Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Thursday, November 30, 2006


From the Album “Zero Church”

Suzzy and Maggie Roache

From the liner notes:

“We were told that this prayer was written by Mother Theresa and inscribed on the wall of her orphanage in Calcutta. However, Sr. M. Nirmala, M.C. at the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta wrote to us and told us that she did not write this prayer. Another source said that this prayer was found by Mother Theresa’s bedside when she died, written in her own handwriting. It remains a mystery to us. This poem was given to us by Bill Bower. Its source is unknown.”

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough.
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God
It was never between you and them anyway.

The AAC and ACN respond to ++KJS (I'm shocked! SHOCKED, I say!)

The President of the American Anglican Council responds to the TEC proposal for a Primatial Vicar

Thursday November 30th 2006, 6:21 pm
Filed under: ECUSA Link to: this post

“The proposal does not take into account the heart of the issue and problem which is that Katharine Jefferts Schori has adopted a form of faith, theology and Christology that is so seriously out of step with historic Anglicanism and Christianity that it calls into question her capacity to give appropriate leadership on this matter. It keeps all the power in her hands. The proposal is to be in consultation with not the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thus she makes all the decisions. It is a non-starter.”

Canon David Anderson, President of the American Anglican Council

National Church "Response" Falls Short
From the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh

The Episcopal News Service today released a proposal responding to the request by seven Episcopal dioceses for Alternative Primatial Oversight (APO). It suggests that a “primatial vicar” be appointed by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to serve as her “designated pastor in such dioceses.” The “primatial vicar” would be accountable to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and perform those functions she chooses to delegate, such as episcopal ordinations.

“We are heartened that the national leadership of The Episcopal Church has realized the time has come for structural change. We will study this proposal,” said Bishop Robert Duncan, bishop of Pittsburgh and moderator of the Anglican Communion Network. “However, at first glance what is proposed is neither primatial, nor oversight, nor is it an alternative to the spiritual authority of one who, by both teaching and action, has expressly rejected the Windsor Report and its recommendations. This is obviously not what was asked for.” Bishop Duncan also observed that what is proposed is in fact less than what was offered and rejected at the first meeting held in New York during September.

Bishop Duncan reiterated his commitment to find a mediated solution to the crisis in The Episcopal Church. “We really do want to talk about all the issues. We want to protect everyone who is unable to travel down the path the majority of The Episcopal Church has clearly chosen, not just those in dioceses that have requested APO. We want to have this conversation and find a way forward that allows all of us to get on with our mission. We are committed to remaining in the mainstream of the Anglican Communion as we proclaim the faith once delivered to the saints,” he said.

The full text of the proposal was made available through the Episcopal News Service.



Bishops respond to "Open Letter"

ACNS 4221 USA 30 NOVEMBER 2006

Bishops develop proposal responding to 'Appeal to the Archbishop ofCanterbury'


A group of bishops, including Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, has developed a proposal responding to "An Appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury" addressing what other petitioning bishops and dioceses have termed "alternative primatial oversight" or "alternative primatial relationship."

Full texts of the group's response and accompanying statement follow here.

A Response to "An Appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury"

Some bishops and dioceses of the Episcopal Church have requested that the Archbishop of Canterbury provide what they have variously called "alternative primatial oversight" or an "alternative primatial relationship."

In consultation with the Presiding Bishop, the Archbishop of Canterbury proposed that a number of bishops from the Episcopal Church meet to explore a way forward.

A first meeting took place in September, and a second meeting in November developed the following proposal that seeks to address the concerns of those parishes and dioceses which for serious theological reasons feel a need for space, and to encourage them to remain within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Taking seriously the concerns of the petitioning bishops and dioceses, the Presiding Bishop, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury, will appoint a Primatial Vicar in episcopal orders to serve as the Presiding Bishop's designated pastor in such dioceses.

The Primatial Vicar could preside at consecrations of bishops in these dioceses. The Primatial Vicar could also serve the dioceses involved on any other appropriate matters either at the initiative of the Presiding Bishop or at the request of the petitioning dioceses.

The Primatial Vicar would be accountable to the Presiding Bishop and would report to an Advisory Panel that would consist of the designee of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop's designee, a bishop of The Episcopal Church selected by the petitioning dioceses, and the President of the House of Deputies (or designee).

This arrangement for a Primatial Vicar does not affect the administrative or other canonical duties of the Presiding Bishop except to the degree that the Presiding Bishop may wish to delegate, when appropriate, some of those duties to the Primatial Vicar.

The Primatial Vicar and the Advisory Panel shall function in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. Individual congregations who dissent from the decisions of their diocesan leadership are reminded of the availability of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight and its process of appeal.

This arrangement is provisional in nature, in effect for three years,beginning January 1, 2007. During that time, the Presiding Bishop is asked to monitor its efficacy and to consult with the House of Bishops and the Executive Council regarding this arrangement and possible future developments.


A group of bishops, including the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, gathered at the initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has developed a proposal for the appointment of a Primatial Vicar in response to those bishops and dioceses that have requested what they termed "alternative primatial oversight" or an "alternative primatial relationship."

Those present at the September meeting, in addition to Bishops Griswold and Jefferts Schori, included Bishops Peter James Lee of Virginia, and Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida, as co-conveners, and Bishops James Stanton of Dallas, Edward Salmon of South Carolina, Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, Jack Iker of Fort Worth, Dorsey Henderson of Upper SouthCarolina, Robert O'Neill of Colorado, and Mark Sisk of New York. Bishop Don Wimberly of Texas was invited but did not attend.

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion was also present at the September meeting. The same bishops and Canon Kearon were invited to the November meeting with the exception of Bishop Griswold who had completed his tenure as Presiding Bishop.

Bishop Don Johnson of West Tennessee joined the group in November. Bishops Salmon, Stanton, Iker, Duncan and Wimberly did not attend the November meeting. Bishop Lipscomb, who had been involved in the planning of the meeting, was unexpectedly hospitalized at the time of the November meeting, sent his sincere regrets, and was briefed on the meeting at its conclusion.

The proposal provides for the appointment by the Presiding Bishop, in consultation with the Archbishop of Canterbury of a Primatial Vicar as the Presiding Bishop's designated pastor to bishops and dioceses that have requested such oversight. The Primatial Vicar, in episcopal orders, could preside at consecrations of bishops in those dioceses.

The Primatial Vicar, accountable to the Presiding Bishop, would report to an advisory panel that would include the designees of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Presiding Bishop, the President of the House of Deputies, and a bishop of the Episcopal Church selected by the dioceses petitioning for pastoral care by the Primatial Vicar.

The response makes clear that the arrangement does not affect the administrative or other canonical duties of the Presiding Bishop except to the degree that the Presiding Bishop may wish to delegate some of those duties to the Primatial Vicar.

The response also specifies that the Primatial Vicar and the Advisory Panel shall function in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

The response drafted at the New York November 27th meeting is provisional in nature, beginning January 1, 2007 and continuing for three years. The New York group asked the Presiding Bishop to monitorits efficacy, and to consult with the House of Bishops and the Executive Council regarding the arrangement and possible future developments.

The response has been submitted to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the bishops of the petitioning dioceses. Bishop Lee of Virginia, co-convenor of the meetings that drafted the response said: "The group was conscious of the need to respond quickly to the needs of parishes and dioceses which felt themselves to be under pressure and sought a proposal which could be put into place without delay.

Accordingly, this is a provisional measure that is entirely within the discretion of the Presiding Bishop and requires no canonical change nor any action by the General Convention. It is intended to provide some space for dioceses and congregations that feel they need it while the Anglican Communion sorts out more lasting measures to deal with differences. Those of us who drafted it hope it will be received and used in good faith.

"Episcopal News Service -

John-David Schofield Responds to ++KJS

Bishop Schofield Responds to Bishop Schori's Letter of November 20th.

November 28, 2006

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts-Schori

The Episcopal Church Center
815 Second Ave.
New York, NY 10017

Dear Bishop Schori:

Greetings in the name of our Lord and only Savior Jesus Christ.

I am in receipt of your letter to me and wish to make clear from theoutset that I have always remained faithful to my vows as an ordained bishop in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

At my consecration, I vowed to "guard the faith, unity, and discipline ofthe Church of God." I was charged by my chief consecrator to "Feed the flock of Christ committed to [my] charge, guard and defend themin his truth, and be a faithful steward of his holy Word andSacraments."

I carry out my vow by defending and propagating "the historic Faith and Order" which The Episcopal Church commits to upholding in the preamble of its own Constitution.

In 2003, the General Convention committed itself to a theological path that is irreconcilable with the Anglican faith this Church has received and has torn the fabric of the entire Communion. The Primates repeated calls for repentance have not been heeded. More than half of the Primates and Provinces of the Anglican Communionhave declared themselves to be in impaired or broken communion with The Episcopal Church.

