials said 20 people were arrested after they clambered atop a rickety wooden structure for a final, noisy protest, lofting banners and rattling tambourines. But riot police surrounded the platform and bailiffs dismantled it, according to witnesses.

In a statement, the cathedral authorities explained that the protest had forced a re-examination of "important issues about social and economic justice and the role the cathedral can play."

"We regret the camp had to be removed by bailiffs," cathedral authorities wrote, promising to continue to promote the issues raised by the encampment.

St Paul's Cathedral said in a statement, "In the past few months, we have all been made to re-examine important issues about social and economic justice and the role the cathedral can play. We regret the camp had to be removed by bailiffs but we are fully committed to continuing to promote these issues through our worship, teaching and Institute.

"The cathedral is open and set aside for prayer and reflection. The cathedral is accessible to everyone. The area currently cordoned off is for essential repairs to damaged paving. Clergy are available throughout the day for pastoral care and support."

*****

Syrian Catholics "say farewell after each Mass". Catholics in Syria are so fearful of losing their lives at any moment that they say farewell to each other at the end of every Mass, the Archbishop of Damascus revealed

Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that the country is locked in a "murderous stalemate" that is "stoking the fears of the faithful, who say goodbye to each other at the end of every Mass, so uncertain are they of a continuing future."

He said some priests are so affected by the insecurity that they are "quietly" fleeing to calmer regions.

Archbishop Nassar said the conflict is "out of control" with, on the one side "a muscular central power, bent on holding sway", and, on the other, a popular uprising that refuses to put down its arms "despite the intensity of the violence".

*****

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archbishop of New York, His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, joined Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick Reilly and more than 500 leading scholars, university presidents and other academic administrators, activists, and religious leaders from a multitude of faiths in a statement rejecting the federal government's contraceptive mandate.

The statement's original drafters are Professor Mary Ann Glendon of the Harvard Law School; Professor Robert P. George of Princeton; Yuval Levin, Hertog Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center; Professor O. Carter Snead of Notre Dame; and, John Garvey, the President of Catholic University.

The letter labels the Obama administration's mandate as "unacceptable" and rejects President Obama's so called "accommodation" of religious liberty as a mere "accounting trick" that changes nothing of moral substance.

The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization. This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand. It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience to imagine that they will accept an assault on their religious liberty if only it is covered up by a cheap accounting trick. Among Anglican signers was ACNA Archbishop Robert Duncan.

The statement is available here in its entirety. http://www.becketfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Unacceptable-2-27-11am2.pdf

*****

In Christ Church New Zealand the iconic Cathedral will become a memory. The quake-crippled Christ Church Cathedral will be demolished say church officials.

The embattled city's most celebrated landmark building will be "deconstructed" to a "safe" level of 2-3 metres and will not be rebuilt.

The news was met with dismay in Christchurch.

The cathedral has been extensively damaged in the earthquakes over the last 18 months, with its spire snapping in half during the fatal 6.3-magnitude quake of February 22, 2011.

*****

An article in the Christian Post suggests that as many as 20 of the Anglican Mission in the America's 250 affiliate churches and congregations have left the AMIA since they split. This information is incorrect. In December 2011 AMIA had 152 churches in North America. Today they have 146 listed at their website - so seven churches have formally disassociated.

*****

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Warmly in Christ,

David

------------------------------

Message: 4
Date: 2 Mar 2012 13:57:45 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: "Soul Freedom" is only way to keep world safe for diversity,
says social critic
Message-ID: <201203021857...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


"Soul Freedom" of thought and conscience is only way to keep world safe for diversity, says author and social critic

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
February 28, 2012

"Soul-freedom" - freedom of thought and conscience -- is one of the keys to our human future and keeping the world safe for diversity, according to renowned social critic, author and evangelical Anglican Christian who spoke recently to several hundred members of the Agora Institute at Eastern University, St. David's PA.

Dr. Os Guinness said the "arc of violence" around the world comes from three sources: Government repression, sectarian violence and, increasingly over the last 50 years in Western nations, culture wars.

"Put together living with our deep differences, especially when those differences are religious and ideological is one of the world's greatest issues of our time," he said.

"We live in a world because of media, travel and mass movements of people, 'That everyone is now everywhere.' There's never been such diversity in so many societies. And not just a little multiplicity of private religious preferences but entire world views and entire ways of life - elbow-to-elbow - with other entire world views and ways of life within the same society. This is our world.

"The question now is how do we live with our deep differences? Traditional settlements of solving religion in public life are floundering.

"The Church of England finds itself numerically, culturally and above all theologically and spiritually extremely weak and caught between the pincer of an aggressive secularism on one side and a growing Islam on the other side and fading away into relative irrelevance."

Guinness believes the 1791 American Settlement and the First Amendment flourish because of disestablishment not despite it. "But Americans can't congratulate themselves because the last 50 years have seen an increasing deterioration in that settlement so today it's unrecognizable."

Guinness said he, along with many admirers of this country, would agree with James Madison that the American settlement was the "true remedy for religion in public life". But after 50 years of culture warring, from Madeline Murray O'Hair's early school prayer case right down to the recent controversies over contraception, that the American culture wars have made nonsense of the arrangement that the framers set up so powerfully."

The author of The American Hour said we are seeing the emergence of a very rudimentary, but very real, global "public square". "In the Age of the Internet, we're shifting from the physical (for the Greeks, the Agora; for the Romans, the Forum) to the metaphorical and now the virtual.

"If you think of the significance of the "fatw " against Salman Rushdie, or the responses to the Danish Cartoon Controversy , or to the Pope's speech at Regensburg you can see a very, very simple point - even when we are not speaking to the world. In the Age of the Internet, we can be heard by the world, and the world can organize its response."

Guinness observed that as a result we are seeing the beginnings of a very rudimentary global public square, which raises the issue of how do we live with our deep differences at a level we've never faced before in the humankind?

SOUL FREEDOM

"First, we need to be clear ourselves as to why 'soul-freedom' or freedom of thought and conscience is so vital. Both religion and religious liberty are under a dark cloud in educated circles today.

"The Framers rightly understood that religious liberty was logically and historically the First Liberty.

"We're told repeatedly that it's invidious to have a Hierarchy of Rights. And that's true. But the Framers understood well that each of the three core freedoms - Freedom of Conscience , Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Assembly were interlocking and inseparable. So the relationship between them - Soul Freedom, freedom of thought and conscience is the "First Liberty".

Freedom of Assembly assumes and requires Freedom of Speech, noted Guinness. "Equally, Freedom of Speech assumes and requires Freedom of Conscience. There is a huge difference between modern American Freedom of Choice where we are sovereign choosers and Freedom of Conscience where we are subjects because we are bound. Martin Luther said: 'I can do no other,. and therefore conscience is respected.

"We need to make that argument today at a time when people argue that 'religious liberty' is 'liberty of the religious'. Of the three basic core freedoms and rights, 'Soul-freedom' - freedom of thought and conscience -- is the first liberty.

"You can see in the recent discussion of contraception issues in the past few weeks. How many people, who are secular and liberal, simply were totally ignorant, not necessarily opposed, but completely ignorant of American history.

"Freedom of Worship is not the same as Freedom of Conscience. Any tyrant can recognize Freedom of Worship and you can practice Freedom of Worship in your heart in the worst cell that a tyrant can provide for you. 'Free exercise' is freedom but that is very different from freedom of worship. Freedom of Conscience underlies civil society.

The reason why it's important is that Christopher Hitchens, and his ilk tell us, '...that religion poisons everything.' But anyone who looks at it fairly, realizes that's simply not so.

"Many of the greatest contributions to human justice, in all sorts of areas, come from faith. When it is free to act into what we now call civil society. Everything shows that's when people are free to do that, that that flourishes above all. Religious freedom, rightly handled leads to social harmony."

Guinness, who was born in China of missionary parents, said the current president, Hu Jintao, often speaks fondly and ardently of what he calls "a harmonious society". "China has extraordinary diversity and extraordinary - relative - harmony. It's no big deal because that's just a silent argument for authoritarian coercion. In other words diversity plus coercion and you get harmony.

"The real challenge is to have diversity with liberty and still achieve harmony and of any great country, America has come closer to that than any nation in history.

"We need to make arguments for religious liberty in the public square and make Americans today re-appreciate what is fundamental to the history and to the genius of this country."

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND THE LAW

According to Guinness, one common mistake, and one can see this in Evangelical circles, is to fight the violations of religious liberty by law alone.

"If we go back to Cicero, or to Polybius, on down to modern discussion with Montesquieu, and certainly Alexis de Tocqueville there's a consensus that freedom is protected not only by the "structures of liberty" - such as the Constitution - but by the 'spirit of liberty' in the hearts of citizens.

"It is out of that that Tocqueville says that American freedom is not just protected by law but by, famously, the habits of the heart.

"American society was secularized in the 1920s. And ever since then there is a tendency to legalize things and to litigate things in that sense the law covers everything rather than ethics and so on."

Guinness said that while he was doing the Williamsburg Charter in the 1980's , the leaders of the ACLU said to him, "There is a simply reason why we will always win the culture wars - we have more lawyers than anyone else." They don't now. Their array of lawyers, their massive defense fund, their endless litigations are matched an equally strong array of lawyers, defense funds and litigations on the conservative side.

""Law" and the "rule of law" and "due process" are a vital protections of freedom, but not by themselves alone.

"And when we fight with everything to protect freedom with law alone we just increase the litigation, and the litigiousness, and law is simply too blunt an instrument - just look at the zigzagging in the Supreme Court in the last 50 years.

"Conservatives are making a very bad mistake thinking we have to fight everything through lawyers and litigation, and sadly, this mentality which the Christian Right started, unwittingly, is now spreading to various European countries and the same alarmism, fear mongering and litigation is entering the Christian spirit in Europe.

"Freedom is never protected by law alone. Law is precious; but you also, and always need, the habits of the heart."

INTERESTS VS. THE COMMON GOOD

A second common mistake is to fight for our interests and not the common good, says Guinness.

"We of all people as Christians should not do that. Our Lord is often described as "a man for others". The Church is often described as "the only club that's here for its non members of the club.

"And we know again and again, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, the problems that come when blessings are turned into us and restricted to those outside. And yet you can see persistently with the Religious Right, they have fought for their own interests and not for the common good.

"But religious liberty is a matter of mutuality and reciprocity. A right for one is a right for another and a responsibility for both. And a right for a Christian ... is a right for a Jew ... is a right for an atheist ... is a right for a Mormon or a Muslim or whatever. When the tiniest community is protected and the most unfashionable community knows they're protected then everyone's rights are protected.

"Merely to fight for our rights at the expense of others is an extremely fatal mistake Christians have made."

FREE SPEECH - GAYS & MUSLIMS

Guinness condemned what he called "phobiazation". "So I don't like your speech - so I describe you as suffering from one phobia or another - and I can silence you that way.

"Gays have picked this up and everyone who disagrees with is a 'homophobe'. Now the Muslims have picked this up and everyone who disagrees with them is an 'Islamophobe'. Sadly, some Christians have been tempted to say: 'Yes, with this culture war on Christians in this country and this general onslaught on Christians worldwide - which is true - we should play the so called "Christophobe" card."'

"That is absolutely disastrous. All it does is to silence the debate, especially for people like myself. We need to challenge the end result. It is highly illiberal even when it is done by liberals and they are playing into the hands of Muslims.

"Another common mistake is to seek to fight the negative only with the negative. Liberals concerned with sensitivity and with hate-speech now have to contend with Muslims who have come in wanting laws against defamation, insult, blasphemy, and apostasy. So liberals and Muslims have this curious alliance at various points but in ways they are now seeing become illiberal."

Sacred Public Square and the Naked Public Square

Guinness observed there are competing visions and modals for religion in public life. "Most of the debate in the world is a duel between two 'grand visions', sometimes called the 'Sacred Public Square' and the 'Naked Public Square'.

"The model of the sacred public square are those who believe that a particular religion should be preferred or established. Now, of course, you can have very mild versions of that. Probably the mildest is the one I mentioned - the Church of England. No one is likely to be burned at the stake by the Church of England. The Church of England couldn't agree on a "'truth' to be a standard for heresy. The Church of England is about as mild as you can get.

"At the other end, you have a very severe form of the sacred public square in Iran or Saudi Arabia, where we know the lack of liberty, religiously and otherwise, that you have in societies like that. We have a whole range, across the world of models of a sacred public square. But, clearly, if any one religion is preferred, let alone established and exclusive and monopolistic, all the others, are to some degree, second class and therefore their liberty may be called into question.

"In other words, at some point, that model becomes unjust and unworkable.

"The other extreme, and again we have a whole range of variations, is the 'naked public square' - probably what the ACLU would like and the Americans United would like - is a relatively mild version of it. It's positively genial and hospitable compared with the Chinese People's Republic.

"A whole range of models, and to put it mildly, again, in the diversity of today's world, those models inevitably will be unjust and unworkable because they don't do full justice to the diversity we have in the world.

"The way forward is what I call a 'Civil Public Square'. This is a vision of public life in which everyone of every faith is free to enter and engage public life on the basis of their faith - that's Freedom of Conscience and the free exercise within an agreed framework of what is just and free for everybody else, too. A right for one is a right for another and a responsibility for both."

CIVILITY

"Civility, itself, needs re-exploring today and revaluing. One misunderstanding of civility is that civility is niceness. A sort of Kumbaya hope. If we love people enough and talk to them nicely long enough, finally, we'll all agree. What nonsense.

"Civility is a classical virtue and a duty that is essential for a society with diversity that need to know how citizens get on with each other. And we need to recover that in a strong way today. It is not a matter of tea party manners, dinner etiquette, or niceness.

"The second misunderstanding, and this is far more important theologically, is the ideal that civility is a form of lowest common denominator - ecumenism. In other words, we each dilute our truths in order to find a common core of unity at which point we'll all agree."

Guinness observed that that was a recipe for faithlessness. "It is also a fruitless search, because the simple fact is that the level of our deepest assumptions - religious or ideological - our differences are ultimate and irreducible. And there is no common core.

"We need to combat the Hans K�ngs, ; the Karen Armstrongs, ; even though, I'm afraid, the Tony Blairs, and people like this who have seen the search for peace and unity at the expense of truth claims with this idea that we'll find the lowest common denominator."

"It's an agreement of what's just and fair - people of all faiths within which people are free to argue their position and trust that their positions will prevail.

"Those who would prevail must persuade. And you can see again a huge weakness among Evangelicals. We're good at protest, pronouncements, preaching, picketing ... all sorts of things. One of our great weaknesses today is public persuasion, which is assumed and required in a civil public square.

"Another misunderstanding of civility, and this is one shared not only by Christian fundamentalists but also by atheist fundamentalists - like Richard Dawkins - is that civility is a form of sloppy indifference to Truth.

"If you have read Dawkins, he is incredibly intolerant, and proud of it. As he says: "I don't just refuse to tolerate extremists, I don't tolerate modernists who tolerate extremists," and so on, and so on, and so on... because he wants to fight for his atheistic view of truth."

Guinness adds they are wrong in misunderstanding civility. The right to believe anything does not mean anything that anyone believes is right.

"The right to believe anything is 'freedom of conscience'. And we respect people's right - God respects people's right. If people choose eternity without Him, God doesn't rape their souls, to use Roger William's term.

"The right to believe anything is absolute, but that doesn't mean that anything they believe is right. Much of what people believe may be muddle-headed, socially disastrous, or profoundly morally evil, and we have the right and the responsibility to challenge them, and we hope to prevail over them in public debate, but only by using persuasion and not coercion."

DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

"The Universal Declaration is misused. Some people have made it the bible of an atheist concern for human rights. But at its best it has done a tremendous amount across the world and you can see the stages by which it has made that effect.

"Stage One is always declaration. The Universal Declaration, itself, has nothing binding in it at all. It is only a series of 30 ringing declarations of principle - nothing binding. It's a beacon.

"Stage Two is implementation. That came years later in many countries as adopted those principles and put them in their constitution or in their laws. But, even that itself, is not enough.

"Stage Three is the important one, which is the least followed, which is: education. Education is where from parents to children, and from professors to students these things become habits of the heart.

"Only when they are truly habits of the heart, they are in the spirit of the citizens, not just the structures of law, is freedom and justice really protected."

CIVIC EDUCATION

America has these ringing declarations - the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Where they have grown very weak is in the area of the third one: civic education, says Guinness.

