Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bush Talks Of Past Addiction

Bush and Episcopal Program

Have a look at the link above. I appreciate the President’s willingness to be open about his experience with alcohol, with those facing the same problems. The program is operated by an Episcopal organization. I love seeing our faith in Jesus Christ and his vision of the Kingdom in action. Good for the President and good for the Church.

Monday, January 28, 2008


In the sermons for the last two Sundays, I have been much more specific about the “so what now” piece. I think of that piece, as the action required by the Gospel. Our Wed. morning Bible study uses an approach that really goes to the heart of our engagement with the Bible. Paraphrased, the final question is: “as a result of the conversation, and an understanding of the particular passage, am I being asked to change, or do something?” Hard to think of a better question, as we engage the scriptures.

Two weeks ago, I asked hearers to name the ways you accept and practice Jesus’ invitation to “come and see”. This week, I asked hearers to consider the ways you follow Jesus by teaching, proclaiming that the Kingdom has come near and offering healing.

The texts related to the sermons are linked below.

two weeks ago

this past week

As always, I would welcome thoughts.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Have a look at this brief post about a movement within the Baptist Church.

The Other Baptists

It is very easy to think that our Episcopal Church is the only Church dealing with political, social and theological tension. The truth is that the Episcopal Church is just now dealing with what most denominations have already experienced.

Nice to hear someone is moving toward unity, rather than seeking to shatter it.

Freakonomics Blog NYT

I came across this in the post Sunday services read. Read the post for yourself, but the idea that the family has shifted from production to consumption seems undeniable.

history and economics of the family

Friday, January 25, 2008

Comments On Bishop Wright's Article

I was interested in Bishop Wright’s article in The Church Times. I have also been interested by the commentary out there about it. The opinion he states of the “prevailing revisionist agenda” stings a bit for those of us within the Episcopal Church holding fairly traditional views of Christianity and the Church. It assumes there is a consensus within The Episcopal Church. I am not sure this is a completely fair assessment.

The other aspect of this that I find fascinating is the commentary on another blog about the good bishop.

another blog

It is hard to imagine a Bishop more scholarly, or with more integrity than +Wright. He is a sound mainstream thinker. I do not agree with him about everything under the Sun, but I always want to know what he thinks.

I can only imagine the attack upon him ensues, because he is a real Anglican, and not a Calvinist.

N.T. Wright From The Church Times

ST PAUL, facing shipwreck off Malta, spotted the soldiers getting into a small boat to rescue themselves. “Unless these men stay in the ship,” he said to the centurion, “you cannot be saved.”

A similar urgent plea must now be addressed to those who, envisaging the imminent break-up of the good ship Anglican, are getting into a lifeboat called GAFCON, leaving the rest of us to face the future without them.

I have shared the frustration of the past five years, both in the United States and around the world. I have often wished that the Windsor report could have provided a more solid and speedy resolution. But the ship hasn’t sunk yet.

The rationale of GAFCON (the Global Anglican Future Conference) is: “The Communion is finished; nothing new can happen; it’s time to split.” No mention is made of the Windsor report, the proposed Anglican Covenant, or, indeed, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent letter, insisting as it does on scriptural authority, which GAFCON seems to regard as its monopoly.

That last point is crucial. To say “scripture is our authority” does not commit anyone to joining the small group represented by Chris Sugden, Martyn Minns, and Peter Jensen. It is clear that they are the prime movers and drafters, making a mockery of Canon Sugden’s claim (Comment, 11 January) that GAFCON is about rescuing the Churches from Western culture. But they have marshalled impressive support, particularly from great leaders like Henry Orombi of Uganda.

But where are Archbishops Mouneer Anis, John Chew, and Drexel Gomez, not to mention the Windsor and Camp Allen bishops in the States, and the great majority of traditionalist Anglicans, including most Evangelicals, in the UK? The rhetoric of “We are the Bible-believing orthodox; so this is what we must do” simply isn’t good enough. Many others share the belief, but draw different practical conclusions.

DESPITE official denials, GAFCON will appear to many to be an alternative to the Lambeth Conference. Some who want to go to Lambeth are under primatial pressure not to do so, and to go to GAFCON instead. Even those free to choose may find two trips beyond their limited means.