Beyond our Anglican Communion, relations throughout Christendom have been profoundly strained. With obvious reference to innovations and novelties introduced by The EpiscopalChurch, last week Pope Benedict XVI publically stated to Archbishop Rowan Williams that recent developments, "especially concerning ordained ministry and certain moral teachings," have affected notonly the internal relations within the Anglican Communion but alsorelations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.

The Episcopal Church, as an institution, is walking a path of apostasy and those faithful to God's Word are forced to make painful choices.

At a diocesan level, the choice is between continuing membership in an unrepentant, apostate institution or following Holy Scripture and the Anglican faith.

Whether or not the Diocese of San Joaquin will continue its institutional membership in The Episcopal Church is a choice that will be made by the people and the clergy and not by me. They will express their collective will as provided in the diocesan governing documents which were approved by the General Convention when the diocese was first admitted to membership.

It is important to point out that the vote at the Diocesan Conventionin December 2006 is neither final nor irrevocable. Should the Constitutional amendments being proposed pass the "first reading," then the diocese will simply have positioned itself to make a final decision at a second consecutive Annual Convention in 2007 if that proves God's call.

Under our diocesan constitution, the second and final reading is automatically scheduled for October 2007. The setting of the exact date may be advanced or delayed by the bishop.

There are some significant factors that would influence such a decision. First, at the meeting with the leading Primates of the Global South in Virginia, November 15-17 this year, the Global South Primates Steering Committee encouraged us by supporting our faithful stand and commitment to Christ, and they expressed a desire to be of help to usto relieve our untenable position. They have promised assistance, theform of which they will bring to the entire Primates meeting scheduled for Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in February 2007.

In the meantime, in keeping with the goals of the Windsor Report and positioning ourselves to accept the Primates' help, we are responding to the Primates who called upon us to remain flexible until the details are worked out.

An additional consideration was your letter to me. I believe you have shown wisdom and restraint by not issuing an ultimatum. Instead, you have invited further discussion which could possibly lead to somedegree of reconciliation.

In recognition of what you have proposed,I, too, will exercise restraint by not advancing the date of what could be an historic and final act. However, should proceedings be instituted against me as threatened in your letter, I would not feel obliged to exercise restraint.

My prayer is that neither of us takes action which upsets the delicate balance which now exists until the Primates have given us direction at their February 2007 meeting. Until then, powerful forces will be at work that will ultimately shape the future.

I pray that God's will be revealed to us all. You may be assured of my prayers for the Holy Spirit's wisdom andguidance.

In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. John-David M. Schofield, SSC
Bishop of San Joaquin

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Open Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

The following letter originated from The Consultation Steering Committee, a network which includes representatives from the following organizations in The Episcopal Church: Integrity, Episcopal Urban Caucus, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Women's Caucus, Union of Black Episcopalians, Episcopal Ecological Network, National Episcopal AIDS Coalition, Province VIII Indigenous Ministries, Episcopal Church Publishing Company, Episcopal Network for Economic Justice, Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry Advocates, and Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission.

To add your signature please email your name, title and organization to Marge Christie at


An open letter to the Archbishop of CanterburyRegarding requests for “alternative primatial oversight”

Dear Archbishop Williams:

We write as members of The Episcopal Church to express our deep concern about the requests for “alternative primatial oversight” that have come from eight of our dioceses since the 2006 General Convention. Such a request is unprecedented, and we believe that granting any of these requests would pose a grave danger to the Anglican Communion.

An important aspect of our Anglican identity is our comprehensiveness as a reformed and catholic church in which our unity is expressed in common prayer rather than adherence to a formal confession of faith other than the Creeds. Historically, Anglicans have been willing to live together with a wide spectrum of theological perspectives. As you remind us in your June 2006 statement “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today,” our distinctive Anglican inheritance includes “a reformed commitment to the absolute priority of the Bible for deciding doctrine, a catholic loyalty to the sacraments and the threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons, and a habit of cultural sensitivity and intellectual flexibility that does not seek to close down unexpected questions too quickly.” Drawing on these three components together, we are rooted in Christ, and our focus in Christ enables us to live with diverse and even at times conflicting points of view. Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane has recently commented: “It is because Jesus Christ, second person of the Trinity made flesh, is our goal, our end, our telos, the central focus and direction of our lives, that Anglicanism has found through the ages that we can afford to live with messiness, ambiguity and anomaly at the edges.”

Those seeking “alternative primatial oversight” are in effect asking to walk away from the messiness and ambiguity of our current disputes about gays and lesbians in the church. In so doing, they give to these questions a doctrinal weight not in keeping with historic Anglican understandings. Allowing dioceses to reject the oversight of the duly selected primate of The Episcopal Church because of disagreements about this matter would open the door for others, here and elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, to reject pastoral and sacramental leadership on the basis of non-essential matters. This would lead to fragmentation of the Anglican Communion rather than deeper unity in Christ.

Some of those requesting “alternative primatial oversight” have also claimed that The Episcopal Church has not responded adequately to the Windsor Report. However, we do not view the Windsor Report as an ultimatum dictating precise forms of response by The Episcopal Church. We remind you of Archbishop Eames’ statement in the Foreword to the Report that it is not a judgment but part of a process. We understand participation in this process to include serious study of the report and prayerful consideration of its recommendations to The Episcopal Church. We believe that The Episcopal Church did so in its preparation for and actions at the General Convention, and committed by resolution to continue to do so, even as the process continues worldwide.

As with a response to any other recommendation or resolution from one of the Instruments of Communion or other international Anglican body, our response to the Windsor Report was made in light of our understanding of Scripture, the polity of The Episcopal Church, and sensitivity to the cultural contexts of this Church. We affirmed our desire to remain in the Anglican Communion, gave our support to the process of development of an Anglican Covenant, and committed ourselves to participate in the ongoing Windsor process as well as the listening process commended by the 1978, 1988, and 1998 Lambeth Conferences and the Windsor Report. We expressed regret for straining the bonds of affection in the confirmation and consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, and we urged standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to refrain from consenting to “the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” The House of Bishops had already developed a plan for delegating episcopal pastoral oversight, and the Convention approved this plan. Although the convention did not adopt any resolutions about blessing same-sex relationships, no such liturgy has been authorized by any convention; instead, any decision to permit celebration of such a liturgy remains with the bishop, consistent with the provisions of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. In sum, we believe that the General Convention of The Episcopal Church has responded with great care to the Windsor Report, and at significant cost to some members of this Church. We urge you to reject claims that The Episcopal Church has not responded adequately to the Windsor Report, particularly as those claims become the basis for division rather than reconciliation. It is now time to allow others in the Anglican Communion, including the Instruments of Communion, to respond.

At least one of the dioceses requesting “alternative primatial oversight” has suggested the formation of a tenth province of The Episcopal Church. Creation of such a province could only occur through a canonical change enacted by the General Convention, and it is doubtful that the convention would approve the creation of a non-geographic province that is based on theological conviction. Beginning in the earliest centuries of the Church, dioceses have been formed geographically, and non-geographic dioceses and other structures have been considered anomalous. For example, during the nineteenth century, the overlapping American, English, and Canadian Anglican jurisdictions in Japan and China posed significant obstacles to missionary endeavors. More recently, the efforts of Anglicans representing the Diocese in Europe (Church of England), the Convocation of American Churches in Europe, the Lusitanian Church, and the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain have shown us the benefits made possible by coordinated efforts. Allowing dioceses of The Episcopal Church to be overseen by primates from other regions would introduce the complexities and challenges of overlapping jurisdictions that historically have presented obstacles to effective mission.

Permitting “alternative primatial oversight” would be further complicated by the reality that within each of the dioceses requesting this oversight, there are individuals and congregations who would understand themselves to remain fully within The Episcopal Church under the oversight of our Presiding Bishop. We anticipate that legal challenges would ensue, requiring significant expenditures of time and money that would be better spent on other essential matters of mission.

Finally, we feel compelled to question the premise of “alternative primatial oversight.” There is no provision in the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church for the Archbishop of Canterbury to exercise jurisdiction in this Province. In the Episcopal Church, the General Convention has sole authority to amend the Constitution and Canons, including the formation of dioceses and the assignment of dioceses to provinces within the Episcopal Church. We recognize that the Primates’ Meeting at Dromantine in February 2005 recommended that you appoint a panel of reference “to supervise the adequacy of pastoral provisions” made for dioceses in dispute with their provincial authorities. We remind you that in the Communiqué from that same meeting (par. 10) the Primates expressed caution regarding “any development which would seem to imply the creation of an international jurisdiction which could override our proper provincial autonomy.” Thus we urge that any work of the panel of reference respect the authority of the Presiding Bishop and the autonomy of The Episcopal Church.

