Friday, March 31, 2006

Time to fish or cut bait

The Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA) continues to flounder in the dark swamp of what to do or what not to do in the next general convention. Do they pull back from the abyss that they are tethering over due to same sex unions, ordination of homosexual priest and the elevation of of openly active homosexuals as Bishops. For them, at this point in time, it would be a prudent action however I feel that they will continue to throw all good reason to the winds and plunge stubbornly forward as they have done in the past.

The following excerpt was found today on the AAC web site which is a continuing example of the pulse of the Anglican Communion.

Bishop of Exeter's Reflections Offered to the House of Bishops of ECUSA
*Below is a significant excerpt of the Bishop of Exeter's statement to the House of Bishops; the entire statement is available on the AAC website
"...I suppose one of the major challenges for the Episcopal Church now has to do with whether there are enough of you to stand on broadly the same ground, holding a range of opinions on the issue of Lambeth 1.10 but firm in carrying forward the Windsor vision of a strengthened and enabling communion life. This, I believe, is the key question rather than questions (unhelpful questions I think) about whether the Episcopal Church will either be pushed out of Communion or consciously walk away. Let's be clear: On the one hand no one can force another Province or Diocese either to go or remain. We are not that kind of Church. Yet equally, no Diocese or Province can enforce its own continued membership simply or largely on its own terms. There has to be engagement. There is no communion without a shared vision of life in communion (at least that is how I understand Windsor).
"So it does seem to me, as I listen to those other parts of the Communion that I know best, that any further consecration of those in a same sex relationship; any authorisation of any person to undertake same sex blessings; any stated intention not to seriously engage with The Windsor Report -- will be read very widely as a declaration not to stay with the Communion as it is, or as the Windsor Report has articulated a vision, particularly in sections A and B, of how it wishes to be. Having said that, I do believe that I have heard in this house this week, by and large, a desire for shared life in communion and ongoing engagement with others in just what this must involve..."
-The Rt. Rev. Michael Langrish, Bishop of ExeterKanuga, N.C.March 22, 2006

No individual, congregation or province can drift this far from the traditional teachings of the Anglican communion and stay afloat. There comes a time when all concerned simply say "enough is enough." Unfortunately it appears that that time is just around the corner.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Women Priest in the Episcopal Church

Alice Linsley served as a priest and rector in the Episcopal Church until she came to believe that the Episcopal Church has abandonded catholic order. She has renounced her orders in the Episcopal Church and has written about her journey and her position against women's ordination. I especially found this part interesting:

Question: Where do Evangelicals who support women priest go wrong in your view?

Response: The iorny of Evangelicals is that they say they believe in the authority of Scripture but then allow cultural accommodation of ther interpretation of Scripture

I will have to agree. I have never understood why those calling themselves "Evangelical" or scripture based so often look over biblical passages that speak about divorce or women's ordination. These two issues are the most glaring contradictions in the Evangelical worldview - to speak generally, but not absolutely.

Full text of
Alice Linsley: Q & A via Pontifications.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Why the flight to Africa or parts unknown?

USA TODAY had an article last week about another parish that has left ECUSA to align with the Anglican church of Rwanda. Part of that has been extracted here.

Each Sunday before beginning the main service at Grace Church in Orange Park, Fla., the Rev. Sam Pascoe tells the assembled congregation that after 125 years, the church they worship in is no longer part of the American Episcopal Church. On the first of the year, Pascoe and most of his 350-member congregation left one of the oldest and wealthiest U.S. denominations and joined the Episcopal Church of Rwanda, a poor, genocide-scarred African nation 7,600 miles away. The hymns are the same, the prayer book is the same, and the U.S. and Rwandan churches are both branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion, headquartered in England and led by the archbishop of Canterbury. But the U.S. church accepts openly gay priests and bishops, and the Rwandan church, like Grace, emphatically does not. The congregation of Grace Church is one of more than three dozen across the country that have left the Episcopal Church USA since it approved in 2003 the election of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, who has a same-sex partner. Pascoe and his flock joined the Diocese of Rwanda, which has been recruiting unhappy Episcopalian parishes since 2000.

Other U.S. congregations have joined Anglican dioceses in Uganda, Brazil and Bolivia

One has to question this headlong rush of these parishes to place themselves under the leadership of a far distant province. Most of the administration, bishops and support are all over there and they continue to be in communion with Canterbury. There is some local presence in the United States of administration for one or two of of the provinces but even with this all being taken into consideration is such a move really worth it? Last, but not least, due to the recent stance taken by the Archbishop of Canterbury in regard to continuing to allow homosexuals into the priesthood in the Church of England, same sex marriages or unions, and fostering an any thing goes attitude, then those fleeing parishes will be no better off in that far distant land than they were under ECUSA.

The Anglican Church in America under the leadership of The Most Reverend Louis W. Falk has been and is willing to continue to provide shelter and leadership to all those disparaging Episcopalians. The Anglican Church in America is also a member of The Traditional Anglican Communion which is at this point over one half million strong. They are not in communion with Canterbury or ECUSA due to obvious reasons. The Traditional Anglican Communion is uniformly orthodox and traditional in its teaching and practice, while the Canterbury-based Communion emphasizes "inclusiveness" and embraces a wide range of beliefs. The TAC shares a common ancestry, including Apostolic Succession, with Canterbury, but there is no direct hierarchical or organizational connection between the two.

With the TAC the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which is still the standard for many Episcopalians, is the same. The Hymnal is the same and last but not least the Order of the Mass is the same. If these parishes are truly upset as to the changes wrought by ECUSA, perhaps then a return to the more Traditional form of worship and values is in order.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Lenten Journey

"Turn Ye even to me, saith the Lord, with all your heart and with fasting." We read these words in the book of Joel 2:12 and stop to wonder at the words of the writer. Here Joel calls us to a state of holiness where we are to stop and reflect on the goodness of God. To fast so that when the joyful day Easter arrives our hearts and souls may be filled with the love of the risen Christ.

On Ash Wednesday during a solemn mass, ash was smeared on our foreheads in the form of a cross as the admonishment was intoned "Remember O man/woman, dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return" This reminds us of the fact that we are indeed visitors upon this earth and as all things must we too shall also fade away. But as Christians the wondrous thing is that we shall be reborn again in to the heavenly kingdom of our father. Death would be a empty end to life and have no meaning had not Christ died and rose again.

The season of Lent is a time for all to reflect and renew our lives in Christ. Here we fast and reflect upon the goodness of God and his abounding mercy. Slowly we approach the Easter tide as empty vessels to be filled to the brim with God's love on that joyful day of resurrection.