Saturday, 15 December 2007

Archbishop of Canterbury's Advent Letter to Primates

Ed: This is a long and technical letter to the Primates of the Anglican Communion detailing some of Rowan Williams' concerns and expectations about the current divisions in the Communion and his hopes for the Lambeth Conference in 2008. It can be read here.

Read a comment on the letter here.

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Thursday, 13 December 2007

Church 'fury' over Council 'hijacking' of Christmas


The Church of England has written a spoof hymn bemoaning the "hijacking" of Christmas by a local council.

The hymn, a reworking of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, accuses Warrington Council of forgetting the meaning of Christmas with its choice of Christmas lights.

Rather than invoking a traditional Christmas spirit, the local authority has erected lights bearing the message "Recycle for Warrington".

The Diocese of Manchester said Christians in Warrington, Cheshire, have been "insulted" by the decision to link the festive season with a recycling promotion.

It has accused the authority of "using a secular agenda to remove overtly Christian symbols".

The Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Rev David Gillett, said: "I am quite surprised to see the usual Christmas greetings replaced by the slogan Recycle for Warrington.

"The various faith communities in Warrington all share the common belief that we should care for our environment and celebrate festivals in an appropriate way.

"For the majority of Warrington's population the celebration of Christmas is an important time. I hope that next year the council will reinstate Christmas." Read more
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Bishop of Wakefield aims to make an impression

WITHOUT the gift of prophecy, it's difficult to be certain. But there's a good chance that tomorrow there'll be more people in Wesley Owen's, the bookshop in Vicar Lane, Leeds, where they do religion, than there will be in the next door Chinese supermarket where they go in for Szechuan sauce and star anise.
Why? Because there's a book signing being done by a Yorkshire church leader who has been dubbed an ecclesiastical Rory Bremner.

Stephen Platten, bishop of Wakefield, does, for instance, a remarkably good Robert Runcie, the now deceased former Archbishop of Canterbury who was his old boss when he was the primate's secretary for ecumenical affairs at Lambeth Palace. Platten captures with amazing accuracy the voice of Runcie, which was a strange mixture of Malcolm Muggeridge and Frankie Howerd.

Not that there is likely to be any mimicking of anybody by the Bishop of Wakefield at tomorrow's book signing. The exercise is rather too serious and weighty a matter for any episcopal tomfoolery.

Stephen Platten, like all his brother bishops, along with probably every vicar in the land, is painfully aware of the fact that the Church of England has tragically lost touch with the vast majority of people and urgently needs to recapture their hearts and minds.

It must, that is, win back the unchurched millions by somehow bringing them to a renewed sense of knowledge about and confidence in God. The challenge, as he admits in his new book, Rebuilding Jerusalem: The
Church's hold on hearts and minds, is immense.

How to even begin? Platten, who has been Bishop of Wakefield since 2003, and was previously Dean of Norwich, thinks the tired old CofE must show more of a commitment to the poor. He also believes there's a need for a rediscovery of engagement with mystery. Read more
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Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Chicago Consultation: "Gay agenda is gospel agenda"

Anglicans from around the world met near Chicago December 5-7 to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the church.

Meeting at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, the 50-member group known as the Chicago Consultation urged leaders of the Episcopal Church to permit the blessing of same-gender relationships and to remove barriers that keep gay candidates from being elected as bishops, according to a news release from the group.

"Some people call it the gay agenda, but we call it the Gospel Agenda," the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Chicago, co-convener of the Consultation, said in the release. "We are asking our church and our communion to see what God has created and know that it is good."

The Consultation also called upon Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to invite New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson as a full participant to the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Robinson, a member of the Consultation, is the only diocesan bishop in the Anglican Communion living openly in a same-gender relationship.

"We wanted to affirm Gene," said Diocese of Washington Bishop John Bryson Chane in the release, "but we also wanted to affirm all of the anonymous gay and lesbian Christians who have graced the church with their God-given gifts -- even when the church has been unwilling to receive them."

Participants from Africa, England and New Zealand joined Anglicans from Central, North and South America in "pledging to work against schismatic leaders who have sought to gain power in the Communion by turning marginalized groups against one another," the release said.

"Homophobia is a sin whose end time is now," said the Rev. Canon Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professor of Divinity at Christ Church, Oxford University, in a paper opening the Consultation.

Human institutions are riddled with systemic evils, she said. "Our calling is to discern which ones are ripe for uprooting and to take the lead in eradicating them, beginning in the garden behind our own house." Read more
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Rowan Williams interview with Oi! magazine online

Worth a read - here, at the Archbishop's website, or download the pdf from Oi! magazine here.