We appreciate your support for the conversations convened in New York City in September 2006 among several bishops of The Episcopal Church, including the Presiding Bishop and the Presiding Bishop-elect, with Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion. This is an important sign that leadership in the Anglican Communion recognizes that the Archbishop of Canterbury does not have jurisdiction over the internal life of The Episcopal Church. We believe that the discussions must widen to include other clergy and lay leaders, particularly the President of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church, since our polity calls for full participation of laity as well as clergy other than bishops in decisions affecting our common life. We ask that you encourage and support a process that includes representatives of the entire Episcopal Church in discussions and decisions about the requests for “alternative primatial oversight.”

We recognize, as you have pointed out in “The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today,” that there continue to be strains in relationships within The Episcopal Church as well as between Churches of the Anglican Communion, and that we continue to be bound together through many different informal networks as well as more formal relationships such as companion dioceses. It is our fervent prayer that we continue to grow more deeply into the unity and the truth that are Christ’s gift. We believe that granting requests for “alternative primatial oversight” would undermine our ability to receive these gifts of truth and unity, and we urge you not to authorize any such plan.

xc: The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate
Ms. Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies of the General Convention

The Rev. Dr. W. Robert Abstein, interim rector, St. Ann 's Episcopal Church, Nashville

Dianne Aid, Franciscan Tertiary; Episcopal Church Ethnic Ministries and Peace and Justice Networks

The Rev. Stephen G. Alexander, retired, Diocese of Lexington

The Rev. Canon Dr. Norman Alexandre, Diocese of Oklahoma , Ret.

Calvilyn Y. Allmon, senior warden, Church of the Holy Comforter, Monteagle , TN

The Rev. Dr. David A. Ames, interim rector, St. Mark's Church, Riverside , RI

Dr. Owanah Anderson, retired, vestry member, All Saints Episcopal Church, Diocese of Fort Worth

The Rev. Mark S. Anschutz, former rector, Saint Michael and All Angels Church, Dallas
Peggy Anschutz, Saint Mary's Church, Barnstable , MA

Br. Anthony-Francis, solitary in the Diocese of New York

Patricia L. Bailey, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church , Greensboro , NC

Ann Fields Baker, president, The Oasis Mo., a diocesan-related institution in the Diocese of Missouri

The Rev. M. Clark Baker, retired, Diocese of Tennessee

Terri Jo Barron, Holy Comforter, Diocese of Florida

The Rt. Rev. Allen Bartlett, bishop of Pennsylvania (Ret.), Diocese of Pennsylvania

William H. Bartosh, lay-vicar, St Matt's, San Ardo , CA (Diocese of El Camino Real)

Dianne C. Betts, Ph.D., Dallas , TX

The Rev. Mary Margaret Blanchard, Diocese of East Tennessee

William R. Boling, Jacksonville , FL

Bruce O. Boston, St. Anne's Episcopal Church, Reston , VA

Donna Bott, moderator, Episcopal Voices of Central Florida

Susan J. Boulden, diocesan coordinator, Integrity/Pittsburgh

The Rt. Rev. David C. Bowman, IX Bishop of Western New York , retired; assisting bishop of Ohio

The Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd

The Rev. Lyn G. Brakeman, priest associate, St. John 's Episcopal Church, Gloucester , MA

Fr Richard S. Brooks, retired, Concordia, KS

The Very Rev. Dr. Donald G. Brown, Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento , CA (retired)

Dr. Harold H. "Brownie" Brown, St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, Diocese of Maine

The Rev. Daniel Burke, retired priest, canonically resident in the Diocese of Rhode Island

Thomas E. Camp, communicant of ECUSA; member, Otey Memorial Parish, Sewanee , TN

The Rev. Peter Carey, assisting priest, Church of the Holy Apostles, New York City

John G. Carroll, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, St. Louis , MO

The Rev. R. William Carroll, Ph.D., rector, The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Athens, OH

The Rev. Phillip C. Cato, Ph.D., Potomac , MD

Richard A. Cavender, Christ Church Episcopal, Rolla , MO

Gretchen R. Chateau, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Orlando , FL ; member, Episcopal Voices of Central Florida

The Rev. Dr. Ken Clark, retired canon theologian and sometimes dean, St. John's Cathedral, Albuquerque , NM

Barbi Click, vice president South Central Region Integrity USA ; membership chair of Fort Worth Via Media

The Ernest W. Cockrell, rector, Saint Andrew's Church, Saratoga , CA

Kathleen Connor, Calvary Church , Diocese of Pittsburgh

Nancy Gailor Cortner, Cathedral Church , St. John the Divine, New York

The Rev. Barbara C. Crafton, Metuchen , NJ

Louie Crew, Ph.D., D.D., D.H.L., chair, Newark Deputation of General Convention; secretary, Joint Standing Committee on Nominations of the GC

The Rev. William E. Crews, priest, Episcopal Church, retired

Kathryn J. Davidson-Bond, president, Dame Julian Chapter, Daughters of the King; LEM/LEV, St. Richard's Episcopal Church, Winter Park , FL

Lionel E. Deimel, Ph.D., board member and past president, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh; member, Via Media USA Alliance

The Rev. Elizabeth Morris Downie, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Grand Blanc , MI

The Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Downs, rector, St. Richard's Episcopal Church, Winter Park , FL

The Rev. William E. Exner, National Executive Committee of Episcopal Peace Fellowship

The Rev. Robin Flocken, rector, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Cazenovia , NY

The Rev. David K. Fly, Diocese of Missouri ; president, The Episcopal Majority

Kathleen Flynn, secretary, St Luke's Episcopal Church, Mulberry, FL

The Rev. Ann Fontaine, Diocese of Wyoming

Lisa L. Fox, Grace Episcopal Church, Jefferson City, MO; steering committee of The Episcopal Majority

Hansheinrich A. Franzen, Poughquag , NY

Linda Getts, treasurer, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia A. Gilliatt, non-stipendiary, Diocese of Virginia

Joe T. Gilliland, Asheville , NC

Elizabeth K. Gordon, minister of communion, Christ & Holy Trinity Church , Westport , CT

Marjorie F. Greene, Tallahassee , FL ; St. Johns Episcopal Church

Andrew Grimmke, Diocese of Atlanta

Gordon W. Gritter, lay deputy to General Convention, Diocese of El Camino Real

Joan R. Gundersen, Ph.D., Diocese of Pittsburgh

The Rev. Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG, vicar, Saint James Fordham, Bronx , NY

The Rev. W. Richard Hamlin, Ph.D., rector, St. Michael's, Lansing , MI ; standing committee member, Diocese of Michigan

Joanna Hynes Haas, LEM/LEV, Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles, Satellite Beach , FL

Tom Hardin, parishioner, St. Ann 's Episcopal Church, Nashville , TN

Patricia Hatfield, Grace Episcopal Church and Episcopal Voice of Central Florida

The Rev. Michael W. Hopkins, rector, The Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene, Rochester, NY

Ardelle D. Hopson, parishioner, Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh, PA; member, Diocesan Council and Growth Fund (Board of Trustees), Diocese of Pittsburgh

The Rev. Canon David C. James, rector, St. John's Episcopal Church and Diocesan Mission Center, Olympia, WA

The Rev. Dr. David L. Jeffery, priest-in-charge, St Luke's Episcopal Church, Jacksonville , FL

The Rev. Pegram Johnson III, Ph.D., retired, Diocese of Washington

Janis L. Jones, former lay deputy alternate to General Conventions, Diocese of Los Angeles

Thomas H. Justice III, past senior warden, capital campaign committee chairman, LEM, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Orlando, FL; Diocese of Central Florida

The Rev. Elizabeth Kaeton, president, The Episcopal Women's Caucus

Carole Sue King, LEV, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, New Hope , PA

The Rev. John L. Kirkley, rector, The Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, San Francisco

Daniel W. Land, lay deputy to General convention, Diocese of Wyoming

The Rev. Joseph A. Lane, rector, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Belmont, CA; steering committee member, Claiming the Blessing

Nancy Lapp, board member, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh

John V. Larson, sr. warden, St. John the Evangelist, Lockport IL ; member, Diocesan Council, Diocese of Chicago

The Rev. Dr. Katherine M. Lehman, rector, St Bede's, Menlo Park, CA; representative, Consultation from Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission

William H. Lorentz, NJ Dep. Atty. Gen. (Ret.); St. George's Episcopal Church, Maplewood , NJ

Nancy Lowry, Diocese of Western Massachusetts

Martha Maddox, member, St. John's Episcopal Church
Knute E. Malmborg, vestry member, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, St. Petersburg, FL

