..The Church of England has just released what is known as the Pilling Report, the conclusions of a Working Group commissioned by the House of Bishops to report and make recommendations on issues of human sexuality. I am sorry to say that it is very flawed. If this report is accepted I have no doubt that the Church of England, the Mother Church of the Communion, will have made a fateful decision. It will have chosen the same path as The Episcopal Church of the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada with all the heartbreak and division that will bring.
The problem is not simply that the Report proposes that parish churches should be free to hold public services for the blessing of homosexual relationships, but the way it justifies this proposal. Against the principle of Anglican teaching, right up to and beyond the Lambeth Conference of 1998, it questions the possibility that the Church can speak confidently on the basis of biblical authority and sees its teaching as essentially provisional. So Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 Lambeth conference, which affirmed that homosexual practice was ‘incompatible with Scripture’ and said it could ‘not advise the legitimisation or blessing of same sex relationships’, is undermined both in practice and in principle.
The proposal to allow public services for the blessing of same sex relationships is seen as a provisional measure and the Report recommends a two-year process of ‘facilitated conversation’ throughout the Church of England which is likened to the ‘Continuing Indaba’ project. This should be a warning to us because it highlights that the unspoken assumption of Anglican Indaba is that the voice of Scripture is not clear. This amounts to a rejection of the conviction expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles that the Bible as ‘God’s Word written’ is a clear and effective standard for faith and conduct.
As a matter of conscience, one member of the Working Group, the Rt Rev’d Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead, was unable to sign the Report. He issued a dissenting statement which I strongly endorse as an alternative way forward which honours the authority of Scripture and expresses a deep pastoral concern for the transforming power of the gospel in a society which is moving into ever greater confusion about sexual morality and identity.
We should pray earnestly that the English House of Bishops steps back from endorsing this Report, but the developing situation in the Church of England, the historic Mother Church of the Communion, underlines the need for our Global Fellowship to build on the success of GAFCON 2013 and implement our commitments. As we noted in the Nairobi Communiqué, the GFCA is becoming an ‘ important and effective instrument of Communion during a period in which other instruments of Communion have failed both to uphold gospel priorities in the Church, and to heal the divisions among us.’
we repent of our sins
and ask for saving grace
to rescue us from impending
In every imaginable way
we have strayed from your
paths; gone to bed with Satan
and allowed the Spirit of Babel
to deceive us.
Deliver us from false cries of “revelance”;
disperse the darkness with your fiery light.
Let the evil one taste
afresh the blade of your Word.
Let Christ’s truth strengthen
us, especially the brethren in
the COE. Stir hearts and raise
a mighty intercession for your
Holy Bride in the UK.
Grant wisdom to your Bishops
as they deliberate over the report
and give them, especially the ones
who love your Word, the courage
to stand firm and to
testify to the Truth. Bind them
close to yourself, as they
speak the truth in love. Let
Holy resolve prevail in this dark
Recommendation 16. We believe that there can be circumstances where a priest,
with the agreement of the relevant PCC, should be free to mark the
formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service
but should be under no obligation to do so. Some of us do not
believe that this can be extended to same sex marriage. (Paragraphs
120, 380–3) [Pilling Report Page 151]
Read it all and the 18 recommendations on pages 149 to 152
The Bishop of Birkenhead has issued a dissenting report at page 119 including:
after much prayer and soul searching, I have concluded I cannot sign.
The demonstration necropsy at the Charleston Animal Society was one element of a comprehensive program that is attracting attention nationally. The society’s education team developed the Veterinary Science Initiative, which is offered throughout Lowcountry classrooms in an effort to expose students to veterinary science and the shelter’s work.
“There aren’t a lot of resources in shelters, so if you’re going to invest time and money, you better make sure it’s effective and it hits multiple goals,” Tisa said. “The primary focus is getting kids interested in science.”
Read it all from the front page of yesterday's local paper.
As planned, the Diocese filed a motion today in response to the TEC parties' petition for rehearing before the state Supreme Court. Our response was submitted at the request of the Court. You may read it [at the link provided when you click below].