"It used to be understood clearly, that in free societies everybody is born free but not everyone's equal to freedom. Not everyone is worthy of freedom. So they need to be 'educated for liberty'. It used to be called 'liberal education' but the 'L' word is under a cloud too in conservative circles.

"Liberal education or civic education associated with the full range of rights is not being followed through today. Not surprisingly, many of these profound rights are becoming distant and somewhat alien to Americans growing up.

"But we need declaration ... we need implementation ... and we need civic education to carry it down to the habits of the heart. And if this is true here, it is true all over the world."

Global Declaration of Freedom of Conscience

Guinness added that a Global Declaration of Freedom of Conscience might be published later this year. "If it is we should know that any declaration of freedom of conscience just by itself will do nothing unless it is followed up by implementation then finally followed up with civic education so that it comes down to kids and passes from generation to generation.

"I do not believe there is any one-size-fits-all solution. Every country in the world is different; it has its own history, its own cultural values.

"My own suggestion is that countries, for all their differences - the differences shaped by history and other things - should be challenged to expand the sphere within their settlement in which the three core freedoms, of conscience , of speech, and of assembly are expanded and expanded for people of all faiths and no faith."

END

------------------------------

Message: 5
Date: 2 Mar 2012 13:58:45 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: SCREWTAPE PROPOSES AN EPISCOPAL TOAST (19)
Message-ID: <201203021858...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


SCREWTAPE PROPOSES AN EPISCOPAL TOAST (19)
With Apologies to C.S. Lewis

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
February 24, 2012

My dear Wormwood,

What an absolute stroke of genius. You managed to turn that DEPO business on its head and use it to our benefit. Totally brilliant, my dear Wormword. Orthodox Episcopalians had hoped that they could use Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight to get out from under liberal and revisionist bishops. You have turned it round making it possible for liberal priests and parishes in the Diocese of Albany to get out from under that dreadful Love fellow and his evangelical catholic orthodoxy and freely join an arch-liberal bishop like Gladstone Adams, without doubt one of the worst in The Episcopal Church and a bishop much to our liking.

He once gave a pass to a pedophile priest who later got caught and jailed. He then gave himself a pass for covering it up and managed to destroy an orthodox Episcopal priest in the process. This man is totally with us. You need to encourage more like him. Keep infiltrating the remaining handful of orthodox dioceses and undermine them. We think you should turn your considerable skills on the Diocese of South Carolina. See if you can wreck more havoc there. To date, Bishop Mark Lawrence has managed to stick it to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori keeping her hands off properties as well as Lawrence. It is very important that you whip her into a frenzy about this, once again, and make her feel unloved and rejected. You could even foment some discord among the Forum crowd.

It seems that Mrs. Jefferts Schori has outed herself quite openly by abandoning traditional sexual morality and dumping Jewish law (which she misinterprets). Excellent. Instead, she wants a new world order where traditional Christian understandings of morality are abandoned. This is such sweet music to our ears, Wormwood.

This pseudo morality of hers must be played up and disseminated as widely as possible. The Africans won't buy it, but there are some decidedly weak Anglican links in Asia and Latin America that she can exploit and we along with her.

Sex is such a malleable and pliable behavior and so self-justifying. The Council of Hades drank a toast to her continuing push for immorality and making it acceptable to the masses, especially to Episcopalians. That she writes this with an eye to justifying the current situation by destroying traditional understandings of sexuality found in the Hebrew law and giving favor to TEC's acceptance of post-modern sexual norms is precisely the kind of undermining of the church's very moral foundations that we want her to embrace and promulgate.

We notice that her train of thought is seeping quite nicely into all the mainline Protestant denominations. Add a little pop psychology, "me too" triumphalism, (a speech or two from Gene Robinson whining about the need for homosexual acceptance) some "feel your pain" emotionalism, a dose of victimhood add a little neutered theology to the mix and, hey, presto, we have them all in the bag.

We especially like that line in her book "God is at work in all this 'inappropriate sexual behavior.'" I doubt our father could have come up with a better line. He was actually heard chortling so loudly when he read this that many feared he had lost his mind. Fortunately, that's not possible. His deviant mind grows better with time.

Jefferts Schori calls prostitution a creative survival. Her motto seems to be "Do what it takes," and don't judge with critical and simplistic standards, i.e. the Jewish law. In making such pronouncements, she has dismissed the entire Christian heritage as well as the Jewish law and the prophets. This is stunning Wormwood, you need to make sure the other mainline denominations buy this hook, line and sinker. Add the word "fundamentalist" to anyone who believes in straitjacket thinking and the whole Western Protestant church is ours.

In time, she will dismiss the Ten Commandments as she has the much bally-hoed Covenant that she said is past its shelf life. Her theology creates a life void of hope and redemption that is much to be desired. MAKE sure such voids are filled with pleasure, endless hours of texting, e-mailing, iPodding, pornography and much more. Never allow a vacuum, Wormwood. It is in moments like these that people start thinking and we certainly do not want that to happen. (We were alarmed to read that Richard Dawkins, in a debate with Rowan Williams, opened the possibility that God might exist and has moved from his outright atheism to agnosticism. This is terribly dangerous, Wormwood. It is a short hop from there to theism and true belief. THAT would be a total disaster.)

This is precisely the kind of false hermeneutic that we like. At the end of the day, Jefferts Schori has undermined the very morality she has sworn to uphold. What we are observing is the nation's most prominent religious institutions and a number of its political leaders accompanying her in this.

We are now seeing moral relativity being carried over into the political sphere in spades. We have politicians screaming that they don't want government peering into the bedrooms of the nation, but support the government to fund contraceptive devices, birth control pills, free abortion, and drugs to fight HIV/AIDS without anyone daring to call into question the sexual behaviors that cause all this disease and death. That Santorum fellow is positively dangerous. Get those politicians back on track talking money, jobs and the economy. We don't want them to think they are being endangered by practices that can destroy their very souls.

Make sure Jefferts Schori continues to tear down all boundaries and Biblical understandings of sexual morality that leads her church and all humanity into a nightmare of confusion and chaos. Her own church's endorsement of LGBTQI is increasingly destructive of traditional standards for sexual behavior. Under no circumstances must she actually SEE women and men involved in the sex industry and how it degrades women for men's pleasure. Let her feel liberated from all sexual restraints and keep further distancing herself and her church's real teachings from the liberation and redemption offered by Him.

On no account must she speak of a Savior who longs to redeem their lives. Blending together the identity of homosexual and lesbian priests with female priests is an added epistemological and moral stereotyping that should be exploited to the hilt.

The other thing we notice with much glee is that she is seeking to change the Episcopal Church into multi-faith centers practicing blended spiritualities. Wormwood, you need to keep pushing the Washington National Cathedral as the locus of the new World Spiritual Order. That Bishop Budde woman is hopelessly lost. Make sure she keeps wandering endlessly and hopelessly in the desert of her own labyrinth till her head falls off.

Above all, Wormwood, keep alive the notion that God is infinitely tolerant and given to sudden changes of mind - a divinity that is endlessly pliable and will keep up with the multiple moral changes of Jefferts Schori and TEC's House of Bishops.

It was Victor Hugo who once famously said, "When God desires to destroy a thing, he entrusts its destruction to the thing itself. Every bad institution of this world ends by suicide."

The Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop is heading with gadarene speed toward the cliff's edge. See that she encounters no impediments, Wormwood. We want them all to go down together.

END

------------------------------

Message: 6
Date: 2 Mar 2012 13:59:46 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: NEW YORK:General Theological Seminary set to sell Tutu Center
to Investor
Message-ID: <201203021859...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


NEW YORK: Still strapped, General Theological Seminary set to sell Tutu Center to Investor Brodsky

BY WINNIE McCROY for chelseanow.com
http://www.chelseanow.com/
February 24, 2012

Chelsea residents are saddened, but not surprised, by the recent discovery that the real estate developer and investor Daniel Brodsky and the Brodsky Organization is in negotiations to buy the Desmond Tutu Center, a conference center and hotel owned by the General Theological Seminary (GTS).

"We are still in negotiations, so my hands are tied as far as commenting on that," said Bruce Parker, the GTS's associate vice president for external relations in a February 20 phone call. Representatives at the Brodsky Organization also declined to comment on the sale, but public records indicate that, although no deed transfer has been recorded, Brodsky has already obtained an easement and development rights at the site.

But neighbors admitted that the sale did not come as a surprise. The 50,000 square feet center features two large conference rooms and 60 hotel rooms, and is valued at $30 million. And despite a 2005 agreement with the city that the rooms would be open only to those affiliated with the GTS, local residents have complained for years that the Tutu Center has operated as a hotel.

The Desmond Tutu Center is comprised of three adjacent, red-brick, neo-gothic properties at 180 Tenth Avenue between 20th and 21st Streets that were joined to created a larger facility. Like other properties in the Seminary's "Close" (or campus), the Center contains many religious architectural features - including ornate embellishments and stained glass windows.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission protects all of the buildings, but that will likely not hamper Brodsky's plans. While there is no indication at this time as to what the Brodsky Organization will do with the property, they will likely go the same route as with the other properties recently purchased from GTS. Currently being converted to condos are 422 West 20th Street; The West Building; and 445 West 20th Street, which recently sold for $18.5 million.

The Brodsky Organization is also set to break ground on an eight-story luxury condominium building at the current site of the GTS tennis courts, adjacent to the West Building.

The sell-off is all part of the GTS's "Plan to Choose Life," a three-step plan to liquidate real estate in order to eliminate $40 million in debt, rebuild their endowment and balance their budget, all with the goal of strengthening their core mission, "to educate and form leaders for the church in a changing world."

"The bottom line is the seminary is broke, broken and bankrupt," said GTS Interim President Rev. Lang Lowrey at a December 2010 press conference. "We turned first to , but no one was willing to write a $41 million check. And our $1 million in philanthropic giving was not enough."

Lowrey had said that the GTS would retain a "buy-back option" on all of the sales with the hope that in the future, they would ultimately buy back the property for GTS use.

"We treasure our mission of preparing leaders for the world, and we want to save Chelsea Square. But we need a balanced budget," said Lowrey at the time. "We had to turn to a trusted partner...and that person was Dan Brodksy."

Locals not surprised by sale of GTS properties

Individual residents and members of local community groups alike are saddened, but not surprised, at the recent developments. Save Chelsea Co-Presidents Lesley Doyel and Justin Hoy said that the GTS's recent financial difficulties had led the Chelsea community to witness the sale of no less than four historic Seminary buildings since 2005, altering the landmarked campus often referred to as "the jewel of the Chelsea Historic District."

"Following the first of these sales, the community waged a battle to preserve the height limits fortuitously set by the Chelsea Plan, so that, in the end, what is now the Chelsea Enclave is seven, instead of the proposed 17 stories. Save Chelsea, as well as the larger Chelsea community, has hoped that the sale of these properties would return this venerable institution to solvency, and allow it to thrive in the years to come," said Doyel.

The GTS had hoped to eliminate their debt and restore the school's endowment through the $60 million sale of buildings referred to as 2, 3 and 4 Chelsea Square to the Brodsky Organization to convert into luxury condominiums. They also planned to sell the Chelsea Enclave fee simple (the grounds), the large apartment building at 422 West 20th Street, and the West Building, the oldest historic building on the Seminary's campus.

At the time, the Seminary said the sale would preserve the GTS's classic E-shaped quadrangle known as the "Close," as well as the historic buildings fronting West 21st Street. Lowry noted that the Brodsky's Organizations planned renovations of the West Building would likely save the decrepit, aging structure from collapse.

"Half our problems are solved when we sell this property," said Lowrey in November 2010, noting even then that the second half of the plan called for the sale of a stake in the Desmond Tutu Center, a large conference and hotel site, to the Episcopal Church, with $20 million to go to the endowment. Apparently, planned negotiations with the Episcopal Church did not pan out, and Brodsky stepped in.

"Save Chelsea is saddened, but not surprised, to learn about the anticipated sale of yet another Seminary building along the expanse of Tenth Avenue that presently houses the Tutu Center and Hotel," said Doyel. "This, like the other buildings, will become the property of the Brodsky Organization. While we hope that this sale will, at last, effectively reverse the Seminary's financial hardship, we are compelled to mention that this is the inevitable outcome of poor leadership and hubris practiced by the institution's prior administration."

Doyel blamed the reckless financial decisions undertaken by former GTS leadership for sending the institution into a downward financial spiral that could only be countered by drastic measures.

"Now, even the Tutu Hotel, which ultimately integrated well into the life and character of the neighborhood, is to become another Brodsky acquisition. It is truly sad that these wonderful and historic buildings will, for the first time, no longer be part of the very institution that created them," said Doyel.

And individual Chelsea residents are also feeling the impact of the changes. Dave Hall said that part of the reason he and his partner moved to the neighborhood was because of the Seminary.

"We moved to a place where there was a historic district just north of us, and we believed that the Seminary being there would preserve the entire block from development," said Hall. "Unfortunately, that's not the case. The Brodsky Corporation is putting in multi-million dollar condos, but are not really working with the neighborhood to preserve the land there."

While Hall understands that the GTS needs to make money through this development, he is not pleased that the construction plans appear to include tearing down several hundred-year-old trees located on the Close. Brodsky could not be reached for comment on this issue.

"I noticed that they currently have the perimeter set for construction, and there are two or three hundred-year-old trees within that, which are not going to make it," said Hall. "Even when they built the Enclaves building at Ninth Avenue and 21st Street, there were some old oak trees that didn't survive. It's really sad that the open space on the block is not going to be there anymore. This neighborhood is becoming something that is just not what we thought we were moving into."

END

------------------------------

Message: 7
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:00:46 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: VIRGINIA:Judge Orders Historic Falls Church Keys, $ to
Episcopalians By April 30
Message-ID: <201203021900...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


VIRGINIA: Judge Orders Historic Falls Church Keys, $ to Episcopalians By April 30
Breakaway CANA Group May Seek to Rent Temporarily

By Nicholas F. Benton
Falls Church News-Press
http://www.fcnp.com/news/11276-judge-orders-historic-falls-church-keys-to-episcopals-by-april-30.html#ixzz1ns0TKqtG
February 29, 2012

Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled yesterday that the transfer of all property, physical and other assets, of the Historic Falls Church in the downtown City of Falls Church shall be transferred away from control of the breakaway Anglican congregation to the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia by an April 30, 2012 deadline. The judge is slated to sign his final order today at 2 p.m.

The Diocese had sought a March 30 deadline, but Bellows agreed to comply with the request of attorneys for the breakaway "Convocation of Anglicans in North America" (CANA) group for a bit more time.

Judge Bellows ruled that all personal property -- including all furnishings, chalices, prayer books, portraits, historic documents and crosses and funds -- shall also be conveyed to the Diocese, and that they be calculated based on what was held as of January 31, 2007, the date the Diocese formally filed for legal action to recover its property.

As for the funds, it is estimated that $7 million is involved, with all of it to go to the Diocese except for what might be construed as money raised by the CANA group for its own specific missionary deployment. Resolution of some of monetary matters, therefore, such as money raised for a Southgate Fund to build an auxiliary building, could await a March 30 deadline set by Bellows.

Yesterday's ruling was the latest step toward closure of the crisis that ripped the historic church asunder at the end of 2006. Rector John Yates urged the congregation at that time to vote itself out of the Episcopal denomination, in part to protest the national Episcopal Church's election of an openly-gay priest, the Rev. Gene Robinson, to standing as a bishop, and a significant majority of his flock did so.

The breakaway group continued to occupy the physical church campus and deploy its assets, even while scores of members who did not agree to the split were welcomed to a worship space across the street, at the Falls Church Presbyterian Church. There, they continued their identification with the Episcopal Church and to develop a formal church structure of their own.

Reports were that the breakaway group was inhospitable toward the "continuing Episcopalians," denying them access to or use to the historic campus while the Richmond-based Episcopal Diocese of Virginia began to seek a legal remedy.

Five long years of legal challenges finally resulting in a watershed ruling by Judge Bellows on January 10, 2012 that the historic Falls Church property - and those of six other Episcopal Churches in Virginia - is owned by the Diocese and not the breakaway congregants.

At that time he indicated that motions to implement his ruling would need to be received by yesterday. The Diocese and the CANA group both responded, and Judge Bellows told the court yesterday morning that he would not take them for review, but would spell out his orders right away.