Mary D. Malmborg, treasurer, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, St. Petersburg , FL

Susan Mangam STR, solitary religious, Episcopal Diocese of Maine

Judy Wright Mathews, Diocese of Florida , Holy Comforter Episcopal Church; steering committee member, The Episcopal Majority

The Rev. Charles Scott May, All Saints Church, Atlanta , GA , Diocese of Atlanta

Dennis A. McAndrew, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh

The Rev. Eleanor L. McLaughlin, Ph.D., rector, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Berlin , NH

The Rt. Rev. Charlie F. McNutt, VIII Bishop of Central Pennsylvania , Retired

Ruth A. Meyers, academic dean and professor of liturgics, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary

Mary H. Miller, coordinator, The Consultation

The Rev. Ronald H. Miller, Ph. D., editor, ISSUES 2006, Diocese of Maryland (retired); part-time interim, Church of St. Katherine of Alexandria , Baltimore

The Rev. Michael B. Milligan, rector, Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Diocese of Utah

The Rev. Charles H. Morris, D. Min., assisting priest, Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Lake Saint Louis , MO

Philip G. E. Nicholson, Poughquag , NY

The Rev. Dr. C. Patrick Ormos, deputy, 2006 General Convention; rector, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Valparaiso, IN; regional dean, Michigan City Deanery, Diocese of Northern Indiana

La wren ce Peter, Jr., Episcopal Voices of Central Florida

Marguerite W. Peter, Episcopal Voices of Central Florida

The Rev. Kathryn A. Piccard, Boston , MA

Charlotte Pierce, St. Brendan's Episcopal Church, Diocese of Pittsburgh

Robert Pierce, St. Brendan's Episcopal Church, Diocese of Pittsburgh

Diane Pollard, The Consultation, Episcopal Urban Caucus

Leslie Poole, Diocese of Central Florida

The Rev. Daniel Prechtel, D. Min., chaplain, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary; senior. associate, Lamb & Lion Spiritual Guidance Ministries, Evanston , IL

Dr. Charlotte Pressler, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church , Bartow , FL

Alice Ramser, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh

Ann Ray, layperson, The Episcopal Church

Nigel A. Renton, lay deputy, Diocese of California

Mendy Richards, St. Michael's, Cookeville , Diocese of Tennessee

The Rev. Reynold H. Richaud, Trinity Episcopal Church , Clarksville , TN

The Rev. Nancy Roth, author, retreat leader, assisting priest, Christ Church , Oberlin , OH

The Rev. Susan Russell, president, Integrity USA

The Rev. Jason W. Samuel, standing committee member, Diocese of Missouri; The Oasis Missouri; The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Lake Saint Louis, MO

Anthony P. Saponate (Tony), lay-vicar, St Matt's, San Ardo , CA (Diocese of El Camino Real)

Robert Christian Senay, vestry member/organist, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Canonsburg, PA; editor of PEP Talk, Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh

Katie Sherrod, Fort Worth , TX ; Claiming the Blessing

The Rev. Richard J. Simeone, rector, St. John's Episcopal Church, Gloucester , MA

The Rev. Robert R. Smith, rector, Church of the Holy Communion, Norwood , NJ

The Rev. Walter Evans Smith, LMFT, FAGPA, priest, Diocese of Atlanta

The Rev. Diane J. Souder, priest, canonical residence in Arizona

The Rev. Anne G. Stanley, rector, Christ Church Episcopal, Norway , ME

William A. Stevens, director of the altar guild, Calvary Episcopal Church, Pittsburgh , PA

Kenneth Stiles, Calvary Episcopal Church, Diocese of Pittsburgh

Duane St. John, parishioner, St. Andrew's By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Destin , FL

Nancy St. John, parishioner, St. Andrew's By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Destin , FL

The Rev. James V. Stockton, rector, The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Austin , Texas

The Rev. George Gaines Swanson, priest, Diocese of Newark

The Rev. John D. Talbird, Jr., (Ret.) Diocese of East Tennessee

Richard N. Taliaferro, Jr., theologian-in-residence, Trinity Episcopal Church , Arlington , VA

The Rev. Cabell Tennis, Delaware IX

The Rev. Canon Richard F. Tombaugh, Diocese of Connecticut

Mr. Peter Tringham, Fort Worth Via Media

Mrs. Peter Tringham, Fort Worth Via Media

Clydie Walker, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Diocese of Fort Worth ( Texas )

Sarah Walker, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Diocese of Fort Worth ( Texas )

The Rev. Stephen J. Waller, rector, St. Thomas the Apostle, Dallas , TX

The Rev. Ann Walling, assistant to the rector, St. David's Episcopal Church, Nashville , TN

W. E. Weems II, St. Ann 's Episcopal Church, Diocese of Tennessee

The Rt. Rev. O'Kelley Whitaker, Diocese of Central New York (resigned)

Christopher I. Wilkins, Ph.D., facilitator, Via Media USA

Pierce Lee Williams, III, Episcopal Voices of Central Florida and Christ the King Episcopal Church, Orlando

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A probably pointless (but not stupid) argument about the Bishop Elect of South Carolina

First of all, the readers of this blog must know that I love Tony Clavier.

Who is Tony Clavier, you ask? Ah, let me tell you.

Tony is, first and foremost, an amazing human being. A child of God, he is the very embodiment of one who keenly understands that the treasure of the inheritance of our baptism comes from Christ and the richness of the legacy of our faith comes from the Anglican Church.

As Christians who are Anglicans, we are abundantly blessed.

Tony has paid his dues, many times over. A priest in the Church of England, he left over the ordination of women to become, for 20 years, a Bishop in the Reformed Anglican Church. After a serious illness left him hospitalized, he experienced a conversion, having been visited by a Chaplain who happened to be a woman.

As a wise person once said, there are no coincidences.

When he "confessed" his newfound faith in the ordained status of women, there ensued a scandle and controversey, which kicked him out of the church and onto the street. (See above aphorism about there being no coincidences.)

Long story short: Newly minted presiding bishop Frank Tracy Griswold recieved him and he became the Episcopal priest in charge of a flock in Arkansas.

His journey has been, for lack of a better word, interesting, if not absolutely fascinating. He is now rector of a church in West Virginia, via a short stint working for The Convocation of American Churches in Europe.

I first met Tony at a gathering of the New Commandment Task Force - back when The Episcopal Church seemed serious about reconciliation - and I instantly fell in love.

Hear me clearly: Tony and I disagree on almost every major doctrine of the Christian church. But, we love each other, pray daily for each other and absolutely cherish being priests in the same church together.

We've been having conversations, the good parson and I - about the election of the bishop coadjutor in the diocese of South Carolina. As a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Newark, I take these conversations quite seriously.

For those of you who may not know, the election of any bishop must be confirmed by a simple majority of bishops with juridsidiction and Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church.

The argument against the confirmation of bishop-elect Mark Lawrence has been confused by the politicized arguments which are alive in our church, the worst of which is the argument that Mark Lawrence's "manner of life" - i.e., that his evangelical, neo-Puritan, quasi-orthodox theology is contrary to the doctrine and discipline of The Episcopal Church.

Indeed, what follows is my response to Tony's most pertinent question:

"What does 'manner of life' mean?"

I reponded: "The definition is painfully clear to any LGBT person who is discerning a vocation to the episcopacy.

I agree that it does not apply to the election in South Carolina.

It's a rather limp rhetorical argument designed to reveal the obvious:

That B033 was a stupid, desperate (and ultimately failed) attempt to calm the baptismal water across the Pond and in the Global South.

However, there are other concerns which mitigate against confirming the election of a man who, while clearly called to and capable of the office of the episcopacy, does not want to be a bishop in TEC.

Among other quotes, he has said that the ministry of a bishop is that of a pontiff, a bridge builder; that one can not build a bridge to nowhere and TEC is going nowhere.

So the question remains - for all bishops with jurisdiction and all Standing Committees:

Why confirm the election of a bishop to TEC who can not uphold the doctrine and discipline, much less the constitution and canons, of TEC?

That was decidedly NOT the question in the confirmation of Bishop Robinson.

Neither has it been a question with any of the other controversial elections such as that of Mr. Iker or Mr. Schofield, or even Bishop Barbara Harris - all of which could be said to have been concerned with 'heresy'.

Heresy can lead to schism, but it is not, in and of itself, schismatic.

The Church has lived with all sort and manner of heresy for centuries, thank you very much. Indeed, the 'church militant here on earth', Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant, lives in a continual state of heresy. (What are the words to that great hymn? ". . .by heresies distressed."

What the election of Mr. Lawrence represents is not heresy.

It is schism, flat out.

Indeed, why should we confirm the election of anyone to the episcopacy in TEC when to do that would be to ratify and endorse schism?

