November 2003 Archives

There is a beautiful sunset tonight looking over the Hudson River towards New Jersey.

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We have watched sermons from Barbara Brown Taylor in our Preaching class, so here is one she recently gave dealing with current issues in the Episcopal Church, which reflect current issues in our society, especially since the judicial ruling in Massachusetts, yesterday. Thanks, Chris, for the e-mail.


From
http://www.christiancentury.org/faithmatters.html

20 October 2003 Where the Bible leads me By Barbara Brown Taylor

During the fourth century, at the height of the Arian controversy in Constantinople, one Christian wrote that it was impossible to go into a bakery for a loaf of bread without debating the nature of Christ.

Was he the eternal Son of the eternal Father or was there a time when he was not?

With bishops physically assaulting other bishops over this question and emperors changing sides on a regular basis, the debate spilled out of the church into the streets, where the Athanasians favored passages from John's Gospel and the Arians shot back with passages from Mark.

When I read this chapter of early church history, I thanked God for letting me live in a later one. Then I got back to planning classes and grading papers.

That was before the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church, however, when a majority of delegates from across the United States confirmed the election of the Rev. Gene Robinson as the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion.

Since then, North Georgia has come to resemble Constantinople in at least one regard: no Episcopalian goes anywhere without being asked for his or her position on homosexuality.

While no physical assaults have yet been reported, the debate has split churches and threatened budgets. It has also involved heated references to scripture. Robinson fans tend to favor passages from the Gospels, while Robinson foes shoot back with passages from Paul.

In the crossfire, it is not hard to understand why Anthony the Great fled civilization for the desert in the middle of the fourth century. Depending on who your neighbors are, snakes and hyenas can look like pretty good company.

The problem I run into at the bakery is that I do not have a position on homosexuality.

What I have, instead, is a life. I have a history, in which many people have played vital parts. When I am presented with the issue of homosexuality, I experience temporary blindness. Something like scales fall over my eyes, because I cannot visualize an issue.

Instead, I visualize the homeroom teacher who seemed actually to care whether I showed up at school or not.

I see the priest who taught me everything I know about priesthood, and the professor who roasted whole chickens for me when my food money ran out before the end of the month.

I see the faces of dozens of young men who died of AIDS, but not before they had shown me how brightly they could burn with nothing left but the love of God to live on.

I see the face of my 16-year-old friend, still waiting for his first true love, who says that if he found out he was gay, he would kill himself.

Other people have other stories, I know, but these are the stories that have given me my sight.

To reduce them to a position seems irreverent somehow, like operating on someone's body without looking him in the face.

I used to believe that swapping stories was one way to get closer to people who see things differently than I do, so that both of our truths get stretched, but I have almost given up on that.

Where I live, at least, there is little sense that life stories can be "true."

Only scripture is true, so that the debate about the place of homosexual Christians in the church today hangs on what various
biblical writers did or did not mean by one of five passages that were written at least 1,950 years ago.

I love the Bible.

I have spent more than half of my life reading it, studying it, teaching and preaching it.

While I do not find every word of it as inspiring (or inspired) as some of my fellow Christians do, I encounter God in it reliably enough to commit myself on a daily basis to practicing the core teachings of both testaments.

When I do this, however, a peculiar thing happens.

As I practice what I learn in the Bible, the Bible turns its back on me.

Like some parent intent on my getting my own place, the Bible won't let me set up house in its pages.

It gives me a kiss and boots me into the world, promising me that I have everything I need to find God not only on the page but also in the flesh.

Whether I am reading Torah or the Gospels, the written word keeps evicting me, to go embody the word by living in peace and justice with my neighbors on this earth, whatever amount of confrontation, struggle, recognition and surrender that may involve.

In this way, I have arrived at a different understanding of what it means to follow the Word of God.

The phrase has become a double entendre for me, meaning not only the Word on the page but also (and more crucially) the Word made flesh.

If Jesus' own example is to be trusted, then following the Word of God may not always mean doing what is in the book.

Instead, it may mean deviating from what is in the book in order to risk bringing the Word to life, and then facing the dreadful
consequences of loving the wrong people even after you have been warned time and again to stop.

These days I guess everything sounds like a position, even a confession like this one.

I do not know what is right.

All I know is whom I love, and how far I have to go before there is no one left whom I do not love.