News-Press sources indicate that the CANA group has seen the "handwriting on the wall" for many months, following the ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court that disallowed the use of an archaic 1860s post-Civil War Virginia statute that had been the legal grounds for Judge Bellows' original decision going their way. Without that law, the ability to establish any entity other than the Diocese as the rightful owner of the property vanished.

In recent months, the CANA leadership began a search for alternative spaces to carry on its ministry, with the result that apparently it will break up its efforts into a variety of different locations.

However, attendance at Sunday worship services has been too large to easily relocate, and the CANA leadership has expressed an interest in renting use of the main sanctuary at the historic campus, at least temporarily.

The News-Press has learned that the idea is being considered by the Diocese on a contingency basis. The Diocese has made it clear it wants to pursue a conciliatory approach to the final resolution of the matter.

Nonetheless, Virginia Diocese Chief of Staff Henry D. W. Burt made it clear to the News-Press in remarks last night that no one is at liberty to discuss any such negotiations at this time. He did say that it appears efforts to keep the day care program currently operating at the historic campus in place going forward.

Burt is originally from Falls Church, himself, and was an acolyte while his parents, Harry and Eleanor, served on the vestry of the historic church before moving to Richmond. He told the News-Press last night, "We are pleased at today's outcome. It is a major development to return Episcopalians to their property and the property to the mission of the church."

While Virginia Episcopal Bishop Shannon Johnston called the Jan. 10 ruling by Judge Bellows "one of the most defining moments in all of our 400 year history" in remarks to the Virginia Diocese Council Jan. 27.

He set up an institutional entity called "Dayspring" to assist the transition of the historical Falls Church property, and those of the six other impacted churches in Virgniia, saying "No community of faith, no ministry program will be summarily thrown out of its current place. We will be as open as possible to creative agreements, generous provision, and true mutuality."

However, a News-Press source indicated that any arrangements for the CANA group to remain at the historic campus would only be temporary.

In the scores of the articles in the News-Press on the subject of the dispute, and others that preceded it in the Yates-led Falls Church's contentious dealings with its neighbors for more than a decade, one comment posted on the News-Press web site was simple, straight-forward and summed it all up:

"Rocky Missouri" wrote, "All of this because of bigotry toward a homosexual...? Time is wasted upon hating, and hatred...and methinks the beauty of Jesus is that we are all capable of love and acceptance, and this is the lesson being taught now."

END

------------------------------

Message: 8
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:01:46 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Why it would be wrong to legalise gay marriage, by the
Archbishop of Canterbury
Message-ID: <201203021901...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


Why it would be wrong to legalise gay marriage, by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop also says wrong to legalise assisted dying because of threat to the vulnerable
Dr. Rowan Williams told MPs that C of E churches would never be used to solemnise gay marriages

By Steve Doughty
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2107971/Why-wrong-legalise-gay-marriage-Archbishop-Canterbury.html
February 29, 2012

Opposition: Rowan Williams said a new marriage law for gay couples would amount to forcing unwanted change on the rest of the nation

The law has no right to legalise same-sex marriage, the Archbishop of Canterbury declared yesterday.

Dr Rowan Williams said a new marriage law for gay couples would amount to forcing unwanted change on the rest of the nation.

He also said it would be wrong to legalise assisted dying because of the threat it would pose to the vulnerable and because it would go against the beliefs of most people.

In a key speech on human rights, the head of the Anglican Church put his weight behind other leading clergy who have launched a powerful campaign to prevent David Cameron from going ahead with his plan to allow the full rights of marriage to same-sex couples.

Dr Williams's predecessor in Lambeth Palace, Lord Carey, notably told the Mail last week that same-sex marriage laws would be 'one of the greatest political power grabs in history'.

Dr Williams's statement means the Prime Minister now knows he will face opposition from the liberal-minded leadership of the Church of England - as well as its determined traditionalists - if he continues on the track towards legalised gay marriage. The Archbishop said human rights law 'falls short of a legal charter to promote change in institutions'.

Dr Williams added: 'If it is said that a failure to legalise assisted suicide - or same-sex marriage - perpetuates stigma or marginalisation for some people, the reply must be, I believe, that issues like stigma and marginalisation have to be addressed at the level of culture rather than law.'

The Archbishop indicated to MPs earlier this week that CofE churches would never be used to solemnise gay marriages and Anglican officials underlined that the Church says marriage must remain a union between a man and a woman.

Dr Williams's intervention in the argument yesterday, in a speech to a World Council of Churches gathering in Geneva, echoed, in typically mild academic language, the sentiments expressed by Lord Carey.

The Archbishop has long been a personal supporter of gay rights and his lecture yesterday insisted Christians must accept that gay equality laws are here to stay.

But he has also listened to the concerns of traditional Christian believers since he began his career at Lambeth Palace in 2003 by refusing to allow an openly gay cleric to take a post as a CofE bishop.

His remarks yesterday came after Coalition ministers insisted they would go ahead with a same-sex marriage law whatever the churches say.

Equality minister Lynne Featherstone said last week the churches did not own marriage law. She added a same-sex marriage law would be 'about the underlying principles of family, society and personal freedoms'.

Mr Cameron declared for same-sex marriage last autumn, saying: 'Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.

'I don't support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.'

A consultation document on how a gay marriage law would work is due out shortly.

Dr Williams said in his speech that same-sex marriage law was wrong because it tried to impose cultural change.

He added human rights language could be 'confused and artificial' when it strayed from protecting the vulnerable. It could become 'an alien culture, pressing the imperatives of universal equality over all local custom and affinity'.

END

------------------------------

Message: 9
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:02:46 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: UK: The Women Who Oppose Female Bishops
Message-ID: <201203021902...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


UK: The Women Who Oppose Female Bishops
Among those who are still unhappy with the idea of women at top of the Anglican church are a number who are women themselves. What's their case?

By Riazat Butt
THE GUARDIAN
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/27/women-oppose-women-bishops
February 27,2012

Emma Forward: 'We represent thousands in the Church across the country'.

The Church of England is, in its own confounding and impenetrable way, preparing to welcome women as bishops. At the meeting of its general assembly earlier this month there was much debate about what should be done for Anglicans who do not accept female clergy ahead of a vote this summer. Among these traditionalists are several women.

One of them is Emma Forward, a teacher in her 20s who was elected to the Church of England's lawmaking body at 21, making her the youngest of its 485 members. One of almost 9,000 women who signed a petition in 2008 objecting to the ordination of women as bishops, she says many other female members of Synod share her views.

"We represent thousands in the Church across the country. I think that women who oppose haven't been in the spotlight as we are from ordinary walks of life who aren't known to the media. Perhaps some press coverage finds it easier to portray this as a male versus female issue, and we complicate the issue for those who only see it in those terms."

Traditionalists such as Forward want to serve under a male bishop because they believe the Church of England has no right to introduce women bishops. They may not have a majority, certainly not expected to be enough to stop the legislation to allow women bishops getting final approval in July, but they cite Jesus's choice of only male apostles and the fact that other, major Christian denominations have not introduced female clergy as evidence to support their beliefs.

It is perhaps unthinkable that women should oppose the progress, or even presence, of women in any walk of life. "It always makes my heart sink when a woman speaks out against women bishops," says Christina Rees, a forthright and formidable Anglican who has been campaigning for equality in the Church of England since the 1980s. "The impression I often have of these women is that they are highly intelligent and in positions of authority in their own profession. A lot of them show signs of leadership but it feels wrong to them to have female priests. If they had been formed in a different church tradition they themselves would be ordained or they would be in a position of leadership in their own church."

Anglican opponents have had to come to terms with the fact that there have been female clergy in the Church of England since 1992. It is the leadership they opposed and several such as Forward are trying to obtain alternative male-only structures that will "protect" them from women bishops.

"I have come to terms with the fact that there are women priests in the Church of England," says Forward. "I've grown up with that. As an adult looking at the issue of ordained women I came at it with no preconceptions. You'd imagine I'd come from an extreme family or some kind of odd sect, it's simply not the case."

When asked if she thinks she is sexist, she replies: "I don't think I can be. To use terms like sexist or misogynist is reducing a complex theological matter to terms of hatred and negative feelings."

While Forward has chosen, as a parishioner, to avoid female clergy it is is difficult for her to avoid them altogether. At Synod, whether in London or York, what happens when their paths cross, during tea breaks and toilet breaks, for instance? "We'll meet and we'll talk as women do, woman to woman ... about tights. I feel there are some women priests whom I've really admired and find them really generous in the kind of friendship they've offered. Neither of us know necessarily what to say."

Christina, for all her years of campaigning on the issue, doesn't think women who oppose women are sexist either. "I think their understanding of theology is flawed. I think it's too simplistic to call them sexist. They are not misogynist, they do not despise women. I try to address their views and leave their gender out of it. Otherwise you subject them to greater scrutiny than you would a man."

Another woman who believes in the stained-glass ceiling is Lindsay Newcombe, a 30-year-old technical specialist in orthopaedics for the British Standards Institute. The mother of one, who has a PhD in mechanical engineering, says the Church of England was wrong to begin ordaining women.

"The C of E does not have the authority to make that change, the C of E is just one small part of the worldwide church. If this was the will of God, the rest of the church would have to have agreed and gone ahead together."

"A priest represents people to God, he also represents God to the people and a male priesthood is a gift that helps us to understand God. Having a woman in that role makes it just that little bit harder to have that relationship."

She compares the situation to having a woman playing a man's role on stage. "They have to work that bit harder to be convincing."

Newcombe knows her views will perplex, maybe anger, some people. "On the face of it my views are counter-cultural to the spirit of our time and equal opportunity and equality. I believe men and women should have the same opportunities in life. But this is a church matter. Opposition to women in the priesthood used to be the majority view. I don't think we're such a small minority. It is a normal traditional Anglican belief to hold. Why is it that something that wasn't true 50 years ago is true now?"

END

------------------------------

Message: 10
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:03:47 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Britain failing to stand up for Christians, say MPs
Message-ID: <201203021903...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


Britain failing to stand up for Christians, say MPs
Britain is failing to protect the rights of Christians to follow their faith, a committee of MPs and peers has concluded.

Gary McFarlane, a relationship counsellor sacked by Relate, the counselling service, for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND

By Edward Malnick
The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/
February 26, 2012

A report from a cross-party parliamentary group will this week warn that there is a widespread lack of "religious literacy" among the country's judges, politicians and officials.

It also claims that the rights of homosexuals take precedence over those of Christians.

The study, by the Christians in Parliament group, follows a series of rulings by judges against Christians who had claimed that following their faith brought them into conflict with the law or with their employer.

In the most recent, Celestina Mba, a devout Christian who claims she was forced from her job as a carer for disabled children because she refused to work on Sundays, last week lost her case against Merton council, her former employers, at an industrial tribunal.

During a six-month inquiry, the group analysed 32 other instances, mostly employment tribunals and court cases, where Christians claimed they had received unfair treatment under the law, and took evidence from more than 30 Christian organisations. The cases investigated include:

* Gary McFarlane, a relationship counsellor sacked by Relate, the counselling service, for refusing to give sex therapy to gay couples.

* Nadia Eweida, who was sent home from her job as a British Airways check-in clerk for wearing a small silver cross.

* Lillian Ladele, a former registrar who was disciplined by Islington council in north London after objecting to conducting homosexual civil partnership ceremonies.

* Shirley Chaplin, a former nurse from Exeter, who was barred from her job in a hospital for wearing a cross.

* Peter and Hazelmary Bull, guesthouse owners from Marazion, Cornwall, who refused to allow a gay couple to stay in a double room.

The inquiry found that equalities legislation introduced under the last Labour government had set the rights of different groups in competition with each other, with those of Christians relegated below those of others.

The report, entitled Clearing the Ground, states: "Critically, early indications from court judgments are that sexual orientation takes precedence and religious belief is required to adapt in the light of this. We see this as an unacceptable and unsustainable situation."

Highlighting the lack of "religious literacy" among officials, politicians and judges, the report says: "We have found that many of the issues raised in the inquiry stem from a deep-seated and widespread lack of understanding about the nature and outworking of religious belief.

"This ignorance works itself out in the way that laws are drafted, the judgments courts issue and the policies adopted by government departments and local authorities."

The report, which is due to be published on Monday, identifies an "urgent need" for better co-ordination across Whitehall of government policies on religious belief.

It is particularly critical of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the government's anti-discrimination watchdog.

It heard submissions saying that the EHRC had been "hijacked" by secularists to the extent that it was now "ideologically biased" against religion.

It condemns the commission for inviting secular humanists groups with "tiny" memberships to discussions intended for faith groups, saying the policy effectively shut down formal consultations with religious organisations.

"With secularists using a veto to block most proposals by religious groups, the EHRC group eventually ceased to function formally."

Aughton Ainsworth, a firm of solicitors involved with a number of the cases cited by the report, told the inquiry: "The EHRC has been so thoroughly 'infiltrated' by an anti-Christian bias that even when the EHRC tries to do the right thing it is 'hijacked' and forced to backtrack".

The report calls for the body, headed by Trevor Phillips, to be restructured to better represent religious beliefs. The authors of the report say they invited the EHRC to contribute to the inquiry but its representatives were "unable to find the time" to attend their evidence-taking sessions.

Writing for the Telegraph website this weekend, Mr Streeter and Jim Dobbin, a Labour backbencher, call on the Government to consider requiring judges to weigh up whether employers have taken "reasonable" steps to accommodate the religious beliefs of workers. The MPs say new guidelines could help balance "competing" rights.

"In previous eras this might have been called tolerance or respect, or simply common sense.

"This is already a legal concept in some areas, and would help balance competing rights claims. Importantly, it would also see that religious liberty and identity is preserved by accommodating those who by their deeply held beliefs would prefer not to provide them certain good and services."

A spokesperson for the EHRC insisted the watchdog stood up for religion, adding that it was working on a range of projects related to the rights of people with religious beliefs.

She said: "The Commission is committed to protecting the rights of all groups in society, including those with religious beliefs.

"The Commission warmly welcomes this inquiry into the discrimination faced by Christians.

"We believe it is important for the government and others to have a full understanding of religious rights, and balance the rights of different groups within society."

END

------------------------------

Message: 11
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:04:47 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Women Bishops Legislation draws Statement from Forward in
Faith Chairman
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Women Bishops Legislation draws Statement from Forward in Faith Chairman

Feb 25, 2012

It seemed right to leave a pause for reflection after the meeting of the General Synod in February, which devoted much time to further consideration of the draft legislation on women bishops.

We are hugely grateful to the Venerable Cherry Vann, Archdeacon of Rochdale, for introducing the Diocesan Synod Motion on behalf of the Diocese of Manchester, and for the gracious and generous way in which she did so. This motion invited the House of Bishops to consider amending the legislation, in order to introduce provisions for those unable to accept the ordination of women to the episcopate along the lines of those contained in the amendment proposed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, which was very narrowly defeated in July 2010.

While the Manchester motion was not passed in the form proposed, the debate was a helpful one. Many members of Synod, including those from the Catholic Group, but by no means only them, spoke eloquently and forcefully in favour of arrangements whereby those unable to accept women in the episcopate, on theological grounds, would be able to continue in the Church of England with integrity and a real opportunity to flourish. It was enormously encouraging to hear the speeches of younger lay people, women and men, and younger priests, putting our case.

It was encouraging, too, that a third of the House of Clergy and well over 40% of the House of Laity voted against any amendment to the Manchester motion, indicating significant dissatisfaction with the legislation in its present form. In the House of Bishops, 16 bishops voted against amending the Manchester motion, among them the Archbishop of York, the Bishops of London and Durham, and a number of other senior diocesan bishops. A further 5 members of the House of Bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Winchester, abstained.

The motion which was passed in its final form still gives the House of Bishops room to take a fresh look at the legislation; and, of course, it remains true that the House of Bishops has the discretion to amend the legislation in any way its sees fit, irrespective of the voting on this particular motion in the General Synod.

We shall be praying hard now for fresh wisdom at the meeting of the House of Bishops in May, and for a willingness to listen to those many voices in Synod which urged that, for the sake of the Church of England as a whole, and her unity and mission, a way forward may be found to enable supporters of women in the episcopate and those who cannot assent to the development to move forward together. We are not there yet. Forward in Faith continues to stand ready to help in any way, that such a solution may indeed be found.