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Inter Milan football strip offends Muslims

Ed: Just out of curiosity, I Googled the following phrases:
"Offends Muslims", 12,300 results
"Offends Christians", 3,189 results
"Offends Jews", 1,770 results
"Offends Buddhists", 221 results
"Offends Hindus", 376 results
"Offends Pagans", 149 results

I also found for the phrase "insulting Christianity" 1,950 results, compared with "insulting Islam", which produced 327,000 results!

A football strip worn by Italian team Inter Milan is at the centre of a legal row after a lawyer claimed it offended "Muslim sensibilities".

Players wore the new strip – a white shirt with large red cross on it – in a Champions League match last month against Turkish team Fenerbah├že to celebrate the club’s centenary.

But a Turkish lawyer, Baris Kaska, took exception to the "Crusader-style" cross which he said symbolised "Western racist superiority over Islam".

He claimed the offending shirt reminded Turks of an emblem of the Christian order of the Knights Templar.

Mr Kaska, who specialises in European law, has lodged a complaint in a local court against the club.

He is seeking damages, and is appealing to Uefa to annul the match, which Inter Milan won 3-0.
Read more

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ABp Williams: Family and God keep me going - even if they all think I'm an idiot

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, stops work at 6pm so he can watch The Simpsons. He is more afraid of what his wife Jane thinks than he is of the Editor of the Daily Mail. And he believes that gay clergy should adhere to the Bible and not act upon their sexual preferences.

Dr Williams spoke of the insecurities and anxieties of high office in the Church of England in an interview with three teenage reporters from the youth magazine Oi!.

He told one of the interviewers, 17-year-old Georgie Gothard, who said that she was 12 weeks pregnant and did not know whether she should keep the baby, that he could never advise anyone to have an abortion and that the 24-week limit was too high.

“Personally, I believe a child is a gift from God and you wouldn’t give a gift back, would you?” he said.

And he confessed that, although at £60,000 a year he earns less than a headteacher, he enjoys his job – “at least the nonpolitical side of things”. Read more

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Anglican gay rows harm relations with Rome

Divisions over sexual ethics could be harmful in the relations between the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church, a cardinal in Rome said.

Speaking to the Pope and cardinals in a private meeting three weeks ago Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian unity, said that there were disagreements with the Anglicans that had stalled talks.

"While progress is being made on theological divisions, new divergences are emerging in the ethical field," he said.

"These concern in particular the questions related to the defence of life, to marriage, to the family, and to human sexuality.

"Because of these new divisions that are being created, common public witness is significantly weakened, if not impossible." Read more
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ABp of Wales: Dr Williams 'in an invidious position'

[...] Dr Williams has previously spoken out in favour of gay clergy while saying he knew of one homosexual couple who had done an excellent job of raising a child.

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, indicated the Church in Wales is similarly split over issues like same-sex adoption and the ordination of gay clergy.

He said Dr Williams was in an invidious position in having to hold together the Anglican church worldwide by trying to ensure his own liberal views do not alienate more conservative elements within the faith.

Dr Morgan said, “The point is that there are his personal views and then there are the views of the Church which he represents.

“The position of the worldwide Anglican community is that it’s not opposed to gay clergy – it’s opposed to gay clergy who are practising homosexuals.

“On the gay adoption issue some people would argue that it’s necessary to have people of the opposite sex to bring up a child.

“But like Archbishop Rowan I can think of one particular couple, who have brought up a child fantastically well that no one else wanted.”

Dr Morgan, who is in favour of the ordination of gay clergy and says homosexual couples should not be automatically barred from adoption, has to walk a similar tightrope.

“That’s my personal position and I’m not sure that the Church in Wales is at that point either. There are different views within the Church in Wales and I suppose what’s important is that we should remain in dialogue with one another.

“We shouldn’t take up entrenched positions from which we launch grenades at one another. I feel we’re a bit beleaguered at the minute.” Read more

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Rowan Williams: Practising homosexual clergy "don't adhere to Bible"

(Ed: In the same interview he also expresses opposition to abortion.)

[...] Mylie Veitch, 18, asked him for his views on a gay friend of hers who is considering adopting with his partner.

Dr Williams said: “This is a big one. I have questions as to whether same-sex couples can provide the same stability as ‘normal parents’. I have no answers really, just questions.

“Many would argue that we need a balance of men and women to bring a child up. However, I have seen one fantastic example of same-sex parenting first hand and I suppose stability is another key consideration.”

Asked about his support for gay clergy, he replied: “I have no problem with gay clergy who aren’t in relationships, although there are savage arguments about the issue you might have heard about. Our jobs mean we have to adhere to the Bible. Gay clergy who don’t act upon their sexual preferences do, clergy in practising homosexual relationships don’t. This major question doesn’t have a quick-fix solution and I imagine will be debated for many years to come.” Read more

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Archbishop of Canterbury 'aware of' Southern Cone Realignment proposals

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, seems prepared to let the American Episcopal Church (TEC) work out its problems with parishes and dioceses leaving the denomination without interfering in their internal affairs.