If I am wrong, then I figure that the Word of God will know what to do with me.

I am betting my life on that.

* * * Barbara Brown Taylor teaches at Piedmont College and Columbia Theological Seminary.


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News from Stephen Bennett Ministries:


** BREAKING NEWS **

Tuesday, November 18, 2003 11:15 am Contact Stephen Bennett (203) 926-6960 www.SBMinistries.org/media.html

MA SJC Paves Way for U.S. "Gay" Marriage

If of interest, here is

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If of interest, here is the link to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's ruling:

GOODRIDGE, et al. v. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, et al.

Andrew Sullivan has a great commentary on his website.


"More to the point - a gay citizen should not be deemed inferior to a straight citizen, denied basic equality under the law, denied the right guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence to the "pursuit of happiness," when there is absolutely no rational reason to do so. Here is a challenge to the many married heterosexual readers of this site: did you ever believe that your fundamental right to the pursuit of happiness did not include the right to marry the person you love? Has the possibility that the government might invalidate or prevent your marriage ever for a second occurred to you? If not for you, why not for gays? Why should one group in society be granted special rights over others?" (Andrew Sullivan)

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The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled today: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts cannot deny equal rights, privileges, and responsibilities for marriage to couples of the same sex.

I pulled this statement from Andrew Sullivan's website (I'm not sure where it comes from, but it seems to be a statement from the bench):

"Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples. "

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"...they say, 'of all other most clear, where speaking of those things which are called indifferent, in the end he concludeth, That 'whatsoever is not of faith is sin.' But faith is not but in respect of the Word of God. Therefore whatsoever is not done by the Word of God is sin." Whereunto we answer, that albeit the name of Faith being properly and strictly taken, it must needs have reference unto some uttered word as the object of belief: nevertheless sith the ground of credit is the credibility of things credited; and things are made credible, either by the know condition and quality of the utterer, or by the manifest likelihood of truth which they have in themselves; hereupon it riseth that whatsoever we are persuaded of, the same we are generally said to believe. In which generality the object of faith may not so narrowly be restrained, as if the same did extend no further than to the only Scriptures of God. 'Though,' saith our Saviour, 'ye believe not me, believe my works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me and I in him.' 'The other disciples said unto Thomas, We have seen the Lord;' but his answer unto them was, 'Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into them, I will not believe.' Can there be any thing more plain than that which by these two sentences appeareth, namely, that there may be a certain belief grounded upon other assurance than Scripture: any thing more clear, than that we are said not only to believe the things which we know by another's relation, but eve whatsoever we are certainly persuaded of, whether it be by reason or by sense?"

(Richard Hooker, Book Two of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity - so to answer the Puritan's demand that nothing be done but that which is directly found in scripture, and if something be done that is not found in scripture, then it is sin.)

"...they say, 'of all other most clear, where speaking of those things which are called indifferent, in the end he concludeth, That 'whatsoever is not of faith is sin.' But faith is not but in respect of the Word of God. Therefore whatsoever is not done by the Word of God is sin." Whereunto we answer, that albeit the name of Faith being properly and strictly taken, it must needs have reference unto some uttered word as the object of belief: nevertheless sith the ground of credit is the credibility of things credited; and things are made credible, either by the know condition and quality of the utterer, or by the manifest likelihood of truth which they have in themselves; hereupon it riseth that whatsoever we are persuaded of, the same we are generally said to believe. In which generality the object of faith may not so narrowly be restrained, as if the same did extend no further than to the only Scriptures of God. 'Though,' saith our Saviour, 'ye believe not me, believe my works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me and I in him.' 'The other disciples said unto Thomas, We have seen the Lord;' but his answer unto them was, 'Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into them, I will not believe.' Can there be any thing more plain than that which by these two sentences appeareth, namely, that there may be a certain belief grounded upon other assurance than Scripture: any thing more clear, than that we are said not only to believe the things which we know by another's relation, but eve whatsoever we are certainly persuaded of, whether it be by reason or by sense?"

(Richard Hooker, Book Two of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity - so to answer the Puritan's demand that nothing be done but that which is directly found in scripture, and if something be done that is not found in scripture, then it is sin.)