X Jonathan Ebbsfleet, Chairman
First Sunday in Lent, 2012

------------------------------

Message: 12
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:05:47 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Human Rights and Religious Faith - Rowan Williams
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Human Rights and Religious Faith

By Dr. Rowan Williams
February 28, 2012

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights has made a profound impact in fighting injustice and is "a landmark in the history of moral consciousness", says the Archbishop of Canterbury in a lecture on Human Rights and Religious Faith at the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.

However, Dr Williams also notes current tensions around the discourses of rights, faith and culture. He observes that there has been a more recent trend to develop Human Rights as a purely universal legal code around the entitlements claimed by individuals and in this lecture he offers an alternative approach that takes into account the cultural and the community aspects of human interaction - which is an integral part of religious belief:

"I want to suggest some ways in which we might reconnect thinking about human rights and religious conviction - more specifically, Christian convictions about human dignity and human relatedness, how we belong together. Similar points may emerge from other kinds of religious belief. I believe this reconnection can be done by trying to understand rights against a background not of individual claims but of the question of what is involved in mutual recognition between human beings. I believe that rights are a crucial way of working out what it is for people to belong together in a society. The language gets difficult only when it is divorced from that awareness of belonging and reciprocity. This is not just to make the obvious (and slightly tired) point about rights and responsibilities. It is to see the world of 'rights' as anchored in habits of empathy and identification with the other.

Religion, he says, contributes a doctrinal core to the underlying principles of universality and freedom. Whilst religion could not claim a monopoly on a universal understanding of human nature, it could articulate precisely why human rights were universal; that the nature of humanity created in God's image requires both equality and an abstracted view of rights, independent of political and social systems:

"that this language takes for granted that there are some things that remain true about the nature or character of human beings whatever particular circumstances prevail and whatever any specific political settlement may claim. While this is not - as a matter of fact - a set of convictions held uniquely by religious people, religious people will argue that they alone have a secure 'doctrinal' basis for believing it, because they hold that every human subject is related to God independently of their relation to other subjects or to earthly political and social systems. ....take away this moral underpinning, and language about human rights can become either a purely aspirational matter or something that is simply prescribed by authority. If it is the former, it is hard to see why legal systems should be expected to enshrine such recognitions. If it is the latter, its force depends on the will of some actual legal authority to enforce it; the legitimacy of such an authority would have to be established; and there would be no inbuilt guarantee that the unconditionality of the rights in question would always be honoured.

While recognizing current tensions, Dr Williams points to examples where the religious language of human dignity has deepened commitment to defend human rights. This, he says, can be illustrated from recent history:

"It is not an academic point: in the last century, the Church in South Africa or the Democratic Republic of Germany - to take just two examples - was perhaps the most significant context in which universal, non-negotiable human dignity could be affirmed and defended. ... For rights language to lose the link with religious language and institutions would be for it to lose something historically crucial.

Dr Williams goes on to outline how law should not be seen as conferring abstract legal entitlements, divorced from any idea about human interrelatedness:

"Law does not offer a comprehensive definition of the answers to such claims but establishes a process for scrutinising them and a way of ending debates by way of public decisions announced by recognized authorities. In this sense, law is bound to be 'reactive': what people think about themselves changes, what they think is possible changes, and the law has to assess whether any particular fresh claim that protection is inadequate is a reasonable one. And this is triggered by the kind of public argument that - if we look at recent and not so recent history - leads to major shifts in what we think is necessary to overcome the exclusion of certain people from the society to which they think they belong.

He illustrates this with examples of the major changes that have occurred in recent times with the development of legal protection for various minority groups - whether religious, ethnic or sexual - from discrimination or persecution:

"The advance of legislation around the protection of ethnic minorities, not only from very specific kinds of practical discrimination but also from demeaning public speech, reflects such a reactive move: 'civic discourse and practice', the developing moral and imaginative awareness of a society, lead us to recognize that certain ways of speaking and behaving habitually restrict the possibilities of certain groups, implicitly as well as explicitly. Where it has been commonplace to use stereotypic words and images of others, we come to see that by using such words and pictures we are in effect treating some person or group as people we need not fully recognize as fellow-humans and fellow-citizens, people who do not belong in the same way that we do. And once that is acknowledged, the law properly steps in to do what it is there to do - secure recognition.

Ultimately, he says, human rights indicate a mutual recognition within communities which share a civic context:

"The fundamental point is not so much that every person has a specific set of positive claims to be enforced, but that persons and minority groups of persons need to be recognized as belonging to the same moral and civic world as the majority, whatever differences or disagreements there may be. And I want to argue that a proper consideration of human rights has a better chance of sustaining its case if it begins from the recognition of a common dignity or worthiness of respect among members of a community than if it assumes some comprehensive catalogue of claims that might be enforceable.

In his conclusion Dr Williams points to a crucial role that religion plays in the human rights debate - offering a vocabulary which finds an expression for a proper sense of outrage at the violation of human rights; that their denial and or breach touches on the blasphemous:

"It is this that religious doctrine offers to the institutions and dialects of 'human rights', and it is a vital contribution. It is essential that, in an age that is often simultaneously sentimental, utilitarian and impatient, we do not allow the language of rights to wander too far from its roots in an acknowledgement of the sacred.

*****

The full text of the Archbishop's lecture follows
Ecumenical Centre, Geneva - 28 February 2012

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is unquestionably a landmark in the history of moral consciousness, one of the factors that has consistently given hope and purpose to political life throughout the globe since it first saw the light of day in 1948. It has offered a global benchmark for identifying injustices to those who have never been able to make their voices heard.

And, for all the challenges which we shall come back to in a moment, it has been an energising force in the witness of more than one community of faith in their struggle against arbitrary oppression and for the protection of the vulnerable. Yet the language of human rights has - surprisingly - become more rather than less problematic in recent years. The 'human rights record' of certain states is - very understandably �deployed as a factor in calculating political and economic strategies of engagement; but this has its impact on any idea that the language of human rights is, so to speak, 'power neutral'. For some, it can reinforce the notion that this language is an ideological tool for one culture to use against another. We have heard over a good many years arguments about the 'inappropriateness' of human rights language in a context, say, of mass economic privation, where it is claimed that a focus on individual rights is a luxury, at least during the period when economic injustices are being rectified.

Both the old Soviet bloc and a number of regimes in developing nations have at times advanced this defence against accusations of overriding individual rights. But more recently, questions about human rights have begun to give anxiety to some religious communities who feel that alien cultural standards are somehow being imposed - particularly in regard to inherited views of marriage and family. And so we face the worrying prospect of a gap opening up between a discourse of rights increasingly conceived as a universal legal 'code' and the specific moral and religious intuitions of actual diverse communities.

In what follows, I want to suggest some ways in which we might reconnect thinking about human rights and religious conviction - more specifically, Christian convictions about human dignity and human relatedness, how we belong together. Similar points may of course emerge from other kinds of religious belief. I believe this reconnection can be done by trying to understand rights against a background not of individual claims but of the question of what is involved in mutual recognition between human beings.

I believe that rights are a crucial way of working out what it is for people to belong together in a society. The language gets difficult only when it is divorced from that awareness of belonging and reciprocity. This is not just to make the obvious (and slightly tired) point about rights and responsibilities. It is to see the world of 'rights' as anchored in habits of empathy and identification with the other. And I shall also argue that a proper understanding of law may help us here. Law, I believe, is not a comprehensive code that will define and enforce a set of universal claims; it is the way in which we codify what we think, at any given point, mutual recognition requires from us. It will therefore shift its focus from time to time and it cannot avoid choices about priorities.

To seek for legal recognition of any particular liberty as a 'human right' is not to try and construct a universal and exhaustive code but to challenge a society that apparently refuses full civic recognition to some of its members.

The 'Universal' aspect of rights, though, is a central element. What makes the gap between religion and the discourse of rights worrying is that the language of the Universal Declaration is unthinkable without the kind of moral universalism that religious ethics safeguards. The presupposition of the Declaration is that there is a level of respect owed to human beings irrespective of their nationality, status, gender, age or achievement. They have a status simply as members of the human race; so that this language takes for granted that there are some things that remain true about the nature or character of human beings whatever particular circumstances prevail and whatever any specific political settlement may claim. While this is not - as a matter of fact - a set of convictions held uniquely by religious people, religious people will argue that they alone have a secure 'doctrinal' basis for believing it, because they hold that every human subject is related to God independently of their relation to other subjects or to earthly political and social systems. Human beings are held to be created by God 'in the image and likeness of God', as the Jewish and Christian Scriptures insist; they are seen as having a responsibility to reflect in their lives the love, fidelity and justice of God - hence the Torah, the law in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the various concepts of mutual nourishment and support in Christian Scripture, such as the language of membership in a single organism.

>From one point of view, therefore, human rights has to do with the individual person, establishing the status of the person as something independent of any society; from another, it is a doctrine deeply opposed to 'individualism', since it locates this status of the person within a scheme that (logically) requires any person to acknowledge the same status in every other person, near or far, like or unlike. Every individual's account of their own needs or desires has to be thought about and negotiated in the context of this mutual recognition, this assumption of a basic empathy between persons living out the same human condition. Take away this moral underpinning, and language about human rights can become either a purely aspirational matter or something that is simply prescribed by authority. If it is the former, it is hard to see why legal systems should be expected to enshrine such recognitions. If it is the latter, its force depends on the will of some actual legal authority to enforce it; the legitimacy of such an authority would have to be established; and there would be no inbuilt guarantee that the unconditionality of the rights in question would always be honoured. The risk would be that 'human rights' would be seen as a set of entitlements specified by a particular political authority, and thus vulnerable being redefined according to that authority's convenience and preference and circumstances. It is not an academic point: in the last century, the Church in South Africa or the Democratic Republic of Germany - to take just two examples - was perhaps the most significant context in which universal, non-negotiable human dignity could be affirmed and defended. The struggle against apartheid in South Africa would have been very different without what the Church contributed; and in East Germany, the Church was almost the only place where free discussion was possible and different futures could be imagined, welcoming all who wanted to ask the questions that were prohibited in the public square.

For rights language to lose the link with religious language and institutions would be for it to lose something historically crucial. It is important for the language of rights not to lose its anchorage in a universalist religious ethic - and just as important for religious believers not to back away from the territory and treat rights language as an essentially secular matter, potentially at odds with the morality and spirituality of believers. As I have hinted, I think that we may be helped by some serious engagement with the question of the character and foundations of law. And I shall be suggesting that if we begin from there, we may find some directions for thinking about human rights that will help overcome some of the current confusion around this discourse and refresh our commitments. Odd as it may sound, a better account of how human rights relates to our thinking about the function of law could save us from a dangerously thin version of rights as a primarily legal category, and from some of the confusions that come with that. Law sets out what is expected of the citizen and what the citizen is entitled to expect. As legal systems develop, they codify in increasing detail these basic expectations, and affirm that such expectations are not simply at the mercy of what happens to suit a ruling authority or elite at any given moment. A law-governed society is one in which anyone belonging to the community has certain guaranteed liberties of access to protection against assault or to redress after injury. An important advance in principle was the abandonment of the idea that someone may be punished by having the protection of the law withdrawn: in early modern practice, outlawry disappears as a sanction, and the offender undergoing punishment retains a claim to some kinds of protection. While law is made and enforced by local juridical authorities, it is always bound up with some sorts of universalist claim. Within one jurisdiction, 'equality before the law' as a principle implies that the law deals with any imaginable subject of the jurisdiction on the basis that they are recognizable as belonging to a single community, and that this belonging is unconditional, whatever sanctions may be imposed by the legal system. Thus in modern legal practice, we generally work on the assumption that the wrongdoer's civic identity is to be preserved intact.

In other words, the bonds that connect us are not be broken by any arbitrary exercise of power: law affirms that something is owed to the fellow-citizen whatever may happen to either the society or the individual. But in a similar way, the idea of a 'law of nations' arises from the acknowledgement that different law-governed societies can recognize in each other comparable needs and dignities. The direction of development in all this is clearly towards some kind of universal principle, based on the mutual recognition of a shared human condition. One implication of this is that every member of a society has the liberty to argue for proper protection if it seems not to be forthcoming. Law does not offer a comprehensive definition of the answers to such claims but establishes a process for scrutinising them and a way of ending debates by way of public decisions announced by recognized authorities.

In this sense, law is bound to be 'reactive': what people think about themselves changes, what they think is possible changes, and the law has to assess whether any particular fresh claim that protection is inadequate is a reasonable one. And this is triggered by the kind of public argument that - if we look at recent and not so recent history - leads to major shifts in what we think is necessary to overcome the exclusion of certain people from the society to which they think they belong. The point can be illustrated in many ways. The advance of legislation around the protection of ethnic minorities, not only from very specific kinds of practical discrimination but also from demeaning public speech, reflects such a reactive move: 'civic discourse and practice', the developing moral and imaginative awareness of a society, lead us to recognize that certain ways of speaking and behaving habitually restrict the possibilities of certain groups, implicitly as well as explicitly. Where it has been commonplace to use stereotypic words and images of others, we come to see that by using such words and pictures we are in effect treating some person or group as people we need not fully recognize as fellow-humans and fellow-citizens, people who do not belong in the same way that we do. And once that is acknowledged, the law properly steps in to do what it is there to do to secure recognition.

Again, in the last century or so, the principle has been increasingly applied to women as well as ethnic 'others': bit by bit, the law has identified some of the ways in which women receive less than full recognition in society, how employment opportunities are skewed by assumptions about the superiority of men, how the imbalance of power leaves women vulnerable to sexual exploitation or harassment. The law steps in to assert that women have received less than is due to them, and that practices that perpetuate this are now proscribed. Probably more rapidly than anyone expected, the same principles have led, in many parts of the world, to various enactments for the protection of sexual minorities (and it is important to put on record the consistent support of the Anglican Communion, in successive international meetings at the highest level, for such protection from violence and intimidation). At the moment, the vulnerable position of religious minorities is fast becoming a matter of urgency in many contexts.

This is particularly acute where there is a vague tradition of tolerance towards a minority that has never quite amounted to full civic equality; heightened political tensions mean that this is now an anomaly that has to be sorted out. And in the light of all these issues and more, there is a growing set of questions about the proper protection of migrants, including asylum seekers. It is an area in which regression to attitudes of suspicion and harshness is in evidence in more than one society. It is going to need some stubborn arguments from those who believe that the sense of belonging within any one state or society and a sense of belonging between diverse human communities have to be kept together. And this is one area where religious traditions of hospitality, based in universal acknowledgements of human dignity, have particular weight.

The unifying conviction in all this is that, once we have acknowledged both that a person or group is properly part of our community and that they are inadequately protected, the law has to rectify the situation. The fundamental point is not so much that every person has a specific set of positive claims to be enforced, but that persons and minority groups of persons need to be recognized as belonging to the same moral and civic world as the majority, whatever differences or disagreements there may be. And I want to argue that a proper consideration of human rights has a better chance of sustaining its case if it begins from the recognition of a common dignity or worthiness of respect among members of a community than if it assumes some comprehensive catalogue of claims that might be enforceable. This implies that the language of human rights is an aspect of culture - what has been helpfully called "a culture of dignity": it is the outworking of a steadily intensifying and more inclusive habit of acceptance, a wider and wider acknowledgement of belonging. The Australian ethicist Sarah Bachelard, in a perceptive paper on 'Rights as Industry', published ten years ago in Australia, (Res Publica, the journal of the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics in the University of Melbourne, 11.1, 2002, pp.1-5), takes this further and argues that a sustainable and morally 'dense' commitment to human rights must have in its background the possibility of love - in the sense of a felt urgency about how human lives 'matter', how they are 'unique and irreplaceable' (p.4). If it is seen first and foremost in terms of an agreed set of specific entitlements, there is a real inadequacy in this sense of uniqueness, of lives mattering. Instead of the language serving an awareness of infinite human distinctiveness, it can be boiled down to a strictly calculated set of claims, equally distributed to all. I referred earlier to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a landmark in ethical development that has strengthened the hand of countless protesters against injustice, religious and secular. But it is still possible to misread it as just such a catalogue of entitlements, especially in a cultural setting where individualist assumptions rule. Take, for example, Article 23 of the Declaration, a very significant statement about economic life: 'Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment'.