Dr. Williams is being kept appraised of the situation in the United States and will apparently not comment publicly on the situation, but is letting events unfold, VirtueOnline Was told by Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone.

Newspaper reports suggesting that there is a split between Southern Cone Primate Gregory Venables and Dr. Williams are not true, he told VOL. Read more
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BBC News: US Church splits over gay rights

A Californian diocese has voted to become the first to break away from the US Episcopal Church in protest at its support for gays in the Church.

Delegates of the San Joaquin diocese in Fresno voted 173-22 to secede.

It follows years of disagreement with Church authorities triggered by the consecration of a gay bishop in 2003.

The Episcopal Church is the US wing of the 77m-member Anglican Communion, which is threatened by a deep split between conservatives and liberals.

The Episcopal Church says that in recent years 32 of its 7,600 congregations had left, with another 23 voting to leave but not taking the final step.

San Joaquin is the first of the Church's 110 dioceses to complete the split.

In a later vote, the diocese accepted an invitation to join the province of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone of America. Read more
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'Continuing Episcopalians' making plans to reconstitute Diocese of San Joaquin

Local leaders, along with those from the wider church, are already making plans for the continuation of the Diocese of San Joaquin following a vote to disassociate from the Episcopal Church.

Michael Glass, a San Rafael, California-based attorney who represents congregations and individual Episcopalians who wish to remain in the Episcopal Church, told Episcopal News Service (ENS) December 11 that he, local leaders, Chancellor to the Presiding Bishop David Booth Beers, and leaders from Episcopal dioceses surrounding San Joaquin "are coming together very soon to finalize our coordinated efforts to provide for the leadership needs, the legal and pastoral issues, and the financial concerns of our brothers and sisters in San Joaquin, and to provide for the continuation of the diocese."

The Rev. Robert Moore will meet with the group as well. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori appointed Moore "to provide an ongoing pastoral presence to the continuing Episcopalians in the Diocese of San Joaquin," said the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop. Read more
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Inclusive Church condemns support for Duncan, Iker

Sir

Canon Killwick and Prebendary Houlding (Letters, 30 November) both claim that the main rationale for supporting Bishops Duncan and Iker (News, 23 November) is "the threat of action under church law". In contrast Fr Kirk erroneously claims that a doctrinal offence is the issue.

The recent actions of these bishops, and of their diocesan synods, are clearly contrary to the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. It is passing strange for members of General Synod to express support for unlawful behaviour in any other province. If the Bishop of (say) Rochester or Blackburn were openly to egg on their diocesan synods to pass resolutions purporting to dissociate from the Church of England and join (say) the Province of the Southern Cone or the Church of Ireland, would they expect the Archbishops of Canterbury or York to stand idly by? Of course not.

The Presiding Bishop is to be commended for her gentle but firm tone in writing to ensure that these (and other) bishops are fully aware that their actions will have consequences. She knows full well that a small minority of disgruntled Episcopalians, well-financed by wealthy conservatives, were plotting and scheming, long before the election of the current Bishop of New Hampshire, to get The Episcopal Church excluded from the Anglican Communion.

We hope the Archbishop of Canterbury will take at least as firm a line as the Presiding Bishop is doing, in responding to the request of the Canadian church. He should make clear that the recent actions of the Southern Cone in both the USA and Canada are wholly unacceptable to the Communion at large.

Yours

Canon Giles Goddard

Read here
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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

UK Muslims warned against 'victim culture'

The Conservative peer who helped negotiate the release of the primary school teacher jailed in Sudan for allowing her pupils to name a teddy bear Mohamed, attacked her fellow British Muslims today for their "victim culture".

Baroness Warsi, a Conservative spokeswoman on community cohesion, also criticised Labour for its "patronage politics" and for having encouraged the "divisive concept" of multiculturalism.

Lady Warsi, 36, born to Pakistani parents in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, is the youngest member of the House of Lords. She came to public notice earlier this month when she was asked by Lord Ahmed, a Labour peer, to accompany him to Sudan to mediate the release of Gillian Gibbons, who had been jailed for insulting Islam. Read more
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Average age of murdered London teenagers is just 16

The average age of teenagers murdered on the streets of London is just 16, an Evening Standard study has revealed.

We also discovered that children as young as 13 are being charged in connection with the deaths.

Even before the murder of 14-year-old Jack Large - who became the 25th teenager murdered in the capital this year - senior police officers described 2007 as the worst in living memory.

Jack, who died after being knifed on a Chigwell estate on 30 November, was one of 16 teenagers stabbed to death.