Going to the Holy Land shows an alarming lack of awareness of Christian realities in the Middle East, including what looks dangerously like a casual disregard for the local bishop and Primate, who were informed at the last minute.

The Jerusalem Post article about the conference, proudly displayed on the GAFCON website, highlights different Anglican attitudes to the Israel/Palestine question. Do the organisers really want to raise those matters? Do they know what will happen if they do?

THE DANGER of GAFCON is that the rhetoric — “the Communion’s finished” — could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some of the organisers actually seem to want a Lambeth Conference robbed of lively, orthodox bishops from around the world, so that they can point to the results and say: “There you are: told you so.”

If, instead, such bishops come, bringing their cheerful worship, their deep understanding of scripture, and their wide experience of mission among the world’s poorest, this could be a great moment of renewal. Dr Williams has made it clear that Windsor and the Covenant are the tools with which to forge our future. “Orthodox” bishops should celebrate that, and join in the task.

Our Communion has for the past five years been living through 2 Corinthians: the challenge to re-establish an authority based on the gospel alone and embodied in human weakness. Inevitably, “super-apostles” then emerge, declaring that such theology is for wimps.

To them I would say: Are they Evangelicals? So am I. Are they orthodox? So am I. Do they believe in the authority of scripture? So do I (including the bits they regularly downplay). Are they keen on mission? So am I, and on the full mission of God’s kingdom which an older Evangelicalism often ignores.

Those who want to be biblical should ponder what the Bible itself says about such things. There are many in the GAFCON movement whom I admire and long to see at Lambeth, but the movement itself is deeply flawed. It does not hold the moral, biblical, or Evangelical high ground.

To say no to GAFCON is not to say yes to the revisionist agendas prevailing in much of the Episcopal Church in the US. It is to say yes to a Lambeth Conference based on and taking forward the Archbishop’s agenda of Windsor and the Covenant, in pursuit of what Dr Williams refers to in his recent letter as “an authoritative common voice”.

It is, in other words, to say yes to a future Anglican Communion rooted in the full authority of scripture. The Archbishop has spoken of the Lambeth invitation in terms of facing the suffering of the cross together, in order to share the glory of the resurrection. When Jesus said that to his followers, James and John immediately started to think about their own chances of power and prestige.

Thomas, however, had the right idea: “Let’s go with him, so that we may die with him.” And, before they even arrived, they saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Father Jake Muses On Fireside Chat

This is a thoughtful reflection from Fr. Jake. It reminds me of a quote from a mentor in a Clinical Pastoral Education program. Fr. Reade used to say, “two things can be true at once.”

Fireside Chat


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Book Recommendation

I just finished an amazing book. It is The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. It is a scintillating tale of the quest for identity, love scorned and revenge. It is some of the best fiction I’ve come across since A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss. Don’t Walk, run to your preferred bookseller.

The Meaning of Night

Monday, January 21, 2008

Things Get Weird In San Joaquin

A former priest of the Diocese of San Joaquin reports on conflict between +Schofield and the Standing Committee. It is strange, and makes me think +Schofield is not well at all. He seems to be in a cycle of making statements, and then coming back to offer correction, or retraction. Erratic is the word that comes to mind.

A Saturday Morning Massacre


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bishop Mwamba Speaks To The Diocese Of North Carolina

By Nancy McLaughlin
Staff Writer
SATURDAY, JAN. 19, 2008 3:00 AM

He's not asking people to change their positions, necessarily, but an Anglican bishop says there can be middle ground in the lingering and angry debate over the ordination of an openly gay man as a bishop by U.S. Episcopalians.

"When I hear all these harsh tones being exchanged," said the Right Rev. Musonda Trevor Mwamba of Botswana, "... I ask if anybody is praying."

Mwamba, speaking Friday to the 192nd annual meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina in Greensboro, has been working for mutual tolerance by speaking out about the things that he says should be drawing people of his denomination together: bringing people into the kingdom of God.

There has been much talk in recent years about a possible split in the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which Episcopalians in the United States are members, over the ordination of Eugene V. Robinson of New Hampshire, who lives with his partner.