Now, there's the question we need to carefully consider."

As a member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Newark, I pledge to you that I will be carefully considering this question.

If any of you can show just cause why this man, who has pledged to take the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina out of the Episcopal Church, ought to have his election as bishop in the Episcopal Church confirmed, please do let me know.

I do not take this matter lightly or inadvisedly.

I trust you do not, as well.

For more information on the argument against the confirmation of the South Carolina election, visit "Thinking Anglicans"


Friday, November 24, 2006


Megan Elisabeth Sanders
Staff Seminarian
The Episcopal Church of St. Paul
Chatham, NJ
19 November 2006

“This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.”

When I was a little girl, I lived in Washington, DC with my mom. It was an amazing place to grow up, and I loved it. But you all know what it means when you live near a big city…people come to visit you! All the time.

Whenever anyone would visit us, my mom would be a perfect tour guide and take them to every museum and every site in town. And I would be forced to tag along. Every time.

I would follow the crowd and do my best to smile and have fun with our visitors…and I always knew that the reward was coming. The reward was in the gift shop at our ceremonial last stop on the tour…freeze dried ice cream at the Air and Space Museum. If you’ve never had it, I think you can order it online now. It is the best reward ever after a long day of following grown-ups around the city.

So I would get my ice cream, and my mom sent me to sit in my favorite spot, in the front of the museum by the moon rock that you can touch. I would lean back and look up at all of the planes above me as I waited to go home.

My favorite plane to gaze at was the roundish orange one that Chuck Yeager flew when he broke the sound barrier…the X-1. And, as it turns out, Chuck Yeager has a lot to say about today’s gospel!

Elizabeth and I were talking about this last week…in his autobiography, Yeager says that just before you break the sound barrier, the entire cockpit begins to shake. The closer you get to breaking the barrier, the more violently the entire airplane shakes, until you fear that it will simply come apart. When you break the barrier, he says, there is a sense of enormous peace and calm, and you know that you have entered a new reality.

So whether you’re trying to break the speed of sound, or you’re trying to break through in to new life, it takes work to break through. And it doesn’t always work the 1st time or the 50th time…Chuck Yeager certainly knows that.

But this is the moment in the sermon where we remember the very important point that everything in life worth doing at all is worth the work it takes to get there.

Mary Hulst, a minister in the Christian Reformed Church, writes that it’s also important to remember, in light of this gospel, that as painful as birthpangs may be (although I’ve never had them), they are signals that the mother’s body is doing exactly what it is supposed to do to bring forth the new life waiting to break through. Jesus uses this metaphor as he describes what horrible things must take place – but the end, he says, is still to come.

God’s Kingdom come. God’s will be done. We pray these words all the time. When I was living in Pensacola, FL working as a hospital chaplain before I came to seminary, I was trying so hard to be calm in my prayers to God that I be sent to pursue holy orders. And it seemed impossible to truly be calm.

I began praying part of the Lord’s Prayer in silence. Breathing in – Thy Kingdom come. Breathing out – Thy will be done. That my life would be an offering to God for those things to happen. To really happen! No wonder Jesus uses birthpangs as his metaphor of choice…these things he’s saying will happen, the wars, the earthquakes, the famines, and the false prophets inviting us to follow them…these catastrophes normally signal that things are very wrong.

But Jesus is telling us that these signs should reassure us that everything is working as it should. Humanity is still humanity. We continue to hurt one another and we continue to abuse and hoard our natural resources. Jesus is telling us to be reassured because he knows that the destruction is not the end of the story.

Jesus expects us to understand that these birthpangs – these prophesies of persecution and distress – are the labor pains necessary to bring about his return at the end of the age. He’s telling us that if the suffering is true, than the new life to come is true as well.

Now, this does not mean we should take lightly the pain that happens around the world and in our own communities. Sometimes our birthpangs do not bring forth new life in this life. Wars rage. Loved ones die. In the midst of breathing God’s Kingdom in to our lives and God’s will be done in to the world, we must seek with all our strength to relieve the suffering of those in pain and we must work tirelessly to promote that true shalom – that peace with justice that our new Presiding Bishop speaks about – we must work for peace with justice in every land.

So I think, and not just because it’s stewardship Sunday, I think that this gospel is really about proclaiming the Kingdom of God – God’s Kingdom come, God’s will be done. It’s about putting our money where our mouth is when we say that we believe in God through the life, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Frankly speaking, we put a lot of things on the line in the name of God. But our money? I don’t know about that.

I was talking with Allison Pishko yesterday about this gospel and she was recalling a question that’s appropriate for all of us this morning: What do I do with all that I have when I say that I believe?

When we believe in God in this community, we believe in the whole package – Creation, Life, Death, Eternal Life. We believe because of our history, our experience, and because the writer of Hebrews tells us that God has put God’s in our hearts, and written them on our minds.

We are not charged to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest all of the things we’ve seen and heard today all by ourselves. We have one another, and we have the Holy Spirit to write on our hearts that which we cannot know on our own.

So as we barrel ahead here at St. Paul’s, in the Diocese of Newark, in the Episcopal Church, and in the Worldwide Anglican Communion at the speed of sound, and we seem to be coming apart at the seams, let us rest together and know that Our Lord Jesus Christ will keep us woven together during this life and in the new life to come.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thank you

Thank you, Christopher.

Thank you for pulling the picutres and the story off your Weblog.

Thank you for admitting you were wrong.

Thank you for apologizing.

You have lived into your baptismal covenant. That's never an easy thing to do. Well done, sir.

We are Episcopalians and Anglicans. We can agree to disagree. That is in our spiritual DNA.

An important lesson learned is one my grandmother always taught: "You never make yourself look good by making another person look bad."

Your sister in Christ,


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Well, that was fast!

I am informed by the author of the Weblog APOSTOLICITY that the offending pictures (and all of the comments) have been removed.

"I take your point," he said, protesting, "It was meant in jest."


He was also fairly incredulous at the thought that I hadn't seen the film, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Indeed, I have.

Actually, I'm sure he found this hard to believe, my being a girl and all, but I've actually read the entire series of books by C.S. Lewis.

Several times.

I think seeing the movie was suppose to have made a difference in my understanding his humor.

It's still not funny. It remains deeply offensive. As do the comments about rape, which he left up because, even though he admits they are "over the top," he didn't write them. Indeed, they were written, he claims, by a member of the Via Media Group in his diocese.

I know. You just can't make this stuff up.

You know, I've been saving this cartoon drawing of Anglican Dialogue for an appropriate time. This seems as good a time as any to trot it out.

See? This is how conversation is supposed to go. All in good order and decency. Both sides making every attempt to meet somewhere in the middle. Indeed, until just recently, this has been the hallmark of conversation in The Episcopal Church in particular and in The Anglican Communion in general.

Remember? I know, it seems a long, long time ago on a planet in a galaxy far, far away, but I do remember. Do you?

It's really hard to find common ground when your beginning point of discussion is to the right of Atilla the Hun and you are hell bent on the destruction of The Episcopal Church you claim to love.

Maybe if we hold each other accountable when we cross the line, we'll have a better chance of finding our way back to the middle again.

It takes work and vigilance and patience, but, I think it's worth the effort.

I think I'll go light a candle now. I don't know about you, but right about now I need a little flicker of light in the darkness.

Calling A Brother Into Account

Sisters and Brothers,

I don't normally do this.

I am quite used to being vilified by the folks in pews on the Far Right of the Church. There are several Conservative Weblogs who say such hateful things about me and the people I love that normally, I don't even bother to read them.

Not to worry, I won't even send you there (but you know who you are).

Trash. The lot of it. Not worth a moment's consideration by anyone.

Besides, most of it is the same handful of people who are so hurt and angry they can only spew their venom back and forth at each other.

I understand the feeling. I was once in that same emotional space, but from the other end of the spectrum. And then, I rediscovered Jesus and it changed my life.

But that's another story for another day.

What's fascinating is that these folk claim to have found Jesus AND THEN they got ugly and mean-spirited and bigoted.

There are just some mysteries to a personal profession of faith I'll just never quite understand.

You know, even the Weblog of Kendall Harmon, the Theologian of the neo-Puritan, orthodox evangelical movement, has "Web Elves" who censure those who cross the boundaries of good taste and decency.

And, censure they do. With blessed regularity. (Thank you, elves. You know who you are and I know you monitor this blog.)

No one has to concern themselves, however, with censuring Kendall. Like him or not, agree with him or not, Kendall is a scholar and a gentleman, and his behavior is reflective of that.

Not so with all the brethren.

Take a look at APOSTOLICITY (

This is, at the very least, conduct most unbecoming a Christian, much less one who is ordained in a position of leadership.