"...they say, 'of all other most clear, where speaking of those things which are called indifferent, in the end he concludeth, That 'whatsoever is not of faith is sin.' But faith is not but in respect of the Word of God. Therefore whatsoever is not done by the Word of God is sin." Whereunto we answer, that albeit the name of Faith being properly and strictly taken, it must needs have reference unto some uttered word as the object of belief: nevertheless sith the ground of credit is the credibility of things credited; and things are made credible, either by the know condition and quality of the utterer, or by the manifest likelihood of truth which they have in themselves; hereupon it riseth that whatsoever we are persuaded of, the same we are generally said to believe. In which generality the object of faith may not so narrowly be restrained, as if the same did extend no further than to the only Scriptures of God. 'Though,' saith our Saviour, 'ye believe not me, believe my works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me and I in him.' 'The other disciples said unto Thomas, We have seen the Lord;' but his answer unto them was, 'Except I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into them, I will not believe.' Can there be any thing more plain than that which by these two sentences appeareth, namely, that there may be a certain belief grounded upon other assurance than Scripture: any thing more clear, than that we are said not only to believe the things which we know by another's relation, but eve whatsoever we are certainly persuaded of, whether it be by reason or by sense?"

(Richard Hooker, Book Two of The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity - so to answer the Puritan's demand that nothing be done but that which is directly found in scripture, and if something be done that is not found in scripture, then it is sin.)

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Ashton and I have to

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Ashton and I have to prepare today. Ashton has decided that it is time to put Daq to sleep. That dog has been with him for 14 years. A good life, for a dog. It is especially hard for Ashton because Daq is generally healthy, it seems. She has arthritis, and hip-displatia (sp?), although both are being managed with drugs. She also has a problem of number 2 - she just can't hold it.

I accompany the two of them on walks on Monday's, and she really is in pretty good shape. I run with her for a couple blocks and she goes right along, although a couple weeks ago her hind-legs, really her hips, I suppose, gave out. I felt so bad for her, and for what it means for Ashton. She recouped and was on her away again, but the writing was on the wall. It was only a matter of time, and now time has caught up with her.

It will be very hard on Ashton. He loves that dog, and she has been a consistent presence in his life. He and Brett will probably take her to the Vet. I'm not sure whether he wants me to come along or not, but I certainly will if he needs me to.

The next two weeks are going to kill me, I just know it. Four papers will be due within that time, and I just don't know how I will accomplish everything. In a month, half of my seminary education will be over. It is going by so fast.

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Good article from The Tablet in the UK. This takes on a number of things, but of interest to me is some historical background on the Communion and past controversies and what some see as a creeping into a more centralized authority, with real authority, to develop common canon law and doctrine.

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi-bin/archive_db.cgi?tablet-00814

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Good article from The Tablet in the UK. This takes on a number of things, but of interest to me is some historical background on the Communion and past controversies and what some see as a creeping into a more centralized authority, with real authority, to develop common canon law and doctrine.

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi-bin/archive_db.cgi?tablet-00814

This is a very good

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This is a very good post, I do think, from the House of Bishops/House of Deputies listserv.


"+Magdalen/Thomas" writes:

> Summa: It is but natural for "animals" be they mammals or 'other' to seek
> sexual release with anyone or anything anywhere.

But no. See, there is way too much "fact" and not enough biology going on here for words.

But anything is good enough for the anti-gay bigots!

So when Akinola says "not even animals do that", the bigots cheer!

And when Thomas Darkus says "animals will do anything, should we?", the bigots cheer!

The interesting and dignified lives of animals get tossed aside here; the notion that animals might have their own nature, which is what it is, and was pronounced "good" by God--and is completely absent the history of original sin and the like--this gets lost. Animals, with their own dignity, their own value, and their own importance, become the whipping boy for the bigots in their haste to insult gay people.

Akinola thinks that animals are filthy--but not as filthy as those nasty faggots. In his haste to express his bigotry, Akinola will tell any lie necessary, of course, but we don't hear Kendall Harmon criticize that.

Thomas Darkus agrees with Akinola, animals are filthy--and thinks we humans certainly shouldn't emulate them.

And then Kendall Harmon says "heterosexuality is de rigeur for every species--at least those that have gender", and then thinks that we should emulate this (mistaken) idea about animals.

And what is most important here is that anything, no matter how vicious, how atrocious, how scientificially groundless, is allowed, provided it is used to attack gay people. We can be pilloried anyway the bigots wish.