Which bill in Congress affects the deficit, abortion funding, gay rights, religious liberty, peace, nuclear arms, Israel, and even homeschooling? The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
We reviewed the lobbying activity of over 300 religious interest groups. Of the over 500 bills that these interest groups lobbied on over the past two years, the annual defense spending bills were, by far, the biggest target of their advocacy.
(Dana Gioia is one of my favorite living poets, please make sure to read, if you have not, the two previous posts both here and [especially] there)--KSH.
Roman Catholicism now ranks overwhelmingly as the largest religious denomination in the United States, with more than sixty-eight million members. (By contrast, the second largest group, Southern Baptists, has sixteen million members.) Representing almost one-quarter of the American population, Catholics also constitute the largest cultural minority in the nation. Supporting its historical claim of being the “universal” church, American Catholicism displays vast ethnic, national, linguistic, and social diversity. (In my first parish in Washington, D.C., it was not unusual at Mass to see congressional staffers, Central American immigrants, and urban homeless share the same pew.) While most Protestant churches continue to decline, Catholicism has grown steadily for the past two hundred years through a combination of immigration, births, and conversions. On purely demographic grounds, one would expect to see a huge and growing Catholic presence in the American fine arts.
If one asked an arts journalist to identify a major living painter or sculptor, playwright or choreographer, composer or poet, who was a practicing Catholic, the critic, I suspect, would be unable to offer a single name. He or she could surely identify a few ex-Catholics, such as Andres Serrano, Terrence McNally, or Mark Adamo, who use religious subject matter for satire, censure, or shock value. Catholic exposé is now a mainstream literary genre, from the farcical (Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You) to the tendentious (The Gospel of Mary Magdalene). If the question were expanded to include novelists—the most sociological of major art forms—a well-informed literary critic might offer a few names such as Ron Hansen or Alice McDermott, authors whose subject matter is often overtly Catholic. Those few figures would account for most of the Catholic artists visible in our culture. The journalist’s immediate reaction, however, would be to consider the question itself naive or silly.
When, after 27 years, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison, the world marveled at his generous spirit, even temperament, genteel manners, disarming wit, ready smile and lack of bitterness.
Admirable as they were, those saintly virtues don’t begin to explain his political genius. Mandela was also cunning, iron-willed, bull-headed, contemptuous — and more embittered than he let on. He needed all of his traits — soft and hard — to engineer a political miracle: persuading a sitting government to negotiate its own abdication by yielding power to the very people it had ruthlessly oppressed.
Mr Powell said that Mr Mandela was a guide to him when he became the first black US secretary of state:
What I liked telling people was I was the first secretary of state who happened to be black, and I put that descriptor behind the title. We have to get beyond these labels depending upon your gender or your colour or your background. I'm proud of being black, and I'm proud of being an immigrant of British subjects, but at the same time I want to be seen as an American. And I think Nelson Mandela was able to create that kind of an image within South Africa. We are not black South Africans or white South Africans, we are South Africans who happen to be black or white. We are one family, one nation, one people.
Read it all and watch the whole video clip (approximately 3 1/4 minutes).
O God, who didst give to thy servant Ambrose grace eloquently to declare thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
O God, Father of mercies, who didst so love the world that thou didst give thine only begotten Son to take our nature upon him for us men and for our salvation: Grant to us who by his first coming have been called into thy kingdom of grace, that we may always abide in him, and be found watching and ready when he shall come again to call us to thy kingdom of glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.
Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who died Thursday (Dec. 5), had a deep connection with religious institutions.
Mandela was educated, first at Clarkebury and then at Healdtown, Methodist boarding schools that provided a Christian liberal arts education.
“Both were important influences on his life,” said Presiding Bishop Zipho Siwa of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. “Indeed, after his time at Clarkebury, the young Mandela said his horizons had been broadened.”
Iain Dale: You said once that you’re always averse to the language of exclusion and what we’re called to do is love in the same way as Jesus Christ loves us, how do you reconcile that with the church’s attitude on gay marriage?