Actually, Mwamba said, most of those who have been labeled as incensed over the ordination of a gay bishop really aren't wrapped up in whether God particularly cares about people's sexual orientation. The loudest voices do not constitute a majority of the thought in the Anglican community, as has been claimed, he said.

"The truth of the matter is ... we must understand the majority of African Anglicans, about 37 million, are not bothered by the debate about sexuality," Mwamba said.

"The majority of African Anglicans," he said, "they have their minds focused on life and death issues, like AIDS, poverty ... and not what the church thinks about sex or the color of your pajama pants. Villagers who live on less than $1 a day aren't aware this is going on. The majority of Africans who can afford TVs and radios, they don't want to see the communion incinerate."

Mwamba was invited by Bishop Michael Curry, who oversees the diocese that includes Greensboro and who voted with the majority of the U.S. bishops to confirm Robinson in 2003. Curry and Mwamba's diocese are working on a "companion relationship" to spread the ministry.

"I know that will be new news to Americans," Curry said after the speech. "What the bishop said is in fact accurate. These are not front-burner issues (in Africa). It's 'How do I get my children a good education?' It's 'Where do I find clean water and food to eat?' They go to church to praise the Lord and to find the strength to live another week."

The core message among Christians should be enlarging the Kingdom of God, Mwamba said, and not looking for ways to make it smaller.

"So why do we keep thinking separately — us and them?" Mwamba asked. "Could it be because we have lost sight of the height and depth of the kingdom ... the infinity of God in us?"

Anglicans, he said, have a history that is rooted in moving beyond each other's differences.

"We may discover," he said, "that the person we fear or resent is 'just like me,' is 'just like us.'"

But Mwamba reminds us that man does not have the final say-so.
"Let us beware of excommunicating each other on Earth ... we shall find in heaven we are still bound together at the table of God," he said.

Contact Nancy H. McLaughlin at 373-7049 or

From Bishop Frade On Duncan Inhibition

Dearly Beloved in Christ:
Greetings from the Holy Land! While leading my yearly pilgrimage of the faithful to the land of our Lord Jesus, I have been asked to comment on the decision of the Three Senior Bishops to unanimously move to inhibit the Bishop of San Joaquin, but not to inhibit the Bishop of Pittsburgh.

I must state that after carefully examining the decision of the Review Committee headed by the Rt. Rev. Dorsey Henderson of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, which recommended the move to inhibit both bishops--of the Dioceses of Pittsburgh and of San Joaquin--and after reviewing all the supporting documents that give evidence of their actions, I was astonished that we neglected to take action any sooner on their obvious violation and breach of their oath to engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church.

I firmly believe that any bishops whose words and actions are in violation of this oath, as stated by church canon, should be equally subject to the appropriate canonical discipline.

I also believe that it is my episcopal duty to assiduously safeguard both the membership and patrimony of our Church as a whole. The faithful of those dioceses that have been betrayed by their bishops need to know that they are not abandoned by their Church.

The Episcopate must not tolerate such actions as these bishops have taken; they have betrayed the trust that was given them when we, their brother and sister bishops, consented to their election. The seriousness of this betrayal is not mitigated by the fact that in one of the cases the goal of turning away from The Episcopal Church has not been fully achieved. As I have learned to say in America, "You can not just be a little pregnant."

It was with great sadness that I concluded I had no other choice but to vote to move to inhibit two of my brothers who have betrayed their trust to be faithful shepherds of their dioceses, which are integral parts of our Episcopal Church.

The beauty and flexibility of Anglican polity has allowed since its foundation disparate and disagreeing parties to remain in full communion. It is my sincere hope and prayer that these two bishops, who once pledged of their own free will to engage to remain faithful to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church, will in a spirit of reconciliation choose to fulfill their previous promises.

If they are unable to do so, we in the HOB must do our sad duty to discipline them and move in a timely manner to protect and provide for the many remaining faithful of these dioceses.


The Rt Rev Leopold Frade
Bishop of Southeast Florida and Senior Bishop with Jurisdiction of TEC. (780)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Politics and Religion

Hukabee: "amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards"

I came across this article on Episcopal Cafe. The debates rage on. It reminds me of American Gospel, by Jon Meacham. It is a useful read, and provides much needed insight into these deeply divisive issues.