Some animals (bonobos) have sex in a way that looks promiscuous to humans. But it's a complex thing--they don't just hump any time the urge comes one, rather, sex is a tremendously important part of their mechanism for soothing social insults and expressing bonds of affection and loyalty--and a way to express violence as well.

Some animals form life-long pair bonds.

But the one thing that all the bigots agree about is that gay people are filthy. Reminds me of when bigots though that all black people were filthy, no matter how clean they might be.

The bigots do not think that a dishonest bishop, a gluttonous bishop, a thieving bishop, a warmongering bishop, are bad. Or rather, they are downright good--heroic even!--provided they mouth the right bigoted bits.

I wait for one of the AAC to stand up and say "we think that Akinola is wrong". That they do not is shameful, even heinous. It is exactly like a northern white guy in 1950 apologizing for southern lynch mobs, while saying "of course lynching is wrong". Except that nobody has stood up and said that Akinola's lying is wrong. Nobody has stood up and said that stealing farms and ejecting laborers is wrong.

For shame!

Right now, when I hear the anti-gay American crowd say "of course we think that killing Matthew Shepard was wrong", I think they are actually lying. They think killing Matthew Shepard was just fine, since they do not in fact object when African bishops engage in the same behavior.

(Name deleted)

Ashton took me to see

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Ashton took me to see Matt & Ben last night for my birthday. It was a great show - creative, the actors did a wonderful job, and it was just good.

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I was reading through the

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I was reading through the most recent edition of Focus-on-the-Family's CitizenUpdate and of course there was the obligatory item on homosexuals' desire to destroy marriage. Background - the HRC will be conducting a million dollar ad campaign to defeat the proposed amendment to the constitution that will deny homosexuals the right to marry nationwide, and the right of individual states to enact laws recognizing gay marriages.

"They're wanting to attack and destroy the institution of marriage for the financial gain or the pleasure of these adults," Crews said.

This is such a tired argument and accusation. To simply stop and think for a moment, which is a lot to ask of many people whether liberal or conservative, then to ask how they deduce from a campaign to win the right to marry by gay couples that homosexuals are attempting to destroy marriage? Politicized Religious Right Fundamentalists are not campaigning to destroy divorce, spending millions of dollars to enshrine in our constitution laws that restrict divorce, even though the close to 50% divorce rater among born-again Christians is ravaging good, wholesome, Christian marriages. It is simply, and only, an attempt to find an argument that deceives enough citizens in order to gain the votes needed to deny homosexuals any positive, life-giving, and live-sustaining position within our civil society. If they where truly serious about protecting families and protecting the institution of marriage, they would look at their own houses first, search in their own eyes first, and spend the millions upon millions of dollars to protect the institution of marriage against divorce, but they don't because too many of them are involved in divorce, fornication, adultery, and the like, and it is much easier to find a vulnerable scapegoat to blame - which are homosexuals and their desire for equal treatment under the civil law with regards to state recognized marriage.



Genevieve Wood, spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council --also named in the ad -- said it comes down to this: "Is marriage between a man and a woman -- as it has always been in this country and civilization throughout history -- or is marriage something that you can just make up and redefine, which is what pro-homosexual organizations like the Human Rights Campaign would like to suggest?"

It is historic fact that marriage has been re-defined time-and-time again. To believe that throughout all history and in every culture marriage was defined and understood as we do in the United States in the 21st. Century is to be completely ignorant of history - willfully ignorant or willfully deceptive!

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Yesterday was my birthday and I received an e-mail from a friend of mine back in Ohio (John Nolan) with this character inventory based on trees. So, all those born between Oct. 25 through Nov. 11 are Maple trees. Here is the description:

MAPLE TREE (Independence of Mind) - no ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-confident, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, has many complexities, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life, wants to impress.

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There was a lunar eclipse tonight. St. Paul's had their annual dinner/auction/raffle tonight, and people were running in and out to watch the eclipse. It wasn't nearly as impressive as when years ago I was paperboy in Vermilion and on my route one night I watched a lunar eclipse. The moon, then, was very low in the sky, which made the moon look much larger that it normally does - kind of like a science fiction movie with a planet that has a very close and very large moon or two. Anyway, tonight's moon was positioned high in the sky.