Now, if we take this to mean that every individual is literally and legally entitled to a job (in the same sense that he or she is entitled as a citizen to a fair trial, say), there is no possibility of any universal assurance that such a claim could be met. Article 24 speaks of a right to paid holidays: even more of a problem if seen as entitlement. And what imaginable entitlement is there (Article 28) 'to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized'? We need to translate a bit. A 'culture of dignity' is, for example, one in which a person's freedom to work or access to employment is a significant moral touchstone; or it is one in which the conditions of work are not such as to prohibit leisure and self-care; or one in which the imperative to create a just and sustainable international order is given proper priority. We cannot pretend that gross inequalities in access to employment are really compatible with a proper sense of shared belonging; we cannot argue that a lack of international justice and stability have nothing to do with whether we are living with an adequate degree of respect towards each other. When we are speaking of 'rights' in the context that these Articles of the Declaration have in view, I think, to reconfigure the argument in more positive terms - in terms of what sort of considerations would be at work in a society (and a global 'society of societies') that assumed the need for maximal mutual recognition. All of this implies that the law comes in at the point where there is a particular case in which some person or group is able to argue that they are insufficiently protected relative to others in that society. Thus, in an economically stringent situation, the law cannot create jobs; but it may remove unfair restrictions on who can apply for jobs in particular circumstances. The rest of the work has to be done by the 'culture' overall - the work that will secure educational opportunity and keep up the pressure for economic justice. The law responds to the cultural context when it can be shown that people have unequal expectations of how they will be treated. The claim that is being enforced is not a claim to some specific good (a job, a particular kind of education, a paid holiday), but the claim to be treated on the same basis as other citizens, to be protected against unfairness, because unfairness entails a failure of recognition, a lack of mutual acknowledgement.

All of which should make us cautious, I believe, about legislation that begins from a presumed specific right that calls for enforcement. At the moment, there is a good deal of discussion, for example notably in the UK, of whether there is such a thing as a 'right to die' (and thus to request legally recognized assistance in dying) as an aspect of the right to be spared intolerable pain or humiliating disability. But the problem that faces the legislator (and the judge) is this: legal recognition of a liberty to decide the moment of one's death, and to require professional assistance in securing this, shifts what we might call the 'default setting' of a society. It declares that securing this liberty by a change in the law is necessarily more urgent than securing the protection of, for example, elderly, disabled or seriously ill individuals who may be pressured to think themselves dispensable, encouraged to see their conditions as rendering them burdensome or substandard - or of practising physicians who are called on to make what are admitted to be highly complex decisions about the irreversibility of a medical condition or about a patient's state of mind. If we ask what is protected by a change in the law, it is not easy to answer. One might say, 'the liberty to choose to avoid suffering that could be terminated.' But if protecting such a liberty entails substantive threat to a significant quantity of other people, and if changing the law has the effect of changing an assumption that deliberately inducing premature death is not admissible, it cannot be reasonably argued that the 'right' in question must on any account be honoured. What we are really talking about is, once again, a set of cultural issues and conundrums, not least about how much as a society we invest in care for those terminally sick or disabled, so that they do not experience anything that could be described as cruel or degrading treatment. There are real and tough arguments to be had about how we show adequate respect to a person dying in circumstances of unmanageable pain and loss of dignity; about how we properly value lives lived in circumstances of dramatically restricted comfort and mobility; how we avoid an attitude to medical care that seeks to prolong life at all costs, in a kind of technological triumphalism. There are delicate issues over what the attitude of the law should be in practice to people who resort to unlawful expedients in extreme situations. There is the fundamental question of what it is to die well. To none of these is there an instant and simple answer that would imply a right to 'assisted dying.' Arguments about all these questions are profoundly serious, and not everyone will begin - as most religious believers would - from the assumption that life is not to be surrendered in this way because every imaginable human condition is capable of being lived through in a way that relates it to God. But even without that assumption, the problem remains: faced with the possibility of a change in the law that is designed to protect a supposed liberty at the cost of removing a highly significant protection for the most vulnerable, I do not believe we can claim that this is straightforwardly about honouring a universal entitlement.

What this brings into focus is the anxiety that law is being used proactively to change culture - one of the chief anxieties of some religious people faced with developments in the application of rights. But surely - it will be said - this is exactly what is happening anyway when law establishes protection for previously unprotected or underprotected person or groups? Not exactly: when the law establishes protection or equality of access to public goods for a previously disadvantaged person or group, it declares that an agreed aspiration to a culture of dignity is damaged or frustrated by unequal protection and access. It secures what the very institution of a law-governed society is intended to embody, and it identifies as inconsistent or corrupt the refusal to extend recognition to particular persons or groups. Now laws change as societies become more conscious of what they are and claim to be; as I have said, it may take time for a society to realize that its practice is inconsistent - with respect to women and to ethnic, religious or sexual minorities. Law may indeed turn out to be ahead of majority opinion in recognizing this, but it has a clear argument to advance - that the failure to guarantee protection and access is simply incompatible with the very idea of a lawful society. But this falls short of a legal charter to promote change in institutions, even in language. Law must prohibit publicly abusive and demeaning language, it must secure institutions that do not systematically disadvantage any category of the community. But these tasks remain 'negative' in force. If it is said, for example, that a failure to legalise assisted suicide - or indeed same-sex marriage - perpetuates stigma or marginalisation for some people, the reply must be, I believe, that issues like stigma and marginalisation have to be addressed at the level of culture rather than law, the gradual evolving of fresh attitudes in a spirit of what has been called 'strategic patience' by some legal thinkers. But on such a basis, it ought to be possible to revisit the connection between religious belief and the discourse of human rights with an eye to avoiding the dangerous standoff that threatens. The existence of laws discriminating against sexual minorities as such can have no justification in societies that are serious about law itself. Such laws reflect a refusal to recognize that minorities belong, and they are indeed directly comparable to racial discrimination. Laws that criminalise certain kinds of sexual behaviour need the most careful scrutiny: legislation in this area is very definitely to do with the protection of the vulnerable from those with power to exploit and harm.

Sexual violence against women and against children of both sexes is a tragic fact, especially in conflict-ridden societies and the law's protection is urgently necessary. Go beyond this, and the territory is a lot more slippery. Many societies would now recognize that legal interference with some sorts of consensual sexual conduct can be both unworkable and open to appalling abuse (intimidation and blackmail). This concern for protection from violence and intimidation can be held without prejudging any moral question; religion and culture have their own arguments on these matters. But a culture that argues about such things is a culture that is able to find a language in common. Criminalise a minority and there is no chance of such a language in common or of any properly civil or civic discussion. It is just this issue of language in common which belongs in the centre of a discussion of rights. Too often, the presentation of human rights as a set of entitlements to be enforced in law suggests a division between the routine language of an actual society and a universal and abstract account of human identity, as if there is a single universal positive jurisdiction that trumps every particular social and cultural order. The challenge for a mature political philosophy that seeks to avoid this abstract universalism is to hold together the proper universalism that accords everyone dignity and security with the diversity of actual social institutions, including religious institutions, that form our identities. What the law does, I have argued, is to insist that for a society to be worth the name of a legitimate society (one that doesn't rest only on the interest and success of the strongest) it must embody mutual recognition, the assumption that the other's experience is comparable to mine to the degree that we can talk about it. Legal equality is the way the space is secured for this kind of civil discourse. Rather than silencing the particularities of diverse communal identities, it allows them to come forward into a safe space both to argue and to collaborate.

The shared acknowledgement of 'human rights' is, among other things, a guarantee that there is a shared social agenda to collaborate about - a common practice of scrutinising what is going on with an eye to who is being left out and how they might be integrated better into the common activity of a community. As I have argued elsewhere, following the seminal studies of Roger Ruston (Human Rights and the Image of God, London SCM 2004), this takes for granted that every human agent is potentially a free contributor to a creative social practice, endowed with the capacity to make a difference to a shared social world. This is about the capacity not to enforce rights but to be actively involved in right itself - in the struggle for justice. And this capacity is the ultimate foundation of 'rights' in the plural: what we recognize in one another is the creative capacity, as material, bodily presences, to make some kind of difference (see, e.g. Ruston, pp.100-103). But, lest that formulation lead us into the error of making rights conditional on some sort of effective performance as a difference-maker (so that the child, born or unborn, the disabled, the aged, the mentally challenged and so on, are ruled out), we have to define the making of a difference in terms that bring in the sort of thing that Sarah Bachelard draws attention to in the paper cited earlier - the 'difference' that is my sense of wonder at the unique otherness of the other. Moral differences are effectively made in our world only when something of that wonder is activated; and the apparently powerless or silent human person (the child, the elderly person, the person with disabilities...) has a profoundly powerful role in maintaining the moral intensity of more active agents through whatever relations they make possible by their bare physical existence. To put it as strongly as possible, it is about how certain persons are receivers as well as givers of love and make a difference, as both receivers and givers of love. For the believer, though Sarah Bachelard does not spell this out in these terms, it is rooted in the conviction that they are objects of an unconditional divine love. And we are now bordering on the issue touched on at the start of these reflections. The language of human rights becomes manifestly confused and artificial when divorced from our thinking about belonging, recognition, dignity and so on. It is vulnerable to being seen as a culture in itself - usually an alien culture, pressing the imperatives of universal equality over all local custom and affinity, all specific ways of making sense of our world. But what is it that grounds the moral vision that belongs with these things - belonging, recognition, dignity? The truth is that mutual recognition is a fragile thing: social exclusion and political oppression begin when the imperative to care only for those who appear instantly and obviously like us takes over; and it recurs constantly in human history. What Freud called 'the narcissism of small differences' translates into political terms when near neighbours sharing territory and often even language are driven towards mutual hostility by wider circumstances - food or water shortages, demographic projections, the suspicion of the other that is intensified at times of general social disintegration. The effects are horribly familiar: at worst, genocide, at the very least, the enshrining of massive discrimination. To acknowledge the dignity of another person is in effect to admit that there is something about them that is - so to speak - beyond me: something to which my individual purposes, preferences, fears or hopes are irrelevant. The other is involved with more than me - or indeed, more than people that I think are just like me. Mutual respect in a society, paradoxically, means both the recognition of another as mattering in the same way that I do, sharing the same human condition, and the recognition that this entails their not being at my disposal, their independence, their distance from me. And this is where Christian theology comes in.

Roger Ruston, in the book mentioned earlier, proposes that speaking about the 'image of God' in human beings puts 'the human person into a set of relationships: first with God, a relationship of filial adoption and answerability; second, with one another, relationships of equality and reciprocity; third, with the non-human creation, which may be understood as a relationship of stewardship and freedom of use.' And, as he goes on to say, these relationships are seen accordingly not as extraneous or accidental but as constitutive of what human identity truly is (op.cit., p.279). What makes this theological principle so significant for "human rights" is that this nest of relationships means that we cannot separate any human individual from a "morally charged" environment, rooted first and foremost in relation with the Creator. Their life, and the lives of groups of such persons are of significance in the eyes of God; what I recognize in recognizing the dignity of the other is that they have a standing before God, which is, of its nature, invulnerable to the success or failure of any other relationship or any situation in the contingent world. For human rights to be more than an artificially constructed series of conventions, embodied in a set of claims, there has to be some global account of what human dignity means and how it is grounded. It cannot be left dependent on the decision of individuals or societies to act in this way: that would turn it into a particular bundle of cultural options among others - inviting the sceptical response that it is just what happens to suit the current global hegemonies. It has to establish itself as a vision that makes sense of the practice of law within and between societies - something that provides a general template for looking critically at the claims of any particular society to be equitable and inclusive, not something that just represents the preferences of the powerful. A credible, sustainable doctrine of human rights must therefore be both modest and insistently ambitious. It must be modest in seeing itself as the legal mopping-up of issues raised in the context of a broad-based struggle for social equity and consistency - the negative face of what appears positively as the capacity to work for justice in a spirit of mutual reverence; but it must be ambitious in insisting on the dignity of every minority and their consequent claim to protection, to be allowed to make their contribution, to have their voice made audible. The mistakes sometimes made are to be ambitious in the wrong areas and modest in the wrong areas - to be ambitious for human rights as a universal programme for what might be called affirmative action, to be modest about the uncompromisingly metaphysical or religious foundations that the discourse needs and about the 'humane' education of the emotions that is involved. Sarah Bachelard, mentioned earlier, quotes a poignant passage from Simone Weil in which the great French thinker observes that talking about a violation of 'rights' is 'ludicrously inadequate' to the situation of a victim of sexual abuse: 'That language' says Bachelard, 'gets no grip on the desecration of the fragile and vulnerable heart and body of a young girl through rape,...the refusal to acknowledge the soul animating the flesh' (op.cit.,p.3). Something more is required, something that allows us to experience the shock of violation. Bachelard speaks of 'desecration', and the implication is clear that we need a vocabulary of the sacred here, a sense almost of 'blasphemy'. It is this that religious doctrine offers to the institutions and dialects of 'human rights', and it is a vital contribution. It is essential that, in an age that is often simultaneously sentimental, utilitarian and impatient, we do not allow the language of rights to wander too far from its roots in an acknowledgement of the sacred. This means, on the one hand, that would-be secular accounts of rights need to hear the arguments against an excessively abstract model of clearly defined claims to be tried before an impartial or universal tribunal. On the other, it means a warning to religious bodies not to try to make anxieties about their freedom to make religiously based ethical judgements an excuse for denying the unconditionality - and the self-critical imperatives - of the language of rights. Too much is at stake for the world's well-being.

Copyright Rowan Williams 2012

------------------------------

Message: 13
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:06:47 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: BRITAIN: Faith is still the warp and weft of our society
Message-ID: <201203021906...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


BRITAIN: Faith is still the warp and weft of our society
David Johnson considers how the legacy of religion still affects our lives in many ways

By David Johnson
Leicester Mercury
http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/Faith-warp-weft-society/story-15341915-detail/story.html
February 28, 2012

During a recent visit to Canterbury I saw Antony Gormley's new sculpture, Transport. Shaped in the form of a human body, it is made entirely of old nails removed from the cathedral roof during restoration.

Suspended in the crypt over the site of Thomas Becket's first tomb, Gormley's "body" represents a transitory place briefly housing the spirit for the duration of earthly life. For me it made an optimistic statement, looking both backwards to the many lives the cathedral has touched over 1,000 years, and forwards to life in another place.

It is just one modern example of religion's influence upon society over 2,000 years. Just think how Christianity has shaped the English language and literary heritage, our artistic, architectural and musical treasures. The church was promoting education, social well-being and charitable endeavour long before the welfare state, and the interplay between church and people has in large part created our national identity.

Of course over the centuries religion has had its less glorious moments. But the role of faith changes with time. So the Queen has chosen to interpret her role in the 21st century as not merely head of a sectarian Church of England, but to promote tolerance as protector of the free expression of all faiths in Britain.

To appreciate this you don't have to be a practising member of a faith. But there is danger in enjoying the fruit without looking after the roots. For if you do abandon the rituals, ceremonies and prayers, then where do you find inspiration or moral guidance? The secularists and atheists too often adopt an illiberal and negative stance. It is easy to destroy what is precious, but hard to replace it.

As Gormley says of his new sculpture: "We are all the temporary inhabitants of a body. It is our house, instrument and medium. Through it, all impressions of the world come and from it all our acts, thoughts and feelings are communicated." It is a reminder that there is more to life than just us.

And while I hold no particular brief for prayers before council meetings, I can think of nothing so sublime as attending cathedral evensong where voices, organ and prayer mingle together amid the soaring arches and pillars. This outpouring of devotion happens daily in cathedrals up and down the country; attendance is free, requires no participation and is massively under-appreciated. Yet it is invariably an uplifting and mystical experience. It may not be heaven in a literal sense, but for me it is very close nonetheless.

----------------------------

David Johnson is an honorary fellow of the School of Historical Studies, University of Leicester.

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Message: 14
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:07:47 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Lectors and faith: Bishop Whalon Interviews Olivia de
Haviland
Message-ID: <201203021907...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


Lectors and faith
The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Bishop in Charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, interviews Olivia de Haviland about how she reads scriptures as a lector for the Cathedral in Paris

February 26, 2012

Ten years ago, on Christmas Eve 2001, I heard for the first time Olivia de Havilland read the Scriptures in the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Paris. When I had first learned that Miss de Havilland read several times a year, I had wondered whether it might be some way of gaining notoriety for the church. I was struck by her resonant alto voice and meticulous preparation, which clearly communicated not only the words but also something of the Word. It was immediately clear that this woman is a model for lectors - what we used to call lay readers - everywhere.