Justin Welby: I think that the problem with the gay marriage proposals is that they don’t actually include people equally, it’s called equal marriage, but the proposals in the Bill don’t do that. I think that where there is… I mean I know plenty of gay couples whose relationships are an example to plenty of other people and that’s something that’s very important, I’m not saying that gay relationships are in some way… you know that the love that there is is less than the love there is between straight couples, that would be a completely absurd thing to say. And civil partnership is a pretty… I understand why people want that to be strengthened and made more dignified, somehow more honourable in a good way. It’s not the same as marriage…
Iain Dale: But if it could be made to work in a way that’s acceptable to the church you would be open to discussions on that?
Justin Welby: We are always open to discussions, we’ve been open to discussion, we’re discussing at the moment. The historic teaching of the church around the world, and this is where I remember that I’ve got 80 million people round the world who are Anglicans, not just the one million in this country, has been that marriage in the traditional sense is between a man and woman for life. And it’s such a radical change to change that.
I think we need to find ways of affirming the value of the love that is in other relationships without taking away from the value of marriage as an institution.
One memorable grade-school performance my wife and I attended six years ago included songs about dancing penguins and prancing polar bears sung by fifth-graders dressed in white polo shirts and beige pants, interspersed with poetic student readings about snow and ice (prompting visions of isolation, hypothermia and snow blindness). Imagine a GapKids commercial directed by Ingmar Bergman.
Now, these once-festive and joyous musical events have become monochromatic affairs—both visually and artistically—devoid of any seasonal context. At last year's high-school concert, all of the student performers were dressed in black—formal yes, but also funereal. Moreover, school music directors these days, overburdened by litigation-avoidance strategies, have committed the sin (if that word is still allowed) of not just erasing religion from these concerts but of basically abandoning musicality altogether.
Much of the music is simply bad: mindless melodies and meaningless lyrics, whether saccharine and syncopated or somber and staccato. To ignore the significant body of church music composed to celebrate Christmas—from English carols to Bach cantatas to the full oratorio of Handel —borders on musical malpractice, even if it is motivated by fear of the ACLU. No matter how technically well-executed, Broadway show tunes and "Glee" versions of pop standards will never inspire hope, goodwill and renewal. Wasn't that the whole point of these annual musical celebrations?
The Pilling Report has one goal: to legitimize an ongoing dialogue about normalizing homosexual relationships in the church's life. In my opinion, this goal is incompatible with Lambeth Resolution I.10 and the position of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.
Nearly eighteen years ago, the Episcopal Church USA initiated a process called "Continuing the Dialogue" on sexuality that sounds very much like the PR's idea of "facilitated conversation." The end result of that "dialogue" was never in doubt - approval of the gay rights agenda - nor were conservatives ever more than token participants. I would ask conservatives in the Church of England one simple question: can you imagine any circumstance in which the traditional teaching of the Church on the exclusive character of Holy Matrimony will be reaffirmed as a result of this dialogue?
Although the PR is primarily addressing the Church of England, it also calls for Communion-wide dialogue - as if we had not already experienced the "Windsor process" from 2004 and the "Lambeth Indaba" in 2008. For global Anglicans to return to such a fruitless endeavor would be to deter their mission and divert attention from ongoing social issues that really do affect them. Finally, many Global South churches over the past decade provided refuge to orthodox churches and clergy in North America. They may well need to do the same for English churches and clergy as well, if the recommended listening process is adopted and has the same divisive result in the Church of England that the parallel "dialogue" has had in North America.
For these reasons, I would urge GFCA churches to leave the PR alone, to pray for brothers and sisters in the Church of England who will be affected by it, and to move forward with the ambitious agenda set forth in Nairobi. For those churches and leaders that may view the PR optimistically as a way out of the divisions facing the Anglican Communion, I can only suggest they attend the wisdom of the old limerick:
There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.
The report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality, chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, has prompted a wide range of response and criticism.
Among those who welcomed the report were groups that lobby for greater acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the Church.
The Revd Benny Hazlehurst, the secretary of the Accepting Evangelicals group, issued a statement: "We welcome this clear recognition of diversity in biblical understanding and commend the report to the whole Church. We also welcome these small steps towards church services for same-sex couples."
Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.
00:00 Anglicans have lost the Mother Church
14:38 Piling onto Pilling Report with Peter Ould
33:14 IRS and Clergy Housing Allowances with AS Haley
41:51 The National Museum in Washington DC
48:37 Closing and Bloopers
Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has presided over the blessing of a same-sex union, according to an Arlington clergywoman.
Mother Leslie J. Hague, rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Arlington was joined in “holy union” with her partner, Katie Casteel, at Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring on November 23. The afternoon blessing ceremony followed Hague and Casteel’s civil marriage in nearby Washington, DC exactly one year before. Same-sex marriages are not recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved....Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore
Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, Hitler — these were the names that, for much of the world, defined the first half of the 20th century, the most destructive era in history.
Gandhi, King, Mandela — these, it could be argued, are the figures who will live longest in the public consciousness as we look back on the postwar world: leaders who had no real armies to speak of and who wielded little power in office but who helped create a new ethic through the power of their ideas and the example of their lives.
Bishop Moses Deng Bol of Wau Diocese warned members of his diocese not to be fooled by the conmen in Yei--in the south of the country.
"How stupid then to think that you can pay for faith or sell it like market goods," he wrote in the Diocesan newsletter. "Let us be clear – salvation is a free gift that no amount of money can buy."
Bishop Deng Bol said the reports of such examples of "Prosperity Gospel" made him angry and said he was unable to stay silent about such behaviour. He added that paying for prayers was "contrary to the way God wants us to behave."
I love Twitter. You might have already guessed that, since I just finished tweeting the entire Bible, but I just felt the need to say it out loud.
A big part of why I love Twitter is the real-time exposure it gives me to interesting people, including writers whose work I have enjoyed. Here are ten Christian writers who have offered me something marvelous or cool or significant or funny in Birdland, in alphabetical order by last name.
...in any case in which you take the view that you are required by local law to disobey me, or defy my requests, you may not elect to follow the local law rather than fulfil your duty of obedience to me.
Whatever the local law may seek to impose on you, you may not agree to follow it where my lawful requirements require you to do otherwise.
A free press is basic to the health of democratic culture in the civil sphere because it offers one line of public accountability for those in public office. Those who perform immediate public acts should expect to be subject to immediate public scrutiny. And what is true for the culture at large is also true for its various subcultures. A free Christian press is also important for the Christian subculture: it keeps leaders and organizations accountable.
Of course, as with the mainstream media, there is the ideal and there is the reality....
Where the situation becomes sinister is when one group attempts to police the activities of another, or where one Christian organization or leader uses their personal power or share of the market to prevent others, with whom they are not formally connected, from speaking freely and asking the hard questions. At that point, things take a very sinister turn indeed.
Less than five percent of current world languages are in use online, according to a recent study by prominent linguist András Kornai -- and the Internet may be helping the other 95 percent to their graves.
Those startling conclusions come from a paper published in the journal PLOSOne in October titled, appropriately, “Digital Language Death.” The study sought to answer a question that’s both inherently fascinating and little-discussed: How many languages exist online? (And, on the flip side, how many don’t?)
For reference, at least 7,776 languages are in use in the greater offline world. To measure how many of those are also in use on the Internet, Kornai designed a program to crawl top-level Web domains and catalog the number of words in each language. He also analyzed Wikipedia pages, a key marker of a language’s digital vibrancy, as well as language options for things like operating systems and spell-checkers.
A long-retired first grade teacher who died a couple of years ago in Simsbury, Connecticut, lived very simply and wasn’t aware of how many riches she had – not until her lawyer discovered she was actually quite wealthy. NBC’s Harry Smith reports that she gave it away to the institutions that mattered to her the most in the community.
There are two videos and they are both well worth your time: The first may be foundhereand the second there.
The United States is appalled by today’s reports of the murder of innocent women and children outside of Bangui. This horrifying account is the latest in a string of reports that illustrate the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) that could lead to an escalation in violence and further atrocities.
We are working with our partners in the international community, including through our efforts on the United Nations Security Council, to find the swiftest and most effective vehicle for stabilizing the situation.