Have a look.

American Gospel


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bishop Duncan

Review Committee says Bishop Duncan has abandoned communion

The full story and some other links are included on the page linked above.

This is a tough one. I agree with much of the text of the Review Committee document, and believe their findings represent +Duncan’s departure from the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of the Church. However, I am not sure about the move to inhibit him now.

In +Schofield’s case, +Schofield made good on his saber-rattling. He took San Joaquin out of TEC. Ecclesiastical Discipline begin.

+Duncan is making the same noise, but the die has not been cast. It may only be a matter of time. It is probably only a matter of time, but the attempt to inhibit him seems a bit premature to me.

I have the utmost confidence in the Presiding Bishop. The PB might very well be considering an angle, this simple parish priest is not. Say what you want about the PB, but clarity and action appear to be no problem.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


In 1988, I was a freshman in college, and not paying much attention to the Church. I was very busy, but not with Church. So, I missed the the finer points of the conflict around the confirmation of +Schofield.

Today a friend reminded me of the controversy surrounding his confirmation at General Convention that year. It seems that some sought to derail +Schofield, because he had been a public opponent of the ordination of women. It seems that two surprising advocates appeared. Bishops Swing and Spong spoke in favor of Scofield. Spong in particular is purported to have said something along the lines of, if there is a place for me in the Church, then surely there is a place for +Schofield.

This was totally new to me, and quite a shock. I guess +Schofield doesn’t share the sentiment of those that spoke on his behalf...

I guess, I need to get out more. As Junior Soprano has said, “What I don’t know could fill a book.”


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bishop Schofield Inhibited

Below is the ENS report of the Inhibition of +John-David Schofield. Checking the blogs, I have found some celebrating the action, and others crying foul. I find both in poor taste. To those that welcome the process of Ecclesiastical Discipline, recognize how sad this fracture truly is. It is no cause for celebration, but weeping for our Church. To those that cry foul and say this action represents betrayal by those involved, come on; When you violate the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of This Church, this is the process. +Schofield and San Joaquin knew this going forward. It is not punitive. It is the process.

Following the portion of the article from ENS posted, I include a copy of the relevant Canon.
Good Lord deliver us.

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on January 11 inhibited Diocese of San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield.
In the text of the inhibition, Jefferts Schori wrote: "I hereby inhibit the said Bishop Schofield and order that from and after 5:00 p.m. PST, Friday, January 11, 2008, he cease from exercising the gifts of ordination in the ordained ministry of this Church; and pursuant to Canon IV.15, I order him from and after that time to cease all 'episcopal, ministerial, and canonical acts, except as relate to the administration of the temporal affairs of the Diocese of San Joaquin,' until this Inhibition is terminated pursuant to Canon IV.9(2) or superseded by decision of the House of Bishops."

Jefferts Schori acted after the Title IV Review Committee certified that Schofield had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church.

On January 9, Upper South Carolina Bishop Dorsey Henderson, committee chair, wrote to Jefferts Schori, telling her that the nine-member committee had met that day and that a majority agreed that the documentation provided to them "demonstrated that Bishop Schofield has abandoned the communion of this Church by an open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline or Worship of this Church."

Jefferts Schori needed, in accordance with Title IV, Canon 9, Sec. 1, the consent of the three senior bishops of the church with jurisdiction (as opposed to being retired or not in diocesan seats) to issue the inhibition. She noted in the inhibition that Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, Peter Lee of Virginia, and Don Wimberly of Texas gave their consents January 11.

"I think what is crucial for us is that the bishop was presented with potential consequences of his actions long ago and repeatedly, and now the review committee has indeed made their determination, which will go forward to the House of Bishops," the Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop, told ENS. "The three senior bishops have given their consent to his inhibition and, again, the ministry of the Episcopal Church continues and moves forward."

At Schofield's urging, the convention of the Diocese of San Joaquin voted December 8 to leave the Episcopal Church and to align with the Argentina-based Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Jefferts Schori warned Schofield of the possible consequences of his actions prior to the convention via a letter and then asked him on December 14 to confirm her understanding that he had left the Episcopal Church and was no longer functioning as a member of its clergy.