One Easter Vigil, at the end of the service, I thanked her for her reading of the account of the Fall in Genesis 3. "You may have retired from the cinema," I said, "but not from your art." She gave me a shrewd look and said, "If you pitched it right, you could have people rolling in the aisles, you know." It was then that I determined to ask Miss de Havilland for an interview, in order to write this very article.

Incidentally, I find it impossible to call her "Olivia" though most parishioners do with her encouragement. It has to do in part with the way I was brought up: she is after all a distinguished artist with a great portfolio of theatre and cinema awards. It was her unwillingness to allow the studio system of virtual indentured servitude to rule her that led to the emancipation of actors, directors, screenwriters, and musicians in a precedent-setting lawsuit against Warner Brothers - "the de Havilland precedent," which is still invoked regularly. She was then able to do the kind of work she wanted to do. Three Academy nominations soon followed for To Each His Own, The Snake Pit, and The Heiress. Both To Each His Own and The Heiress won her an Oscar. In retirement, she lives in Paris.

Beyond these well-known facts, Miss de Havilland is a woman of genuine faith, which she brings to bear on her lay reading so as to make each lesson a personal statement. Her paternal grandfather, Charles de Havilland, was an Anglican priest whose last cure was on the isle of Guernsey, where the "de H's" (as she calls them) have lived for a millennium at least. Her British mother raised her as an Episcopalian, though she did have a stint as a girl in a Roman Catholic convent school, which gave her a lasting admiration for women religious.

She eventually gave me an interview. Over tea in her home, we discussed in detail how she came to read the Scriptures in church.

But first, why do we read the Bible in church? It would seem to be a silly question: of course we read the Bible in church. However, when else are we subjected to someone reading a text aloud to us? Poetry readings, political speeches, lengthy quotes from law tomes in courts, some sermons, and parents telling children a bedtime story, seem to be the last occasions in our experience for what was once very important in people's lives before television and the Internet.

We read the Scriptures because that forms the spine of every Christian worship service in the world. In the Episcopal liturgy, the Scriptures are read as part of the overall prayers. Then the preacher expounds them to the congregation, seeking to convict of their truth, to which we all rise and respond by saying "We believe" (or "I believe"). In the flow of the Eucharist, the creed is the catharsis for the tension set up by the reading of the Bible and the homiletical commentary upon it. Thus we can then offer our prayers of thanksgiving and petition from a right place in our hearts, leading to the most intimate prayer, the confession of our sins. (This latter is far too often omitted, as if it were embarrassing...)

With the absolution, we are ready to make peace with ourselves and our sisters and brothers, and we are then worthy to offer the Great Thanksgiving and share in the Body and Blood of Christ. Then we leave to our several ministries, assured that "we are living members of the Body of Christ" and sent forth "as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord."

It is obvious that the reading of the Scriptures is essential to our worship, not just to receive a kind of "holy information" but as meat and drink for our life of faith. Therefore, the readings should be an authentic expression of the reader's own faith - complete with struggles and doubts as well as hope.

Olivia de Havilland was one of the first women lectors at the Cathedral in Paris. In the 1970s, the then-Dean, the Very Rev. Robert G. Oliver, determined to introduce women as lectors. It was a daring innovation for the time in that congregation. According to Miss de Havilland, he began by asking a conservative wife of a corporate executive. She was followed by another impeccably dressed lady of similar standing. Finally he ended with "the movie actress." By then people had grown accustomed to women readers, even liking the contrast with masculine voices. Until fairly recently, Miss de Havilland was on the regular rota for reading.

Today she still reads for major feasts and special occasions, such as a memorial service for another previous Dean, Sturgis Riddle. She kindly shared with me her method of preparation, which is a model for every lector to consider, and not just among Episcopalians.

First of all, Miss de Havilland brings to bear what she herself learned as a fledgling actress under Max Reinhardt, the great theatrical and movie director of the 1930s. She describes what happened: "Just after graduating from high school, I played Puck in an amateur production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in the California village of Saratoga where I was brought up. Having won a full scholarship to Mills College where, upon enrolling in late September, I planned to major in Drama and Speech Arts, I wanted to watch the great Max Reinhardt's rehearsals of his Hollywood Bowl production of the same play. After auditioning for Max Reinhardt's assistant director, to my surprise and great good fortune, I was appointed second understudy to the role of Hermia and finally inherited the part. My engagement in the Hollywood Bowl production prevented me from enrolling at Mills - which I never attended."

Then Reinhardt asked her to take the part of Hermia in his touring company, and eventually, the film version of the play. "He was the type of director who showed you what he wanted by acting the role himself," Miss de Havilland said. "I made notes of everything he wanted, devising a sort of hieroglyphics for myself in the script. That way, I could reproduce his inflections on the words to his satisfaction."

She showed me the texts she had read last Christmas Eve. Each was printed out in large type, and festooned with underlines, semi-colons, and other diacritical marks. "I think I prepare in a way the Church would not approve - I add punctuations." I replied that the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible had virtually no punctuation at all. "The punctuation marks help me to get the right inflections."

And how can she tell what to choose? "I start on the preceding Monday by reading the texts I am assigned. The next day I re-read them, and I think the night's sleep often helps me see things I hadn't noticed at first." Then Miss de Havilland wrestles with the text, to find its underlying "architecture." "You have to convey the deep meaning, you see, and it has to start with your own faith." During the days that follow, she tries to figure out what the text means to her, and then how best to get it across.

Blessed with a resonant alto voice as well as her training, she reads with a natural authority. "But first I always pray. I pray before I start to prepare, as well. In fact, I would always say a prayer before shooting a scene, so this is not so different, in a way."

She likes the New Revised Standard Version, though she often prefers to use the Revised English Bible, the heir of the New English Bible, for its poetic style. (In fact, I prefer it as well in many instances.) But Miss de Havilland finds some texts very difficult to read in this authentically personal way that she has developed: "That Yahweh can be so awful sometimes." she pointed out.

To sum up, reading the Scriptures in church has to be an authentic proclamation of the reader's faith. Preparation is essential - there are far too many last-minute readings in our churches. In order to get across the words so that they become for the listener the Word, not only must the reader be trained in the rhetoric of reading aloud but must also be willing to risk wrestling with God over the meaning. Not all biblical texts are comforting, as Miss de Havilland pointed out. People of faith always have doubts - only those who have no faith have no doubts. It is when we have well prepared the text, rehearsed the inflections to give various key words to as bring forth the meaning, and prayed for the Spirit's help, that we can be authentic proclaimers of the Good News that lies in the Word written.

Not everyone will have the talent and experience of an Olivia de Havilland. That is not the point. When the worship comes from the heart, including the readings, and the whole liturgy is done with loving care, visitors "will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, 'God is truly among you.'" (I Cor. 14: 25)

And let her have the last word. "I once asked Jimmy Cagney, 'just what is acting?' He said at first, 'I dunno...' But then he said, 'All I know is that you have to mean what you say.'"

Amen.

Reprinted with permission of Bishop Whalon and Anglicans Online.

------------------------------

Message: 15
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:08:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: GEORGE CAREY & THE DILEMMA OF THE INSIDE STRATEGY
Message-ID: <201203021908...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


GEORGE CAREY & THE DILEMMA OF THE INSIDE STRATEGY

By Julian Mann
Special to Virtueonline
www.virtueonline.org
February 23, 2012

George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, has come out all guns blazing in the battle against same-sex marriage in the UK. In this, he bears some resemblance to the Robert Vaughan character in The Magnificent Seven. VOL readers may recall the demoralised gunslinger cowering behind a wall in the heat of the battle for the oppressed Mexican village but then finding his courage and gunning down a group of bandits, before expiring heroically.

God willing, Lord Carey will be totting his spiritual and moral six-gun for a while yet from his mount in the House of Lords and the Daily Mail. UK Christianity certainly needs his new-found outspokenness. He is the most prominent public figure behind the new Coalition for Marriage, backed by evangelical groups such as the Christian Institute, Christian Concern and the Evangelical Alliance.

C4M has been formed to defend the current UK legal definition of marriage as 'the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others' against Prime Minister David Cameron's bid to redefine this wonderful God-created institution.

Lord Carey was the classic product of the post-1960s Anglican evangelical inside strategy. Back in the glam rock days of the 1970s, younger Anglican evangelicals were being encouraged by their leaders to engage with the denominational structures of the Church of England and gain positions of influence in the hierarchy. George Carey was one of them, becoming Bishop of Bath and Wells in the 1980s before being the surprise choice as Archbishop of Canterbury by the then Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher in 1990.

It may be an over-statement to describe him as cowering behind a wall but his time as Archbishop was not especially marked by bold outspokenness for orthodox Anglican truth against liberal revisionism. The issue he spoke most passionately in favour of at the beginning of his tenure was the ordination of women, a liberal preoccupation.

The Anglican grouping that seemed to irk him most was Reform, whom he accused of bully-boy tactics over quota-capping (that is the witholding of the parish share paid by local churches to dioceses).

He was supportive of the orthodox Anglican Communion at the Lambeth Conference in 1998 over the passing of Resolution 1.10, so was arguably beginning to find his form towards the end of his time as Archbishop of Canterbury.

But no conservative evangelical diocesan bishop was appointed during his time whilst some most unfortunate liberal appointments were made. He refused to provide conservative evangelical opponents of women priests with their own flying bishops but was happy to allow Anglo-Catholics theirs.

Far from transforming the institutional Church of England as an evangelical, George Carey seemed to have been transformed by the institution.

He seemed to be the personification of the failure of the Anglican evangelical inside strategy.

But then he retired as Archbishop just as New Labour was enacting a slew of politically correct legislation in the Noughties. Freed from the burden of office in a theologically mixed denomination, Lord Carey has spoken up boldly both in Parliament and in the popular press in favour of traditional marriage and family life and, most effectively, for Christian freedom of expression in the UK.

It is not an over-statement to say that without Lord Carey's bold parliamentary advocacy a 'religious hatred' law could well have been passed under New Labour in 2006 severely impeding Christians from proclaiming the supremacy and uniqueness of the Lord Jesus Christ against other worldviews, particularly Islam.

Whilst the institution Lord Carey once led has been less than prophetic against political correctness, he has been.

And therein lies the rub - it is the former Archbishop of Canterbury who is standing up for Christianity in the UK against political correctness. However, if he had not pursued the inside strategy and become Archbishop of Canterbury, then he would not have the platform he currently has to speak up for Christian truth on the national stage.

Isn't that illustrative of the dilemma around the inside strategy for Anglican evangelicals in the Church of England?

------------

Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire, UK. His weblog is Cranmer's Curate.

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Message: 16
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:09:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Archbishop Duncan Calls on Province to Pray for the Diocese
of Recife
Message-ID: <201203021909...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


Archbishop Duncan Calls on Province to Pray for the Diocese of Recife
Bishop Cavalcanti and Wife Tragically Killed

It is with a heavy heart that the Anglican Church in North America passes on the sad news today from the Anglican Diocese of Recife in Brazil. It was reported earlier that the Right Reverend Bishop Edward Robinson de Barros Cavalcanti and his wife Miriam Cavalcanti were tragically killed. Their lives were taken by a family member on Sunday, February 26 at around 10:00pm in the city of Olinda, Brazil. Details of their deaths are still being investigated.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti was among the great friends and steadfast heroes of the Anglican Church in North America. He and his wife, Miriam, are mourned by all of us in this Province. Our prayers and love are extended to the clergy and people of Recife, and to all friends and family, not least because of the tragic circumstances of their murder.

Bishop Robinson was a champion of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. He led his diocese to stand against the theological revisionism that plagued his Province and he stood with all of us in the parallel battles in North America and in global Anglicanism. Internationally, he was among the band of courageous bishops and archbishops who adopted North American congregations during our days of trial.

I personally have the warmest of memories of Robinson Cavalcanti throughout all of my years as bishop. Moreover, since the founding of our Province, he was often a guest at meetings of our Provincial Council and College of Bishops, most recently in September.

We thank God for the lives of these faithful servants. We entrust them to the merciful keeping of our Lord and Savior in whose Resurrection "death is swallowed up in victory." Robinson's words to us at this moment would be one with the Apostle Paul's in I Corinthians 15, not least in the exhortation at the end: "Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain."

Faithfully your archbishop,

++Duncan

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Message: 17
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:10:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: MAINE: Anglican liturgy, evangelical worship style combine at
Imago Dei in Orono
Message-ID: <201203021910...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


MAINE: Anglican liturgy, evangelical worship style combine at Imago Dei in Orono

By Judy Harrison
Banger Daily News
http://bangordailynews.com/
February 24, 2012

The Reverend Justin Howard preaches to his congregation in OronoThe Rev. Justin Howard stands before his congregation on Sunday afternoons dressed in liturgical garb unfamiliar to many in his flock at Imago Dei Anglican Church.

"A lot of people have questions about this," he said, gesturing to the white alb, the long-sleeved, ankle-length vestment he wears over his clothes to conduct services. "It's representative of our baptism. After all, Jesus wore a tunic. The cincture, this rope around my waist, signifies that we are bound in service to Christ.

"The stole that hangs around my neck represents servanthood," he continued earlier this month. "I wear this Celtic cross because I believe the same spiritual DNA that was part of the early Celtic church is what we are planting here in Orono."

Underneath his traditional church garments, the Anglican priest most often is clad in sneakers and blue jeans - the same kind of clothing worn by a most of the 40-60 people, a majority of whom are students at the University of Maine, who attend weekly worship services held at the Newman Center on College Avenue.

"It's really full of the Holy Spirit and happiness," Bill Jenkins of Kenduskeag said earlier this month after a Sunday service. "I find it very alive here and it's good to see so many young people in church.

Bill and, his wife, Ann Jenkins of Kenduskeag, met the Howards through Amy Howard's father, Bill Rogers. The couple, who are are old enough to be the parents of the students with whom they worship, decided to try out the Anglican church last fall and have been attending regularly ever since.

Imago Dei, which is Latin for in the image of God, is the only church in Maine associated with the Anglican Church of North America, based in Pittsburgh, Penn. It was formed several years ago after breaking with the Episcopal Church of the United States and the Worldwide Anglican Communion over the ordination of noncelebate gay and lesbian priests and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The Orono church began meeting October 2010 at Howard's home in Old Town. The congregation began holding services at the Newman Center, owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, in November. It plans an official launch at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 18.

Services at Imago Dei combine many of the traditional elements of the Anglican church, such as the reciting the Nicene Creed, the passing of the peace, making the sign of the cross and receiving Communion every Sunday, with modern praise and worship music, a time of one-on-one healing prayer and a casual but intimate feel to the two-hour service.

"We are Anglicans, so we're liturgical but also charismatic," Howard said in a recent interview. "We believe in the ministry of inner healing. We believe the Holy Spirit is present to make us whole people and to make us live lives that enjoy God."

Howard was born in New York City and raised in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York attending a Wesleyan church. He met his wife, Amy Howard, at Houghton College in western New York. She grew up in the Bangor area and attended Columbia Street Baptist Church and Harvest Chapel in Levant.

His journey toward the Anglican Church began in college.

"I was a religion major and studying church history really was turning point for me," he said. "I learned the church is more than 100 or 200 years old and uncovered and discovered a treasure trove of disciplined practice and belief I'd never been exposed to growing up. As an evangelical, I had a good solid upbringing in Scripture. offered me mystery and a relationship with 2,000 years of Christian history."

He first was ordained a Wesleyan pastor in 2006 after attending Astbury and Gordon-Conwell theological seminaries, located in Wilmore, Ken., and South Hamilton, Mass., respectively.

He was ordained an Anglican priest in 2010.

"I've come full circle because John Weley was an Anglican," he said. "Becoming an Anglican was part of my desire to be yoked to the church through history. But, I really began to encounter God through the liturgy and there was a draw on my heart to be part of a confluence of the evangelical, the charismatic and the catholic. These are the major streams in orthodox Christian worship today."

Planting a church in a university community was the vision of Howard's superior, Bishop William Murdock, head of the Anglican Diocese in New England, the priest said. The long-term plan calls for a parish with six churches in Greater Bangor.

Most of the people who attend services at Imago Dei have attended evangelical or mainline Protestant churches, according to Howard. As he did, they have encountered something new in the Anglican liturgy.

"What they're finding is a God who is very near and intimate and a God who desires their wholeness and wants to be closer than they could ever imagine," the priest said. "They are sort of shocked to find that God is as present and his power to heal is as accessible as it is. And, that God has emotions - he passionately desires them and longs for them. I think that's a picture of God many people have a hard time believing."