I've got to get some sleep - I am fatigued to the point where I can't fall asleep. I am stressing myself far beyond reason - well, not really beyond what we are all feeling, but I think I should be able to convince myself that there is not need to stress this much because there is nothing I can do about all the work that is coming due. I've got to restore some semblance of balance in my life, especially concerning exercise of some sort just to relieve the effects of stress. I just don't know how I am going to do it.

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Well, the deed it done. There were protestors (Fred Phelps and his gang, and a few others) and counter-protestors (students from the University of New Hampshire and a few others). Three people (priest Rev. Earl Fox from the Diocese of Pittsburg, a lay women from New Hampshire, and a Bishop Suffragan David Bena from Albany) gave reasons why Robinson should not be consecrated. The first guy, Fox, I think was his name, began giving invalid statistics about gay-sex and was becoming quite vivid in his discriptions until the Presiding Bishop Griswold stopped him and ask his to skip over the graphic stuff and get to is point. He did. It was all quite civil.

We all are dead tired and going to bed.

See pictures here: http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=%22Gene+Robinson%22

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Fred Phelps will be protesting against the consecration of Gene Robinson, today. Nothing new. His group will also be protesting the AAC's alternative service being conducted for those who oppose the consecration on the grounds of Gene's homosexuality. Fred and his family/group are protesting both consecration and alternative service because ALL Episcopalians are going to Hell, regardless of their views on homosexuality or Gene's consecration.

From ENS:


11-01-2003

Unexpected Support for Episcopal Church Action

By Dan England and Matthew Davies

[Episcopal News Service] On the eve of the consecration of Canon V Gene Robinson as Bishop-coadjutor of the Diocese of New Hampshire and the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, a twist. It seems students from the University of Durham in New Hampshire, will be protesting conservative protestors tomorrow by staging their own demonstration and calling for "a more realistic and broadminded approach" to the current stance on homosexuality in the Church. One of the students, a 21 year-old woman called Nika with a hard-to-miss silver ring in her bottom lip, told ACNS/ENS that she had never been to church, but was joining the protest. "I am very spiritual," she said, "but I'm not much for organised religion." Asked if she'd consider actually going to a church that took this kind of action, she said, "Yeah, I think I would. Yeah, I'll have to give it a try."

The American Anglican Council (AAC) will be sending two representatives to Durham, New Hampshire during this weekend's consecration. The Revd Canon Dr Kendall S. Harmon, Canon Theologian for the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Rt Revd David Bena, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Albany, will be providing support for New Hampshire Episcopalians grieved by the actions of their diocese and to also stand with them in opposition to the consecration.

Ever since the 74th General Convention in Minneapolis, there has been a superabundance of opinion that has turned into a struggle over the true nature of the Anglican Communion. The conservative contingency at tomorrow's consecration will be positioning themselves to contend and protest what they see as the demise of traditional scripture while others will be observing what they feel is a remarkable turning point in the history of the church. The student protesters, many of whom are without religious affiliation, go blank when asked about the view of the Bible on the question, but seem united that "it's about time" when commenting on the event.

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Today is the day. It

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Today is the day. It is "D" day for the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We leave the seminary at 7:00 am for the five hour drive to New Hampshire. I have such mixed feelings about all this, but it will be a historic day - perhaps an infamous day.


"Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me.

"Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."
(St. Patrick's Breastplate)

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A decision has been made and announced by the Anglican Mission in America (the schismatic group of "conservative" - I hate using that term! - Episcopalians who align themselves with and are given authority by the Anglican Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and Yong Ping Chung of SouthEast Asia) concerning the ordination of women. There have been many saying that if the reactionary-conservatives are permitted to take control of the Episcopal Church USA that one of their first actions would be to rescind the right of women to obtain Holy Orders/ordination to the priesthood. Well, that is exactly what has happened. The two women priests who have aligned themselves with the AMiA will be allowed to retain their Orders, but only on staff at their present assignments. Any women priest in the future who aligns herself with the AMiA will have her Orders to the priesthood revoked and she will function as a Deacon.

If the American Anglican Council succeeds in its efforts to have its churches declared the official representatives of the Anglican Communion in the U.S., with its power coming from some African, Asian, and South American bishops, then expect them to come to the same conclusion as did the AMiA. There have been statements that the different factional parties represented in the AAC have opposing beliefs concerning women's ordination. AAC will not be able to hold together with these kinds of differences, especially since they are beholden to reactionary-conservative bishops in provinces that do not allow women priests. Once schism happens, schism will continue between those who favor and those who do not favor women priests - let alone bishops.