You'll instantly recognize the face of our Presiding Bishop in what has been described to me by the Weblog Author as "visual satire."

One of his fans says she thinks this is not only "hilarious," it is yet one more piece of evidence that "reasserters" (that's "orthodox-talk" for liberal/progressives) have no sense of humor.

(Gee, I seem to remember that claim in the early days of the feminist movement. You know,I think what really angers me most is that these folks have absolutely no originality or creativity. They really think they have ORIGINAL THOUGHTS.)

Scroll down to the very end of this WEBLOG to see his interpretation of the Investiture Service (it continues the 'witch/amazon' theme), but don't miss the comments on the picture of +KJS with the Native American Headdress asking for submissions for captions.

The proposed caption about rape is particularly scurrilous - misogynist as well as racist.

I'm absolutely aghast. No matter where you are on the theological spectrum,I trust you will be as well.

You will note that I have tried to communicate my distress to The Weblog owner. He has responded that he is of the opinion that I need to "lighten up."

I understand his anger and the outrage. I do. I'm not a fan of censure. However, there have to be healthier, more appropriate ways to publicly express one's emotions - especially for one who is entrusted as an ordained leader in the church.

I mean, this is not Jay Leno and the Tonight Show! It's not a frat party! This is an Episcopal priest and this is the Episcopal Church.

All I can do is repeat the response US Army attorney, Joseph Welch made to Senator Joseph McCarthy, from another time of insanity in this country:

"Until this moment, Senator, I think I never gauged your cruelty or recklessness. . . You've done enough . . . .Have you no decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

Indeed, I think his bishop, if he isn't already, ought to be made aware of the contents of this Weblog. It's an embarassment to the church - not to mention placing the authors of the comments and this Weblog in jeopardy of cannoical charges of "conduct unbecoming."

I hope you leave your opinion of this blog with him in the comments section.

Perhaps the most loving thing anyone can do is to call this brother into account.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Light A Candle

"It is better to . . . .

. . . than to curse the darkness.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are the times I would walk into church with my Grandmother and see the rows of flickering votive candles over in the side chapel.

It was an instant reminder that this, in fact, is a place of prayer. After we found "our" pew, knelt down, took our rosaries out of our pockets and blessed ourselves, my grandmother would always lean her face gently to my ear and, pointing to the candles, whisper, "Now, before you make your own prayers, remember to pray for all the people who have left their petitions here."

There was something wondrously comforting in that. This was a place where you could leave your petitions of prayers and someone would take them up where you left off. And, you would do the same for them.

I remember once asking my grandmother, "But, VaVoa, what happens when the church is empty? Who prays for these petitions when no one is here?"

"Ah," she'd smile gently, "but, the church is never empty, my little one. This is God's house. Jesus is always here. And, so are all the Saints."

It's a lovely little ritual that I didn't know I was missing until just today.

I recently discovered a website called Gratefulness.Org which has a wonderful link which enables you to Light a Candle in Cyberspace.

I find myself comforted by the thought that people who visit this place in cyberspace can take a moment from their busy lives and participate in the ancient ritual of lighing a candle of hope against the darkness of the world.

If the church isn't about hope, then it really has no right to call itself church.

So, welcome to this wonderful little ritual. Scroll to the place under my picture and go to the LINKS section. Click on "LIGHT A CANDLE" and then follow the directions.

Take your time. Breathe. Pray.

And, if you see other candles lit there, before you make your own prayers, remember to pray for all the people who have left their petitions.

Emily Dickinson wrote, "Hope is a thing with feathers."

Pauli Murray wrote, "Hope is a song in a weary throat."

Inspired by them both, I found myself writing this:

Hope is a flicker of light in the darkness.

May you know hope this day.

Enter this quiet space, that you may surrender your anxieties and despair and become a prisoner of hope.

Monday, November 20, 2006

++KJS: A Presiding Bishop With Ovaries!


San Joaquin bishop sent letter from Presiding Bishop
Episcopal News Service
Issue Section:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori -- concerned by current affairs in the Fresno-based Diocese of San Joaquin, California -- has written to its bishop, the Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield. The diocese, which is scheduled to meet in convention December 1-2, includes an estimated 10,000 Episcopalians in some 48 congregations. The text of Jefferts Schori's November 20 letter follows.

November 20, 2006

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield
Diocese of San Joaquin
4159 E. Dakota Avenue
Fresno, California 93726

My dear brother:

I have seen reports of your letter to parishes in the Diocese of San Joaquin, which apparently urges delegates to your upcoming Diocesan Convention to take action to leave the Episcopal Church. I would ask you to confirm the accuracy of those reports. If true, you must be aware that such action would likely be seen as a violation of your ordination vows to "uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them." I must strongly urge you to consider the consequences of such action, not only for yourself but especially for all of the Episcopalians under your pastoral charge and care.

I certainly understand that you personally disagree with decisions by General Conventions over the past 30 and more years. You have, however, taken vows three times over that period to uphold the "doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church." If you now feel that you can no longer do so, the more honorable course would be to renounce your orders in this Church and seek a home elsewhere. Your public assertion that your duty is to violate those vows puts many, many people at hazard of profound spiritual violence. I urge you, as a pastor, to consider that hazard with the utmost gravity.

As you contemplate this action I would also remind you of the trust which you and I both hold for those who have come before and those who will come after us. None of us has received the property held by the Church today to use as we will. We have received it as stewards, for those who enjoy it today and those who will be blessed by the ministry its use will permit in the future. Our forebears did not build churches or give memorials with the intent that they be removed from the Episcopal Church. Nor did our forebears give liberally to fund endowments with the intent that they be consumed by litigation.

The Church will endure whatever decision you make in San Joaquin. The people who are its members, however, will suffer in the midst of this conflict, and probably suffer unnecessarily. Jesus calls us to take up our crosses daily, but not in the service of division and antagonism. He calls us to take up our crosses in his service of reconciling the world to God. Would that you might lead the people of San Joaquin toward decisions that build up the Body, that bring abundant life to those within and beyond our Church, that restore us to oneness.

I stand ready for conversation and reconciliation. May God bless your deliberation.

I remain

Your servant in Christ,


The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Why Jesus Wept: The Challenge of Organized Religion

Roman Catholics were recently advised they are "unworthy recipients" of the Eucharist and should "refrain from receiving the sacrament" of Holy Communion if they are divorced, "invalidly married," engaging in sex outside of marriage, believe in or practice reproductive rights, or have "homosexual inclinations" and are "inherently disordered."

Apparently, though, it's okay to have "honest doubts and confusion" but not honesty or authenticity.

"To be a Catholic is a challenge," said Paterson (NJ) Bishop Arthur Serratelli, in what was unanimously voted the "Understatement of the Year" by my Roman Catholic friends.

Ah, yes, but is their "manner of life a challenge to the Wider Anglican Communion"? Just try and avoid the subtleties of THAT! Now, there's the REAL challenge!


Bishops' meeting OK's 'core belief' documents
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Star-Ledger Staff

BALTIMORE -- Reaching out to Catholics who ignore or just don't know important church teachings, American bishops yesterday approved documents on birth control, Communion and homosexuality.

One document restates church opposition to artificial birth control. Another urges Catholics who ultimately reject core religious beliefs not to receive Communion. A third welcomes gay people into parishes, while opposing same-sex marriage and offending some gay-rights activists in its tone.

All three issues have proved vexing for a hierarchy dealing with a generally resistant population of American Catholics, who in polls tend to oppose the church stance on issues of sexuality.

Paterson Bishop Arthur Serratelli, who chaired the American bishops' Committee on Doctrine and guided the documents on Communion and homosexuality to approval here, said he hopes American Catholics will view them as positive statements of Catholic faith and will begin to adhere to them if they don't already.

"To be a Catholic is a challenge," Serratelli said yesterday, the second day of the annual fall bishops conference. "To be a Catholic requires a certain choice. And these are the choices that are consistent with the gospel of Jesus as handed down in the church."

The statements contain little that will seem new to attentive Catholics, but they reiterate church teachings that bishops find especially relevant to Catholics in the United States, where, they say, sex and religion are treated casually and moral relativism holds too much sway.

Writers of the document on homosexuality tried to walk a delicate line, repeating church belief that "homosexual inclinations" are "objectively disordered" while trying not to alienate gay people. The document speaks of the need to welcome gays in parishes, lamented violence against them in society, and criticized all sex outside marriage, including that between heterosexual people.

But the tone in parts of the document, titled "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care," upset gay-rights activists, who pointed to the title itself as an indication of a continued hard line. They also bristled at a line saying adopted children of same-sex parents could be baptized, but doing so "presents a pastoral concern" requiring a pastor's "prudential judgment."