Katie Burt of Brewer began worshipping at Imago Dei in mid-January after friends encouraged her to attend.

"It's intriguing and spirit-filled," she said of the services. "Justin and Amy are so passionate about seeing a change in Orono."

Scott DeLong grew up in a nondenominational evangelical church. The UMaine senior majoring in secondary education said that he found the liturgy "strange" at first.

"Now, I really appreciate the beauty of it," she said. "The prayers are so much more beautiful and articulate than what we could come up with on our own."

DeLong also said that attending services on Sunday afternoons focused him for his studies and work during the week.

"It just strengthens me inside and gives me hope," he said.

Imago Dei Anglican Church worships at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Newman Center, 83 College Ave. For information, visit http://idachurch.com.

Vision, mission and values of Imago Dei Anglican Church

Vision: We envision an entire generation transformed into wholehearted lovers of God, encountered by the living Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, all within the context of a praying church, being sent out to multiply other praying churches which will contend for the transformation of our culture and the fullness of God's kingdom in Maine, New England and the world.

Mission: In an age of deep spiritual longing, aloneness and aimlessness, our mission is to help thousands of Orono residents, UMaine students, faculty and staff find authentic life, community and wholeness in joyful communion with God, who will then give back in ministry to the world. In order to accomplish this, Imago Dei seeks to foster a community enjoying God, loving people, pursuing mercy.

Values:

* We value communion with the beautiful triune God.
* We value a culture of unrelenting prayer and passionate worship.
* We value healing relationships in community.
* We value whole-life transformation and growth.
* We value a culture of life.
* We value pioneer church planting.
* We value historical global Christianity.

Source: www.idachurch.com.

------------------------------

Message: 18
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:11:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: VIENNA, VA: Vienna Resident 'Plants' a Church
Message-ID: <201203021911...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


VIENNA, VA: Vienna Resident 'Plants' a Church
Johnny Kurcina grew up in Vienna, opened Anglican Christ Church Vienna

The Reverend Johnny Kurcina and his wife Sarah. Kurcina started a new Anglican church in Vienna in early November

http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2012/feb/15/vienna-resident-plants-church/
February 15, 2012

Johnny Kurcina grew up in Vienna, going to local schools, playing local sports. Like many teenage boys, Kurcina wanted to get away from his hometown after graduating from James Madison High School. He did get away for a while, as far as seminary school in the UK. But he discovered he couldn't wait to get back to Vienna. He did return, married and became a father of three. Now, he's "planting" an Anglican church in his hometown.

While at James Madison High School, Kurcina considered applying to a military academy. He was very involved with a youth Christian group, Young Life, in high school and found that "something really fit" with his role with his peers in relationship to his Christian faith. He made a life-altering decision as a junior. "I decided I wanted to go into the Christian ministry and I never looked back," said Kurcina.

Called CHRIST CHURCH VIENNA, the blossoming church held its first service in November, in the Louise Archer Elementary School cafeteria. It is run by a Board of Directors, the "church council." As Pastor of the church, Kurcina heads its future, guided by the deliberations of the church council. Kurcina would like to see more Anglican churches "planted" in the area.

In 2005, Kurcina spoke with the senior minister, a friend, of The Falls Church in Falls Church, about the feasibility of opening a church in Vienna. "They have the human resources, the financial resources and a real interest seeing new churches started," said Kurcina. He became actively involved with The Falls Church, whose history goes back to the early 18th century, intending to "plant" a new church in Vienna. "When I graduated from Madison, I wanted to get away from Vienna. Now, I couldn't wait to get back," he said.

Kurcina does not foresee leaving the Louise Archer cafeteria in the near-future. The arrangement of rooms fits the church's vision. Babies and preschoolers are supervised in a separate room during the service, while elementary school-aged children, with their own program during the sermon and prayers, return to the service for communion.

A few hundred people come out for the weekly service, held at 10 a.m. on Sunday at Louise Archer ES. A great many of them, Kurcina said, hear about the church from others. Some are from The Falls Church.

One of the reasons people find a new church exciting is that they feel more needed there," Kurcina said. They are a part of the building process, he explained. "The newness, the smallness and the dynamic nature of a start-up church creates energy, builds excitement, and that can be very appealing to many people," said Kurcina. "A new church is not for everyone. It has a unique feel to it."

Kurcina graduated from Madison High School in 1993 and from the University of Virginia in 1997 with a degree in religious studies. He did seminary work at Gordon Conwell Seminary, and received his Master's of Divinity from there in 2001. On Feb. 7, he and his wife Sarah celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary.

AFTER GRADUATING from seminary, Kurcina knew he had found his place ministering in local churches, rather than in a worldwide position.

Kurcina's father owns John Edwards salon at the corner of Church and Center streets, the one-time home of Vienna's telephone company manned by living operators. Kurcina lives nearby today.

His mission is not complex.

"I just want to give people the opportunity to meet Jesus."

END

------------------------------

Message: 19
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:12:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Virginia Attorney General Intervenes for Breakaway Anglicans
in Property Battle
Message-ID: <201203021912...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


Virginia Attorney General Intervenes for Breakaway Anglicans in Property Battle
The Falls Church has been in existence since the 18th century

http://www.christianpost.com/
February 29, 2012

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's brief, filed on Wednesday with the Fairfax County Circuit Court, argued that the departing congregations should be allowed to keep their personal property and donations they made to the churches they inhabited.

Faith McDonnell, a member of Church of the Apostles, which is one of the seven churches involved in the property controversy, told The Christian Post that she agreed with the attorney general.

"Cuccinelli is very right when he says that this is a religious freedom issue," said McDonnell.

"There is a violation of religious freedom in taking the funds and/or other property given to the churches by members and other friends that intended them to go to that particular body of believers."

Last month, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Randy Bellows ruled in favor of the Diocese of Virginia regarding who owned the property of seven Episcopal churches that had decided to break away from TEC over theological differences.

In his motion, Cuccinelli noted that since 2003 nearly all the donations given by members of the seven churches were specifically given to their respective church and not the Diocese of Virginia or The Episcopal Church.

Cuccinelli cited "donor intent" when arguing that Bellows' decision ignored the intentions of the donors, violating their religious conscience.

"ven before the time of the official split from The Episcopal Church, church members have been indicating in the memo section of their checks that they are designated for use by the local congregation only," said McDonnell.

McDonnell said there were other donations that were of a non-monetary nature, such as a cross that was given to the Church of the Apostles, handmade pulpits, and a mural.

The properties The Episcopal Church gained control of included The Falls Church and Truro Church, which were both established during the 18th century, with George Washington serving as a vestryman.

When the seven congregations decided to break away, they remained with the overall Anglican Communion, joining conservative denominations like the Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

Henry D.W. Burt, Secretary & Chief of Staff for the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, told CP that Cuccinelli's brief was part of an ongoing involvement the attorney general had had with the case.

"The attorney general ... notes that he does not take sides in the matter, noting only that the CANA congregations have raised a prima facie case that the court has not considered donor intent in its ruling," said Burt.

"We will respond in a filing next week. We remain confident that this case was correctly decided."

Jeff Walton, staff member for the Institute on Religion and Democracy's "Anglican Action" program, told CP that he believed there was a religious liberty aspect to this case.

"This is an acknowledgement that the departing Anglican congregations have a substantial argument that deserves consideration," said Walton.

"The court should not compel persons to give money to a religious institution. Clearly, the overwhelming number of donations to these parishes since 2003 were specifically restricted by donors not to go to either The Episcopal Church or the Diocese of Virginia."

END

------------------------------

Message: 20
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:13:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: EL PASO, TX: Pastor who led recall to be ordained Anglican
bishop of All Nations
Message-ID: <201203021913...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


EL PASO, TX: Pastor who led recall to be ordained Anglican bishop of the All Nations Christian Church International

By David Crowder
EL PASO, INC.
http://www.elpasoinc.com/news/local_news/article_ced01482-616c-11e1-98bf-001a4bcf6878.html
February 27, 2012

Rev. Tom Brown. Now it's 'Bishop' Tom Brown.

Word of Life Church Pastor Tom Brown, who led the recent effort to recall three City Council members, will soon carry a new title: bishop.

Brown, who has no formal religious training, is to be consecrated March 7 as an Anglican bishop of the All Nations Christian Church International in Amarillo.

A small independent church with African ties and about 50 members, All Nations was established in 2005. It is affiliated with about 2,000 churches, nearly all of them in Africa and Asia. All Nations in Amarillo is the only U.S. church in the group.

Brown said his new title and responsibilities shouldn't mean any big changes for the 1,500-member nondenominational Word of Life Church he founded on the Eastside in 1984. But that doesn't mean he won't be traveling; he always has.

"I'm going to be helping in ordinations and planting of some of their churches," Brown said. "They have more reliable contacts than I do in Africa and Asia.

"I trust them more to be able to direct me to really good church-planting work. We'll be planting churches in the U.S. as well as helping others in ministry with their churches, spiritual counsel and finances."

He added, "I've had a great deal of success in El Paso on how to grow churches, and I want to use the experience to help other ministers do the same thing."

Despite having the same reservations that many nondenominational church members hold regarding traditional denominations, Brown said he had always been interested in one thing they offered: the apostolic succession of bishops that can be traced to St. Peter, the apostle.

Last summer, Brown met a Methodist pastor in England, the Rev. Steven Evans, who was to be ordained as an All Nations Christian Church bishop this March and suggested Brown might be a candidate himself.

Signs

The head of All Nations in Amarillo, Patriarch John G. Githiga, who will consecrate Brown and Evans, said he looks for internal signs of God's spirit and external signs of leadership, not religious education.

"This man's word is empowered by the Holy Spirit," Githiga said of Brown. "We preach the gospel to all nations, and in observing Tom and his ministry, we were fully confident that he has apostolic gift that would qualify him to become a bishop."

Githiga said he was not really aware of the string of controversies Brown has been involved in since 2010. That was when the El Paso City Council's decision to offer health benefits to the unmarried partners of city employees sparked a pastor-led campaign to put an anti-domestic-partners measure on the ballot in November 2010.

When the measure passed, it was challenged by an unsuccessful police union lawsuit. Then, when City Council killed the voter-passed ordinance, Brown led a petition drive for recall elections against Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega, who supported it.

Cook filed suit on his own, alleging that Brown and other organizers of the petition drive had violated the Texas Election Code in various ways.

Then Cook appealed when County Court-at-Law Judge Javier Alvarez rejected his motion to temporarily halt the petition certification. Two weeks ago, the 8th Court of Appeals in El Paso ruled in Cook's favor, and called off the April recall election.

Brown, who invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination nine times in response to questions from Cook's lawyer at one hearing, has not spoken about the case publicly since the ruling except to say it will be appealed.

"Being a bishop doesn't mean you are exempted from conflict," Githiga said.

The Rev. Felix Orji, pastor of El Paso's St. Francis Anglican Church and the bishop with the Anglican Church of North America, said he will not be a "legitimate Anglican Bishop". He is "a legitimate Bishop" in his tradition, just as a Roman Catholic or Methodist Bishop is legitimate in his tradition and not in the Anglican tradition."

"It is important to make distinctions," Orji said. "I know Tom Brown is a godly, Christian man. His politics are his issues."

FAQs

Brown said the Word of Life congregation took the news pretty well.

"When I told my leadership, they were all thrilled," he said. "But we are a contemporary church, and immediately when they think about an Anglican ordination, even an Anglican tradition, there were a lot of questions."

On his website, online at www.tbm.com, Brown gives answers to some frequently asked questions about his new title, among them: "After Tom Brown is ordained, can we still call him Pastor, or should we refer to him as Bishop?"

"Answer: A Bishop is always a Pastor since the word 'Pastor' means shepherd. Tom Brown will always be a shepherd of the church. However, in respect to his office, he should be referred to as Bishop."

Other concerns addressed include: Will Word of Life Church have to support All Nations? No. Will the music change? No. And will church members have to make the sign of the cross? No.

The mainline Anglican Church is a worldwide denomination started in England 500 years ago when it separated from the Roman Catholic Church. Many Anglican churches still use Catholic-style liturgical worship services.

----------------------------------

http://allnationschristianchurchinternational.org/church/news/index.html

Word of Life Church

We are delighted to announce that the Rev. Tom Brown is Bishop- Elect of All Nations Christian Church International. Tom is the pastor and founder of a growing congregation in El Paso, Texas, the Word of Life Church. He is the author of two bestselling books published by Whitaker Houses entitled Devil, Demons and Spiritual Warfare and Breaking, Curses, Experiencing Healing. He is married to Sonia Blanco, who committed herself to Christ when she was fourteen. Sonia, and her husband host a weekly television program called The Bondage Breaker. Tom Brown Ministries has been featured on national television in which ABC, MSNBC and History Channel did documentaries on exorcism and the subject on hell. Visit their website: http://www.tbm.org

END

------------------------------

Message: 21
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:14:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: JOHANNESBURG:Traditional Anglican Communion College of
Bishops Reject Ordinariat
Message-ID: <201203021914...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


JOHANNESBURG, SA: Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops Rejects Ordinariate
Bishops accept resignation of Archbishop John Hepworth
Archbishop Samuel Prakash of India elected Acting Primate

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
March 1, 2012

The end came swiftly for Archbishop John Hepworth in Johannesburg when the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) College of Bishops accepted the resignation of their leader after a long battle with the wounded, self-inflicted Australian Primate who had sought entry for himself and his church into the Roman Catholic Church.

A majority of the TAC College of Bishops met at St. George Conference Center outside Johannesburg, February 28 - March 1, 2012 to discern a new direction for the embattled Communion. They elected Indian Archbishop Samuel Prakash as Acting Primate.

Twenty active bishops with 12 voting in session voted that the TAC would remain fully Anglican. A news release said that while it receives, with thanks, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus from the Holy See, the TAC College of Bishops has voted as a Communion to decline the invitation.

Before he left the US for South Africa Presiding Bishop Brian Marsh wrote VOL to say that he fully anticipated a course would be charted that is unambiguously Anglican and under leadership that will uphold and teach, by word and example, the faith of Christ crucified. "You may be certain that I will do my best to ensure that any decisions provide for the spiritual safety of God's faithful people."

Every Bishop and Vicar General in the Traditional Anglican Communion was invited to attend this meeting. Of the twenty active bishops, twelve voted in session. Nine of the twelve churches were represented.

This meeting of the College of Bishops was long overdue," said the bishops. "Over the past two years, several members of the College of Bishops had requested of the Primate an urgent meeting of the College. Anglicanorum Coetibus or the Apostolic Constitution had never been discussed or debated within the College of Bishops. Meetings of the College of Bishops had, in fact, been scheduled at least twice over the past two years. Most recently, a meeting was called by the TAC Primate for mid 2011. This meeting was canceled abruptly by the Primate. Accordingly, the meeting in Johannesburg was voted to be the overdue meeting of the College of Bishops."

The College of Bishops voted unanimously to accept the resignation of John Hepworth as TAC Primate by resolution that states: "it is resolved that he cease to hold the office of Primate immediately. Archbishop John Hepworth vacates the Office he has held since 2003, along with the individual appointments which are the prerogatives of that Office. Such offices and positions are now vacant and subject to reappointment."

Archbishop Samuel Prakash, as the senior active Metropolitan, was elected Acting Primate by acclamation. In so doing, the entire assembly expressed complete confidence in Archbishop Prakash, who was consecrated Bishop in 1984 and currently serves as Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of India. Archbishop Prakash was one of the original founding Bishops of the TAC.

Bishop Michael Gill of Cape Town was appointed Secretary of the College of Bishops. During its three day meeting, the College of Bishops passed several resolutions relating to the International Anglican Fellowship, Episcopal Oversight and Ecumenical relations between Continuing jurisdictions. The College of Bishops resolved to commit itself to Mission and Evangelism, recognizing that the central purpose of God's people is to bring others to Christ.

Earlier in February Archbishop Hepworth, sensing that his day was done as leader of the TAC issued a "Pastoral Letter" over the pending split accusing some of his fellow bishop of "bullying" and canceling arrangements which they had entered into.

"Clergy and laity have been bullied and threatened with expulsion." He also accused them of schism. "A minority of the bishops plan to meet shortly in South Africa with the openly published agenda of expelling all those who are at the various stages of discernment of the offer of the "fullness of Catholic Communion" contained in the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Benedict XVI."

However it was a majority of the college of Bishops who met in Johannesburg and they were unanimous that Hepworth must go.