Here is the announcement:

For Immediate Distribution, Contact: Jay L. Greener
Communications Officer: The Anglican Mission in America
jay@anglicanmissioninamerica.org

Anglican Mission in America Announces Policy on Women's Ordination

After an extensive and thorough process of study and reflection the leadership of the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA) has announced its newly adopted policy on the ordination of women.

Archbishops Emmanuel Kolini of Rwanda and Yong Ping Chung of SouthEast Asia, sponsors of the Anglican Mission, have provided the guidance to ordain properly qualified and called women as deacons, but not as priests or bishops.

The decision follows two years of intensive study and input on the part of a special commission chaired by the Rt. Rev. Dr. John Rodgers. Bishop Rodgers, formerly President of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry in Pittsburgh, indicated that to his knowledge, it is the most extensive study and review of its kind on the issue of women's ordination.

Commission members, who represented a variety of views on the topic, read a large amount of background material, dealt with the biblical texts and considered the best way forward. Along the way a major document was produced, likely the only one of its kind, outlining the various options, the pros and cons, and the exegesis related to each position. The report was then considered by the leadership of each AMiA congregation, and feedback was received. After this, the findings went to the House of Bishops in Rwanda in early October for their deliberation, and finally to the sponsoring Primates of the Anglican Mission for their decision.

As promised when the Anglican Mission was formed in 2000, the two women who had already been ordained Priests and had affiliated with the AMiA, will be permitted to continue their ministry as priests, serving on staff where called. However, women who seek affiliation with the Anglican Mission from this point on, who are already ordained as priests, will be asked to serve as deacons. Also as promised, women deacons will only be appointed to minister where they are openly received.

"As baptized Christians, we all have a call to ministry," observed Bishop John Rodgers. "As a missionary movement, we need the full and active participation of all our members, ordained and lay. This is true of both women and men in our midst. We need godly women to provide important leadership and ministry as lay leaders, and when so called within the sacred order of deacons."

The full 142 page report of the study commission is now available on CD-Rom, for a cost of $5 each. To order, please contact the Anglican Mission in America's National Mission Center at 843-237-0318, or email info@anglicanmissioninamerica.org

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"I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three

"I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven, the glorious sun's life giving ray, the whiteness of the moon at even, the flashing of the lightning free, the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks, te stable earth, the deep salt sea, around the old eternal rocks.

"I bind unto myself the power of the great love of cherubim; the sweet 'Well done' in judgment hour; the service of the seraphim; confessors' faith, apostles' word, the partriarchs' prayers, the prophet's scrolls; all good deeds done unto the Lord, and purity of virgin souls."

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The American Anglican Council has taken out a full-page advertisement in the "Manchester Union Leader newspaper in support of Episcopalians in New Hampshire opposed to the Consecration of Gene Robinson." You can download a copy of the ad here. If you want to see the ad, click here.

The American Anglican Council has taken out a full-page advertisement in the "Manchester Union Leader newspaper in support of Episcopalians in New Hampshire opposed to the Consecration of Gene Robinson." You can download a copy of the ad here. If you want to see the ad, click here.

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For expressing an opinion, this happens. As much as I value Evangelicalism and the very good and positive aspects of this approach to Christian understanding, this type of reaction from "evangelicals," who are really fundamentalists (which started as a simple, straightforward renewal movement and now has descended into unquestioning, religious zealotry and despotism), is terribly disturbing. I have come to oppose with every fiber of my being Dominion Theology/Christian Reconstructionism, which is advocated by many within the politicized Religious Right. To be fair, many politically active conservative Christians do not support Dominion Theology. The goal is a take-over of American government in order to institute their view of a Christian nation. This article from Episcopal News Service, however, is how it translates into only the most minor of problems. I will say this time, which I try to refute with many of my more liberal friends, these parents are responding out of abject fear and ignorance. Anyway, here is the article:


10/29/2003

Chaplain resigns after column supporting Robinson's election

by Jan Nunley

[Episcopal News Service] An Episcopal chaplain who wrote a column for a Georgia private school's newspaper supporting the election of Canon Gene Robinson, an openly gay man in a committed relationship, as bishop coadjutor of New Hampshire has resigned under pressure from the school's administration.