"It's a flawed document," said Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, a Maryland organization for gay and lesbian Catholics. "Right from the title, by using the word 'inclination' rather than 'orientation,' the bishops are showing that they don't have a good understanding of homosexuality. And if they don't have a good understanding of homosexuality, they're unable to write effective pastoral guidelines."

The document on Communion urges lay Catholics to refrain from receiving the sacrament if they decide they do not believe core church teachings -- the divinity of Jesus, for example, and opposition to abortion and artificial contraception. Its goal, Serratelli said, is to inspire people to take Communion more seriously.

Communion is the heart of the Catholic Mass, a sacred rite by which Catholics experience Jesus. Catholicism teaches that priests can consecrate bread and wine to become the actual body and blood of Jesus. Unworthy receipt of Communion is viewed in the church as a grave matter.

The Communion document calls on lay Catholics to determine, before going up for Communion, whether they are properly disposed to receive it.

The document says that people "with honest doubt and confusion" about church teachings should continue receiving Communion "as long as they are prayerfully and honestly striving to understand the truth of what the Church professes and are taking appropriate steps to resolve their confusion and doubt."

But, it continues, "If a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to reject the defined doctrines of the Church, or knowingly and obstinately to repudiate her definitive teaching on moral issues, however, he or she would diminish his or her communion with the Church. Reception of Holy Communion in such a situation would not accord with the nature of the Eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain."

The document was written after a request by Newark Archbishop John J. Myers in 2004, when some bishops said they would deny Communion to John Kerry, that year's Democratic presidential candidate. Kerry, who is Catholic, had been a firm supporter of abortion rights.

Yesterday, Myers cited concerns by pastors in the archdiocese that people go up for Communion who should not do so, such as "those who go (to Mass) like twice a year or those who are living together in invalid marriages or without the benefit of marriage. All kinds of people don't understand their responsibility as they approach the sacraments, including the Holy Eucharist."

Jeff Diamant covers religion.
He may be reached at (973) 392-1547

© 2006 The Star Ledger
© 2006 All Rights Reserved.

Josh Crowley for Bishop!

Today was the second Stewardship Sunday at St. Paul's. We only do two. We're Anglicans, after all. 'Meet, right and proper,' you know.

Nothing in excess - everything in moderation.

Especially when the topic is money.

This week, the Stewardship Packets were delivered. Next week, we have the "Ingathering of the Pledges" and a Stewardship Brunch.

Today, Josh Crowley gave one of the Stewardship Talks. Josh is fifteen years old. Yes, that's right. Fifteen. And, yes, he gave one of the Stewardship Talks.

He didn't have a manuscript, so I can't reproduce it here, verbatim. He simply leaned his long, lanky body into the podium and talked to us about what The Episcopal Church of St. Paul means to him.

I got all "girly-weepy" 'round about two minutes into it, so I can't tell you all of what he said. This much I remember:

He said, "This is a place where you can be who you are and think what you think and everyone still accepts you."

As he said this, his arms gestured out from his chest, as if he were taking off his shirt. He looked over at me and said, "And, Rev'd Elizabeth, well, she's like my 'other mother'. I can talk to her - and Tim (Wong, our Missioner for Youth and Young Families) - about anything."

Then, he said, "This is a place where you can actually think about your faith. It's a place where you can be safe in a world filled with pressure to perform in academics, sports, music, etc."

He ended by saying, "I serve as Acolyte and Crucifer - sometimes when I'm not even scheduled because some other kid can't make it. But, I do it to give back to this church that has given so much to me. I hope you'll give back something to the church, because, well, it's important."

And then, he sat down.

I don't believe I've heard a better Stewardship Talk.

Have you?

The Communion Has Never Been Stronger

The Living Church
Dr. Ian Douglas: Communion Has Never Been Stronger

The Rev. Ian Douglas believes this is an exciting time to be an Anglican.

“I never would have imagined that the hottest ticket at General Convention last summer would be the hearing on the Anglican Communion,” said Prof. Douglas, a member of the national Executive Council and professor of world mission at Episcopal Divinity School.

“I take that as a positive sign. We are discovering a deeper understanding of communion. God has given us such an opportunity to serve. Of course, the Devil is going to try and pull us apart.”

Dr. Douglas spoke during the time the council met in Chicago Nov. 12-15. He is also a member of the Lambeth Design Team, so he was able to tell council members about plans for the 2008 Lambeth Conference of Bishops that were developed at a recent design team meeting in London.

The conference theme is "Equipping Bishops for Mission," and the format will differ in a number of respects from those held over the previous two decades, he said, but it would be naïve to assume that there won’t be discussion on human sexuality at multiple levels.

“We are not papering over our differences,” he said. “The discussion was very positive, hopeful and honest. There was genuine good will for bishops, to try and help equip them.

“Look at where the Anglican Communion has been at its best, helping end apartheid in South Africa, working for debt relief legislation, the Decade of Evangelism, and now holding governments accountable to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. I think Executive Council definitely shares that excitement.”

Steve Waring

How to Understand a Sermon

One of my seminarians is preaching. And I am glad. I am very glad, indeed.

Today's gospel is a real pip.

Indeed, all of the lessons are not the easiest to preach.

And, the Stewardship Packets are being distributed today. YIKES!

In the Revised Common Lectionary, the lessons are:

Track I: I Samuel 1:4-20, I Samuel 2:1-10

Track II: Daniel 12:1-3, Psalm 16

Hebrews 10:11-14, [15-18], 19-25, Mark 13:1-8

Were I to preach, I fear most of you would find yourself in the lower third of the cartoon above.

I hope to post Megan's sermon later on today, but for those of you who would like to read what MadPriest has to say, head on over to his blog for a most excellent treat.

Look for "Freedom Is A Heady Wine."

And, thanks MadPriest

(I'm trying to persuade him to swap pulpits with me sometime in the near future. I'm hoping that the old saying is true: "Flattering will get you everything." Pray, sisters and brothers, that this works. I don't think he'd fancy the alternative approaches.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury

Fascininating interview with the Archbishiop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, in the Church Times (UK) this morning on his week long visit with Pope Benedict: "Less an Roman holiday, more an Italian job.

The reporter, Paul Handley, does not flinch from asking Blessed Rowan questions about the ordination of women and LGBT people in the church. And, although I wish he were as clear about the ordination of LGBT people as he is about women, neither does Rowan flinch in his responses.

This may come as a surprise to you, but here are the snippets of quotesI found brought calm to my soul:
That’s why you’re not a Roman Catholic. Why are you an Anglican?

I’m an Anglican because this is — it’s what I learnt in Sunday school, really — this is the Church Catholic in this place, gathered around the word and the sacrament, exercising a canonically continuous, recognisable form of the threefold ministry, structurally slotting in with how Catholic Christianity works.

If you were starting from scratch, do you think the Anglican model works better than the Roman one?

Pwff! — by what imaginable standards would you answer that, I wonder? I don’t know, but the argument I’d give, I think, is not unrelated to what Vincent Donovan says in his book Christianity Rediscovered, responding to mission in East Africa, where he says, in a sense, you’ve got to let Churches grow out of their local setting, discover the need for recognisability, and build outwards from that. He describes the process by which some of his converts in East Africa almost invented the idea of Catholic ministry for themselves, the idea that if this is the kind of community that we are, if this is what the eucharist means, then we need that to be recognisable, and we need to know that, when we travel, it’s the same Church that we belong to, gradually accumulating like that. I think that’s a bit more Anglican than someone saying, “We’ll decide from the centre what the shape will be.”

It’s just that one of the criticisms at the moment is that Anglicanism seems to be heading more towards a centrist approach, through the Windsor-report process. Is that fair?

No, I don’t think it’s fair at all, actually. The problem is the opposite, if anything [Laughs]: that cultural differences, theological differences, are so much wider than even 30 years ago, that how Anglicans in different parts of the world are recognisable to each other is a much tougher question. You can’t just answer it now in terms of the Prayer Book, or a faint aroma of wax polish on the pews, a sort of diffused Englishness. You’ve got the linguistic variety: you’ve got the fast-growing French-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, Spanish-speaking elements of the Anglican Church. So there’s got to be a more serious way of answering the question: “What makes us recognisable to each other?”

But that is a different question from — back to the gatekeeper — “Do we need a supreme curia?” I hope we don’t, and I don’t want to see centralising. I do want to see a degree of convergence, and how to achieve that without centralising, without again loading something on to a set of central institutions that’s very unclear. But it seems to me, that’s one of the big bits of the agenda for the next few years for the Communion.

The other approach is to have a credal focus.

— which of course we have. As we’re often reminded, we do say the same creeds. But it seems, with the widening gaps about culture and theological understanding, we need something a bit more intentional than that, a bit more expressive of responsibility to and for one another. So that’s why I don’t think a credal focus alone will do it.