CANON 9: Of Abandonment of the Communion of This Church
by a Bishop
Sec. 1. If a Bishop abandons the communion of this Church (i) by an
open renunciation of the Doctrine, Discipline, or Worship of this
Church, or (ii) by formal admission into any religious body not in
communion with the same, or (iii) by exercising episcopal acts in and
for a religious body other than this Church or another Church in
communion with this Church, so as to extend to such body Holy
Orders as this Church holds them, or to administer on behalf of such
religious body Confirmation without the express consent and
commission of the proper authority in this Church; it shall be the duty
of the Review Committee, by a majority vote of All the Members, to
certify the fact to the Presiding Bishop and with the certificate to send
a statement of the acts or declarations which show such abandonment,
which certificate and statement shall be recorded by the Presiding
Bishop. The Presiding Bishop, with the consent of the three senior
Bishops having jurisdiction in this Church, shall then inhibit the said
Bishop until such time as the House of Bishops shall investigate the
matter and act thereon. During the period of Inhibition, the Bishop
shall not perform any episcopal, ministerial or canonical acts, except
as relate to the administration of the temporal affairs of the Diocese
of which the Bishop holds jurisdiction or in which the Bishop is then
Sec. 2. The Presiding Bishop, or the presiding officer, shall forthwith
give notice to the Bishop of the certification and Inhibition. Unless
the inhibited Bishop, within two months, makes declaration by a
Verified written statement to the Presiding Bishop, that the facts
alleged in the certificate are false or utilizes the provisions of Canon
IV.8 or Canon III.12.7, as applicable, the Bishop will be liable to
Deposition. If the Presiding Bishop is reasonably satisfied that the
statement constitutes (i) a good faith retraction of the declarations or
acts relied upon in the certification to the Presiding Bishop or (ii) a
good faith denial that the Bishop made the declarations or committed
the acts relied upon in the certificate, the Presiding Bishop, with the
advice and consent of a majority of the three senior Bishops consenting
to Inhibition, terminate the Inhibition. Otherwise, it shall be the duty
of the Presiding Bishop to present the matter to the House of Bishops
at the next regular or special meeting of the House. If the House, by
a majority of the whole number of Bishops entitled to vote, shall give
its consent, the Presiding Bishop shall depose the Bishop from the
Ministry, and pronounce and record in the presence of two or more
Bishops that the Bishop has been so deposed.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The President Of The House Of Deputies

In the midst of all the political wrangling within the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church, I have noticed something that appears new. As a disclaimer, I might be wrong that it is new. I simply may have missed it in the past.

It seems that every time I catch the latest Episcopal news, the President of the House of Deputies seems to be meeting somewhere. I suppose past Presidents of the House addressed Episcopal audiences, but the difference seems to be one of degree. I just don’t recall this happening as often, and taking the role of spokesperson for the Episcopal Church.

I don’t mean to imply there is anything wrong with this, and as I said, I could be uninformed. News travels much faster these days, and that could be one explanation. I might be simply more aware.

Another possibility might be that the role of the President of the House of Deputies is evolving within canonical limits. It could be that the current climate of the Episcopal Church requires another “official” voice. In seeking clarity about the Anglican Communion, and the relationships that comprise it, a point could be being made, by encouraging a more upfront role for the President of the House of Deputies. The Episcopal Church is structured in a bicameral shape, and the exercise of leadership reflects it.

It would seem that speaking for the House of Deputies would be more difficult, since the connection among members of that house is more transitory, than the House of Bishops. However, the President of the House of Deputies is a member of the Executive Council. I suppose it is also possible that the President of the House of Deputies is less a spokesperson, and more of an executor of General Convention policy decisions. A cursory read of the Canons didn’t provide the clarity I seek. Any thoughts out there from those more in the know?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Anglican Covenant

Here is a link to the Anglican Communion discussion of the proposed covenant. The discussion continues in early January. It is attempt to more closely define the nature of the relationship of member churches, and is worthy of our attention.

Anglican Covenant