Hepworth pled for tolerance and said Anglicanism has always aspired to tolerance. "Even the persecution of Catholics in England was balanced by tolerance and respect in missionary regions. Anglo-Catholics and Evangelical Anglicans sustained a mutual respect and restraint in spite of vigorously asserting their positions. Opponents found this a weakness. Those of us who experienced it found it a strength."

However Hepworth's battle with Rome and his charges that he had been homosexually seduced by three priests hardly endeared him to Rome's leaders. He also blasted a Roman Catholic archbishop for interfering with his parishes in Canada. In the end Roman Catholic officials told him politely that he could enter the Roman Catholic Church as a layman. Hepworth refused the offer.

Hepworth says the majority of TAC remain loyal to their oaths and promises on doctrine and discipline and to himself. "They are determined to protect their people and minister to them as they make decisions and undergo processes that cannot be hurried any more than outcomes can be foreseen."

He included bishops and senior clergy, in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Torres Strait, Australia, Africa and India, who are determined to continue their ministry, to respect the ecclesial bonds that exist between them, to sustain their Christian friendship even as some of them succeed (with their clergy and people) in being pioneers of Ordinariates that will grow, if they are of God.

Hepworth said they would meet with him shortly to celebrate their bonds of Christian commitment, and will take steps to protect their ecclesial identity.

END

------------------------------

Message: 22
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:15:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti and wife murdered in Olinda,
Brazil
Message-ID: <201203021915...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti and wife Murdered in Olinda, Brazil

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
February 27, 2012

It is with deep and profound sadness that we report the deaths of Bishop Robinson Cavilcanti and his wife Miriam in the city of Olinda, Brazil.

The Diocese of Recife reports that Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti and his wife were murdered in their home in Olinda in Northeastern Brazil last night. The bishop�s adopted son is alleged to have knifed his parents following a quarrel.

On 26 February 2012, at approximately 10:00 pm the bishop returned to his home in Olinda after having visited a parish earlier in the day. The bishop�s son is alleged to have pulled a knife on his father and stabbed him.

Bishop Robinson, a solid Evangelical, led the Diocese of Recife during a bitter struggle with the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil over his church's embrace of the Episcopal Church's pansexual agenda. There were bitter property struggles.

He was vigorous defender of the faith and of the family. In May 2011 when Brazil legalized gay marriage, Cavilcanti wrote, "Today immorality was legalized. Sin was legalized. Brazil is in mourning. The next step is the criminalization of heterosexuals who do not recognize the normalcy of homosexuality, the attack on freedom of expression and freedom of religion, with the PLC 122, now in the Senate."

Cavalcanti said the media had already long ago manipulated public opinion, an authentic brainwashing to break resistance and "reeducate" the nation.

He believed, however, that "Brazilian citizens of moral convictions based on the values of revealed faith and values always affirmed by our country will continue, with conviction and courage to express their strongest condemnation to this unfortunate moment, which tarnish the highest court justice of the Country." He lamented that the there was no evangelical voice in court.

Bishop Robinson and I became friends more than a decade ago. VOL helped him establish a communications module, provided computers, and more to deal with the growing liberalization and secularization of his province.

This is an enormous tragedy for this diocese which was the only one growing because of his commitment to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We were in regular touch with each other. The last time we met was in Cape Town, South Africa, at the Lausanne Congress of Evangelism where he told me that the diocese was recovering from the property wars and new parishes were forming with many young people coming to Christ.

He and his wife were dear friends and I shall miss them mightily. Please pray for this young emerging diocese that it will find the leadership necessary to move forward.

Here is the official announcement from the Diocese.

>From the Diocese of Recife

It is with deep sadness that the Anglican Church - Diocese of Recife communicates the tragic death of the Right Reverend Bishop Edward Robinson de Barros Cavalcanti and of his wife Miriam Cavalcanti, which occurred this Sunday 26/02/2012 at around 10pm in the city of Olinda, Brazil.

The diocesan family give thanks to God for the dedicated ministry of its father in God, our pastor, teacher and friend, a true prophet and present day martyr, who fought for the cause of the Gospel of Christ, for the Church and for the Anglican Communion, and who always depended on his wife, a faithful co-servant who supported him throughout his years in ministry.

They exit unto Eternity, leaving a legacy of service, love and doctrinal faithfulness, to which the Diocese will continue to adhere.

We will presently inform the date of their burial.

Bishop Evil�sio Ten�rio - Bispo Suffragan Elect

Bishop Fl�vio Adair - Bishop Suffragan Elect

Rev. M�rcio Sim�es - President of the Diocesan Council

------------------------------

Message: 23
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:16:48 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: Archbishop of York's Statement on Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda
Message-ID: <201203021916...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


Archbishop of York's Statement on Anti-Gay Bill in Uganda

>From the Office of the Archbishop of York - Dr. John Sentamu
http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2012/2/24/ACNS5051
February 24, 2012

The Archbishop of York has today repeated his opposition to David Bahati MP's Private Members Bill in Uganda which seeks to prosecute gay people. The Archbishop previously issued a statement in 2009 when the Bill was first brought before the Ugandan Parliament.

The Archbishop said: "The Anglican Church in Uganda submitted its views on David Bahati's Private Member's Bill formally when it was first tabled, and made clear that they were not in favour of introducing a death penalty for homosexuality. I completely support that position.

"It is important that across the world we stand in solidarity with people, flesh of our flesh, who are being in many cases victimized or demonized because of their sexual orientation.

"The Dromantine Communiqu� in 2005 issued by the Primates of the Anglican Communion said that we wish to make it clear that our discussion and assessment of moral appropriateness of specific behaviours would continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people.

"The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is an anathema. Homosexual people are children of God, loved and valued by Him and deserving the best we can give - pastoral care and friendship. That is where the Communion stands.

"Sadly, this particular high, extreme, sentencing already exists in Uganda in relation to other practices. For example, the penal code in cases of rape (what they call "aggravated sexuality") or if you have sex with a girl under the age of 18, you are liable to suffer the death penalty. As a matter of principle, I am totally opposed to the use of the death penalty in any instance.

"No-one should have to live under the threat of violence and death, or live in fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide, and by myself - particularly in the Primates of the Anglican Communion statement in Dublin in 2010 issued following the murder of former York resident David Kato in Uganda.

"Every person has the right to enjoy safety and security regardless of their beliefs or sexual orientation - we are all created in God's image and likeness. That image is in all of us and not just in some of us.

"We are all created by the God of love, and are of infinite worth in his sight. Homosexual people in Uganda deserve the best we can give in pastoral care and friendship, and I am quite sure that the response the Church of Uganda will make will have to take account of all these realities."

The Dromantine Communique from 2005 can be found here - http://www.anglicannetwork.ca/dromantine.htm

The Primates of the Anglican Communion Statement from 2010 can be found here - http://www.aco.org/communion/primates/resources/downloads/prim_davidkato.pdf

------------------------------

Message: 24
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:17:49 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: AUSTRALIA: Bishop defends gay priest appointment
Message-ID: <201203021917...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


AUSTRALIA: Bishop defends gay priest appointment
The Anglican Bishop of Gippsland has defended his decision to appoint an openly gay priest to a local parish, saying he has acted appropriately

By ABC Gippsland
http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/02/27/3440628.htm
February 27, 2012

Bishop John McIntyre, says his decision to appoint Reverend David Head, who formerly held a position within a Melbourne parish, to the parish of Heyfield is in line with the policy of his diocese.

Bishop McIntyre's decision was criticised by a group called the Anglican Church League who, according to reports, had claimed that the appointment was in conflict with a resolution made at the Anglican Bishop's 1998 Lambeth Conference.

But Bishop McIntyre says the recommendation from that conference pertained particularly to the ordination of gay priests.

"If they think that I have acted against the Lambeth resolution, they need to think again, because I didn't actually ordain this man. He was ordained over 30 years ago in the diocese of Melbourne," Bishop McIntyre said.

"For the last nearly ten years, David has been a priest in a parish in the diocese of Melbourne where, when he was inducted into that parish the bishop of the day welcomed not only him, but his partner Mark into the life of the parish and the people of that parish were well aware that David was in that relationship, living in the vicarage of that parish.

"I see myself simply as having appointed to a position in this diocese a person who was, to use the formal language, 'a priest in good standing in his previous diocese.' To that extent I don't see myself as having acted against either the Lambeth statement, nor do I see myself as having acted against a resolution of the general synod of our national church here in Australia."

He said the Gippsland diocese had a policy of welcoming gay and lesbian people and he himself had declared that policy in a speech to his synod last year.

"The policy of this diocese as I understand it is to be inclusive and welcoming of gay and lesbian people and I said in that particular speech; 'I will continue to welcome gay and lesbian people into the life of this diocese confident that God is at work in and through all those who are open to the call of God in their lives and wanting to offer ministry in the life of our churches."

He says there is an ongoing discussion about the place of gay and lesbian people within the church.

"There are differing opinions and in fact it is probably, at the moment, the most divisive issue in the Anglican community, in the international Anglican church and I am not unaware of that."

END

------------------------------

Message: 25
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:18:49 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: HARARE: Kunonga purge on Anglicans continues
Message-ID: <201203021918...@virtueonline.org>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii


HARARE: Kunonga purge on Anglicans continues

http://www.newsday.co.zw/article/2012-02-29-kunonga-purge-on-anglicans-continues/
February 29, 2012

Excommunicated Anglican Church Bishop Nolbert Kunonga continued his onslaught on members of a rival faction after parishioners at St Andrews Arcadia Church in Harare were kicked out of their place of worship over the weekend.

Kunonga was given legal custody of church property by the Supreme Court last year and is using that to evict rival members of the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) led by Bishop Chad Gandiya.

Since his excommunication, Kunonga has taken possession of several Anglican Church buildings around the country, claiming sole custody of the property.

Church warden Margret Fransch said they had their last church service at the premises last Saturday after they were served with an eviction notice to vacate the place by February 24. She said the church was built by the community in 1957.

Eighty-four-year-old Ada Adams said: I contributed immensely at the church. I have not known any church but this one. We built the church on our own, we bought bricks so as to put up this church.

I do not even know what to say, I had to take time to be able to talk to you because I have this huge lump in my throat, so I had to take a deep breath so that I am able to talk. People were crying, it was a real emotional service we had.

We do not know what to do about this, our parents, grandparents built this church. They put in their money to build this church and now Kunonga is evicting us.

Parishioners at our sister church in St Marys were also evicted and they now use another church so we will seek other churches to give us time for us to worship.

Bishop Gandiyas spokesperson Precious Shumba deplored the move as unChristian.

Kunonga should remember that everything has an end and this harassment of church members by him shall come to an end, Shumba said.

END

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Message: 26
Date: 2 Mar 2012 14:19:49 -0500
From: da...@virtueonline.org
To: virtue...@listserv.virtueonline.org
Subject: HEALING THE BROKEN HEART (Psalm 69:20)
Message-ID: <201203021919...@virtueonline.org>
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HEALING THE BROKEN HEART (Psalm 69:20)

By Ted Schroder,
March 4, 2012

On Tuesday, December 6, last year, Antoinette and I walked past St. James's Church, Spanish Place, next to our hotel in the West End of London, and noticed that there would be a performance of Handel's Messiah that evening, by the choir of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and the Belgravia Chamber Orchestra. St. James, Spanish Place is one of my favorite churches in London, where I often drop in for prayer. Since we had never heard a performance of Messiah by a school we decided to attend. The sanctuary was almost filled with families and friends of the participants. The concert was being given in aid of the school choir's tour to California. There were 168 schoolchildren in the choir, twenty in the orchestra, and four soloists. What was extraordinary was to hear these young voices singing the Old and New Testament texts, by which Charles Jennens, who wrote the libretto for Handel, sought to illustrate the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah in the events related in the Gospels.

The juxtaposition of the young choir with the painful words describing the passion of Christ was poignant. It reminded me of all suffering, especially the suffering of the children. The tenor soloist sang: "Thy rebuke hath broken his heart, he is full of heaviness: he looked for some to have pity on him, but there was no man, neither found he any, to comfort him." (Psalm 69:20) "Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto his sorrow." (Lamentations 1:12) "He was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgressions of thy people was he stricken." (Isaiah 53:8)

Dr. Diane Komp is a pediatric oncologist who taught and practiced at the Yale University School of Medicine. When she started her career as a pediatric cancer specialist, she described herself as somewhere between agnostic and atheist. But through her experiences at the bedside of many dying children, she returned to belief in God and recognized the reality of God's love. Her teacher advised her not to attempt to deal with feelings, but simply to do the work and concentrate on that. She learned from him to keep her feelings about patients as numb as possible. One of the side effects of this approach was that her faith began to slip away with every passing child. "Over the years I have come to the conclusion that dramatic conversion to disbelief is rare. More often, faith dies from disuse atrophy, a failure to be exercised."

She treated Anna for leukemia over five years, but the end came at age seven. "Before Anna died, she mustered the final energy to sit up in her hospital bed and say: 'The angels - they're so beautiful. Mommy, can you see them? Do you hear their singing? I've never heard such beautiful singing.' Then she laid back on her pillow and died. Her parents reacted as if they had been given the most precious gift in the world." The hospital chaplain, who was more comfortable with the psychological than with the spiritual, couldn't deal with it and beat a hasty retreat. Dr. Komp found that children brought her back to the life of faith. Because of these children, her life has been changed, and she has seen other lives changed. She wrote a book as a witness to these children and their parents - A Window To Heaven: When Children See Life In Death.

David Biebel's first-born son, died in early childhood from a bizarre neurological disease, and his second son is afflicted with the same rare syndrome. In a poem entitled "Lament" this evangelical pastor asks,

Destroy. Destroy.
Our little boy,
What sad, demented mind,
unkind Would dare?
GOD?

When his second son was diagnosed with the same illness, he dared to articulate what he was actually feeling: 'If that's the way it's going to be, then God can go to hell.'

They were honest words, but they tasted like blasphemy on his tongue. As he drove to his parents' home that night to tell them that Christopher too was afflicted with the illness that took Jonathan's life, he realized the ironic truth of his 'blasphemous' words and with that realization came God's comfort. On Good Friday, at the place of the skull, God did go to hell. As David sobbed, he sensed God's message to him: "I understand, my son. I've been there already. I've felt your pain and carried your sorrows. I know your words arose from grief beyond control and I love you still and always will." (David B. Biebel, If God is So Good, Why Do I hurt So Bad?, 18)

God's heart is broken on the Cross. He entered into the heaviness, the comfortlessness of human sorrow. He was stricken for and with us. He entered into the deepest of our pain. When King Nebuchadnezzar looked into the burning fiery furnace where he had thrown Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego for not worshipping his image he asked: "Were there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire? Look. I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound, and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." (Daniel 3:24,25)

Dr. Komp writes, "Those in the fiery furnace find One who walks with them. Those who walk through the valley of the shadow of death do not walk alone. God, the Parent who so loved the world, became a co-sufferer with all parents... through the gift and death of his beloved Son."

We affirm in the Apostles' Creed: "He descended into hell." God in Christ took our humanity into the depths of despair so that he could endure the worst of suffering and sin on our behalf. "He was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgressions of thy people was he stricken." "God on a cross. Humanity at its worst. Divinity at its best..... God isn't stumped by an evil world. He doesn't gasp in amazement at the dearth of our faith or the depth of our failures. He knows the condition of the world... and loves it just the same. For when we find a place where God would never be (like on a cross), we look again and there he is, in the flesh. God on a cross? The creator of the universe sacrificing himself for his creation? How could this be? Who is this Jesus? He was - and is, a God with tears. A creator with a heart. Bloodstained royalty. A god who became earth's mockery to save his children. How absurd to think that such nobility would go to such poverty to share such a treasure with such thankless souls. How incredible to know that God himself died on a cross for his children. But he did. Incredible. Yes, incredibly, he did......

Could it be that his heart was broken for all the people who cast despairing eyes toward the dark heavens and cry the same 'Why?' Could it be that his heart was broken for the hurting? Could his desire to take on their pain have propelled him to the cross? If he could, wouldn't he have run to the cross on behalf of all the pain in the world?

I imagine him, bending close to those who hurt. I imagine him listening. I picture his eyes misting and a pierced hand brushing away a tear. And although he may offer no answer, although he may solve no dilemma, although the question may freeze painfully in midair, he who also was once alone, understands." (Max Lucado, The Cross,11,43)

END

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