Whew! A response to the 'Nervous Nellies' who want 'Daddy' to settle every little (or big) dispute: No foreign ("supreme") curia.

Whew! A response to the 'Simple Simons' who want us all to sign onto a Confession of Faith and be done with it: Not just a credal focus alone.

Now, the stuff about the 'Two Teir Membership' is problematic - or, as I call it "The Upstairs, Downstairs Membership - but if we take the approach of the good Archbishop of Cape Town (see article below), I think even that can be worked out.

It's a good morning in the Anglican Communion this morning - at least on this side of the pond. I finding myself more hopeful than I probably have a right to.

Then again, I have always been a 'prisoner of hope.'

I have come to know it as the earthly state of the faithful follower of Christ.

Read the whole article for yourself. If the link above is not "hot" try typing this into your browser:

Friday, November 17, 2006

God's Will

I've been using this book, PROVERBS OF ASHES: Violence, Redemptive Suffering and The Search for What Saves Us, by Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker, in one of the courses I teach at The Theological School at Drew University.

I highly recommend it.

It is precisely what it says it is, discussing redemption and salvation through the lens of domestic violence and child abuse, and taking direct aim at the Doctrine of the Atonement and the idea of 'Suffering Servant' as part of the problem of violence against women and children.

Not surprisingly, the book, my lecture and the ensuing class discussion caused great controversy among the students.

The class demographics are marvelous: about 1/3 each Western European, Korean, and African/Caribbean/Afro-American, with a surprisingly refreshing parity in terms of gender.

Drew is a Methodist school, so the greatest predominance of the class is Methodist, but there are more and more non-denominational Evangelicals and Black Baptist, with a smattering of Episcopalians, Lutherans and even a few Roman Catholics.

You can imagine, then, the reaction which was engendered by a direct challenge to the Doctrine of the Atonement, much less the exhortation for religious leaders to the 'immitation of Christ' as the 'Suffering Servant'.

I’m working on a proper book review, but couldn’t resist this initial comment.

One of the question asked in the class was whether or not I saw a connection between the issue of Clergy Wellness (Lord, I really don’t like that term! Can’t we think of something else? Something that sounds a bit more intelligent and not like a made-up-New-Age-crunchy-granola-tree-hugger’s word?) with the notion of Suffering Servant.

For me, that’s a direct line in the connect-the-dots of cause and effect.

Nothing could provide a better example of that connection than a new book that has just been published. I saw the advertisement in the last issue of THE LIVING CHURCH, which, in fact, prompted this blog.

GOD’S WILL: A Biography, by John Wells Warren.

Here’s what the ad says:

“An essential lesson for every bishop, priest and vestry. The Rt. Rev’d William George McDowell, Jr., fifth Episcopal Bishop of Alabama (1882 – 1938), worked himself to exhaustion, and died of pneumonia at the age of fifty-five on a visit to his parishes in Mobile. Bishop McDowell left a young wife with six children, no home, no automobile, $10,000 in life insurance, and a small church pension. GOD’S WILL is a story of dedication and sacrifice. It’s your story.”

I most certainly hope it is NOT your story! If nothing else, CREEDO, the weeklong workshop for clergy to assess their vocation, their life and their spirituality, has changed that.

The fact that there is something like CREEDO, however, speaks volumes about the impact of the Doctrine of Atonement and the idea of the Suffering Servant.

Read PROVERBS OF ASHES. Or, at least, put it on your Christmas Wish List. I’ll leave this quote from Rebecca Parker to whet your appetite:

“So, if you find me arguing against the theological notion that Jesus’ execution is a revelatory gift, you’ll understand why. Jesus didn’t have to die for us to know that God is present. He didn’t have to rise from the dead for me to know that God’s creative power is greater than death. Judaism already affirmed this, knew all this. Furthermore, nobody has to suffer for God to be made known to us.”
Somebody give me an, ‘Amen.’

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ndungane: Future of Anglican family a matter for the whole church, not just bishops

ACNS 4213

16 NOVEMBER 2006

Future of Anglican family a matter for whole church, not just Bishops

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, has called for a global Anglican gathering that is "much more representative than the Lambeth Conference" to explore the current challenges facing the Anglican Communion.

"The future of our Anglican family is far too important to be left just to Bishops, even meeting in the breadth of the Lambeth Conference,"

Archbishop Ndungane said during a Roundtable - Finding the Heartlands of Anglicanism at Trinity Theological College in Melbourne, Australia on Thursday 16 th 2006.

"If we are to take the radical step of pursuing a Covenant, I would like this process to be owned and driven by the widest possible representation of the church.

Archbishop Ndungane warns that sidelining laity, including women and young people and parish clergy from critical church decisions runs against the essence of "authentic, orthodox, Anglican self-understanding."

"We need a large gathering with a flexible, open agenda that allows people from across our global family to meet one another in informal encounters, to listen to one another, and to recognise the marks of Christ in one another, and to get to know one another's cultures and challenges," Archbishop Ndungane says.

"In this context we can discuss how we should live together, including whether a Covenant - and if so, what form of Covenant - would best enhance our shared life and calling."

Archbishop Ndungane suggests that the central themes that emerge during such a gathering could inform the Covenant Design Group, for presentation at a special meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council.

The proposal to develop a Convenant must reflect a commitment to "enhance and strengthen the calling of all Anglicans, throughout the whole diversity of the globe, to faithful mission and ministry in the years - even centuries - ahead."

"We can afford to take our time over this and ensure we get it right - even ten years is a very short time in Christian history. We must not be railroaded into a quick fix that merely meets the concerns of one part of our constituency."

Archbishop Ndungane says that the task of the Church is not self-preservation, rather "the building up of God's people for God's mission and ministry within God's world."

"We desire to be a Church in which abundant, God-given, Christ-shaped,life can flourish, and this life can be shared with the world for the building of God's kingdom. This is a task for the whole Church together.

"This is God's church, and we are in his hands. Therefore I am optimistic about our future."

For more information contact:

Penny Lorimer, Media Liaison for Archbishop Ndungane,
+ 27 (0)82 894-1522

"Well, I'll kiss his ring . . ."

ACNS 4214

16 NOVEMBER 2006

Press release from Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has dismissed as 'wilfully misleading' newspaper reports that he is doubtful over the ordination of women to the priesthood, has ever felt that the ordination of women priests had been 'wrong' or believes that a revisiting of the question is likely, necessary or desirable.

Speaking during a visit to Manchester, Dr Williams declared his continuing support for the ordination of women to the priesthood.

"From the very beginning of this issue I have been a supporter of the ordination of women and have not doubted the rightness of that decision or the blessings it has brought. It has been a difficult road for the Church and the cost of that decision has been a heavy one and that has been a test.

"I made it clear in the interview with the Catholic Herald and will continue to do so that I see no theological justificaton for any revisiting of this question and indicated in the interview three times that I had no wish to reopen it, whatever technical possibilities might theoretically exist."

"The presentation of this to mean anything else is wilful misinterpetation. My convictions mean that I feel nothing less than full support for the decision the Church of England made in 1992 and appreciation of the priesthood exercised."

Archbishop's Press Office
Lambeth Palace
London SE1 7JU

Telephone: 020 7898 1280
Fax: 020 7261 1765


I love cats.

I love their sassy independence. They have an 'attitude' or what my mother would call 'tone'.

I love their intelligence. They can outwit any other domestic animal, hands down.

I love their sense of humor. For all their haughty attitude and intelligence, they can be clowns, providing endless entertainment while watching squirrels through the safety (for the squirrel) of the window pane.

But, I love it most when their independence and attitude come together and it's time to take a nap.

About 10 years ago I developed a terrible allergy to cat dander. Indeed, the only dogs I can live with are those, like Lenny and CoCo, who have "silky hair" as opposed to thick fur like a Golden or a Lab.

So, while I love them, alas, I can't live with them.

But, I can still thoroughly enjoy them. And, so can you.

Here, have a look:

If you have a cat, please love on them today, just for me. I don't know how anyone can stay in this church of ours at this time in our history without having a furry animal around to pet and cuddle with, and who, in return, will provide unconditional love - on their terms, and in their own time, of course. (Says she, writing this as Lenny is glued to my feet and CoCo has attached herself to my left thigh.) A New Beatitude I give unto thee: "Blessed are the drowsy, for they shall soon drop off."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

If you want to go to heaven . . .

The caption reads that this 1 year old child, Anna Maria, often tiptoes around the garden and then will stop in front of the statue of Mary in full babble.

She knows instinctively what we all know intuitively but often learn the hard way:

The best man for the job is often a woman.

"And a little child shall lead them."

(But, wouldn't you really love to know what she was saying?)