The Rev. John Merchant was chaplain of Darlington School, a non-denominational private Christian preparatory school in Rome, Georgia. He took the position this summer and resigned effective October 10.

Merchant's column was one of five articles about homosexuality written at the request of an editor of the school's publication, The Darlingtonian. In the column, published in early September, Merchant said that spirituality matters more to God than sexual orientation and that the Bible should not always be interpreted literally.

The column sparked protests from some parents, who threatened to withdraw financial support. School president David Hicks and headmaster David Rhodes asked Merchant to set up meetings to apologize to those upset with the article. "Specifically, we want you to initiate between 50 and 75 one-on-one meetings over the next 30 days," Rhodes and Hicks said in a September 30 letter to Merchant. "These meetings will be with those who have expressed dissent with your views, concern over your chaplaincy, or the intention to withdraw their children or support from the school."

But Merchant refused, calling the request "morally and academically intolerable."

"After much deliberation and discussion, Father Merchant informed the president of Darlington School that the situation had become too stressful for him to perform his ministry here, and he tendered his resignation," school president David V. Hicks said in a statement. "We have, with sadness, accepted that resignation. We believe this decision is what's best for the entire Darlington School community."

Faculty newspaper adviser Karen Rieley told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the controversy caught her by surprise. "If you're asking did I know it would upset people, no I didn't," she said.

Merchant told the newspaper he was stunned by the administration's reaction. "I felt like I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar," he said. "They said I had caused a terrible situation for Darlington and it was up to me to get them out of it. I was speechless." A history teacher, Merchant noted, "I had spent the first weeks in class teaching religious tolerance, dealing with the settlement of the Colonies."

The controversy spilled over into the surrounding community. Rome News-Tribune editor John Druckenmiller criticized the school's actions in a column titled "A Failing Grade in Freedom of Speech 101."

Hicks announced Merchant's resignation to students and faculty members at an assembly held October 10 and in a letter to parents. "We have never questioned Father Merchant's right to his own opinions," the letter said. "However, after much discussion, Father Merchant informed me that, given the situation in our community, he felt he could not perform his ministry here. Father Merchant is a good man. We wish him only the best as he continues his Christian ministry."-- The Rev. Jan Nunley is deputy director of Episcopal News Service. Chris Marr of the Rome News-Tribune, Norman Arey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Okay, I went to the

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Okay, I went to the parade. I was actually disappointed in the creativity - I had expected a whole lot more. My gosh, after all, if they televise the thing nationally, which they did a couple years ago, I could expect something fantastic, could I not? I guess having so many more people around just means you have so much more mediocrity. Everyone had a lot of fun, which was the important thing, so it was not all bad. I did see a lot of interesting people. A group of gay guys and a women or two where in a group and they were hilarious to listen to. The parade used to wind its way throughout the streets of the West Village and was simply made up of neighborhood people. They even went through the small side streets, until it all just got too bid. They now parade up 6th Ave. and people from all over come to participate.

This was the first time I have been in a crush of people. The sidewalks, and then part of the streets, where simply filled with people. There was a group of gay guys and a few women standing by me. They were hilarious - a lot of fun. It literally took me more than five minutes to negotiate around a street corner - I mean around the side of a building. It was a fun experience, if only to be in a crowd like that.

Frankly, I had more fun watching all the kids trick-or-treating with their parents around Chelsea then I did at the parade. I am amazed and heartened to see so many kids dressed up and doing this kind of thing in the city. They would go from business to business and then later, after dark, they went to brownstones throughout the neighborhood. Everyone was in a very good mood - but how could not be seeing all these kids so excited and all dressed up. There was one little boy, probably around three, that was dressed up in a full-body, furry dog costume running in from of this dad. I new it was his dad (I suspect) because he had the "dog" on a leash. It was so cute - the kid just running ahead of him like a dog would do. He looked like he was so excited.

I did treat myself by walking up to Chocolate Bar and having a hot chocolate, or as they put it "Liquid Chocolate." It was good. It also enabled me to watch the throng streaming through the streets in costume and just gawking. There were two guys dressed up in white "Tron" costumes. They seemed to get the most reaction out of people - "Hey Tron! I loved Tron!"

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