Another eight were shot and one was beaten to death. Read more
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Ruth Gledhill's Blog: Anglican experiment "is over"

his lovely photo has reached my desk from the latest CANA consecrations, reported by BabyBlue, who has a video. The story is also on Thinking Anglicans. Martyn Minns delivered an address to the CANA council that preceded the consecrations. The Times' Tom Baldwin reports today from Washington today that San Joaquin has formally severed its ties with The Episcopal Church, the first to do so. Meawhile, Jim Rosenthal has taken time out from his St Nicholas duties to issue a denial that Rowan Williams has endorsed the actions of Gregory Venables in providing a safe haven for dioceses such as San Joaquin. Read more
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Calls to 'depose' retired Bishop in Chelmsford

Ed: Pretty wearisome stuff, but the Liberal blog 'Thinking Anglicans' features numerous calls for the removal of the license of retired Bishop John Ball who attended the recent consecrations to CANA in North America. For the record, Bishop Ball wrote to the other bishops in Chelmsford informing them of his attendance before he went.

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Monday, 10 December 2007

Rival Anglican group sets up in San Joaquin

Ed: Since the vote on Saturday that the diocese of San Joaquin should disaffiliate for the time being from The Episcopal Church, a rival group within the diocese has set up a website, with the following welcome:

Those of us who remain Episcopal within the Diocese of San Joaquin extend our thanks and appreciation for the overwhelming expression of love and support that we have received from faithful Episcopalians and Anglicans throughout The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. We are committed to the very challenging tasks that we are now faced with, including but not limited to, supporting and protecting the clergy that have stood with us, maintaining and growing the parishes that retain their Episcopal affiliation, providing support and leadership to those who are in the minority in their current parishes, informing and gathering those who have left over the years in response to words and actions they found oppressive and marginalizing. To those within our diocese who have not felt represented by Remain Episcopal but have a desire to remain loyal to The Episcopal Church, please know that we do not exclude those who may feel their opinions and beliefs differ from ours. Read more

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Four new bishops consecrated for CANA

On Sunday, 9 December 2007, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) held the consecration of four new suffragan bishops in the USA: Roger Ames, David Anderson, Amos Fagbamiye, and Nathan Kanu. These four will join Missionary Bishop Martyn Minns and Suffragan Bishop David Bena in leading CANA. Read more

Amongst those attending the service was retired Bishop John Ball, who ministers in the Diocese of Chelmsford. Bishop John was also one of those who signed a letter of welcome to the new bishops. The other signatories were:

Bishop Wallace Benn, Bishop of Lewes and President of the Church of England Evangelical Council
Bishop Colin Bazley, former Primate of the Southern Cone,Assistant Bishop, Diocese of Chester
Rev Dr Richard Turnbull, Chair of the Church of England Evangelical Council
Rev Richard Bewes, former Rector of All Souls Langham Place.
Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream and member of General Synod
Rev Geoffrey Kirk, Director, Forward in Faith
The Venerable Michael Lawson, Archdeacon of Hampstead
Rev Geoffrey Kirk, Forward in Faith.
The Rev David McCarthy, Rector, St Silas, Glasgow
Mr Paul Boyd-Lee, Chair of 1990 Group in General Synod
Mrs Sarah Finch, Member of General Synod
The Rev Paul Perkin, Chair of the Covenant Group for the Church of England and Member of General Synod
The Rev David Banting, Rector of St Peters Harold Wood
The Rev David Phillips, General Secretary, Church Society
The Rev Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe’s Oxford
Mrs Alison Ruoff, member of General Synod
Canon Dr Chris Sugden, Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream and member of General Synod

More links on the Thinking Anglicans (Liberal) blog here.

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TV clip Archbishop in Mugabe protest

The Archbishop of York dramatically cut up his dog collar during a live television interview yesterday, and vowed not wear it again until Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe is out of office.

Dr John Sentamu made the gesture on the Andrew Marr show. He removed his dog collar, saying: "As an Anglican this is what I wear to identify myself, that I'm a clergyman. Do you know what Mugabe has done? He's taken people's identity and literally, if you don't mind, cut it to pieces. In the end there's nothing." Read more
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UK Muslim apostates threatened over Christianity

Sofia Allam simply could not believe it. Her kind, loving father was sitting in front of her threatening to kill her. He said she had brought shame and humiliation on him, that she was now "worse than the muck on their shoes" and she deserved to die.

Sofia Allam received death threats after leaving the Muslim faith for Christianity
Religious persecution of the kind Sofia suffers is increasingly common in Britain today

And what had brought on his transformation? He had discovered that she had left the Muslim faith in which he had raised her and become a Christian.

"He said he couldn't have me in the house now that I was a Kaffir [an insulting term for a non-Muslim]," Sofia - not her real name - remembers.

"He said I was damned for ever. He insulted me horribly. I couldn't recognise that man as the father who had been so kind to me as I was growing up.

"My mother's transformation was even worse. She constantly beat me about the head. She screamed at me all the time. I remember saying to them, as they were shouting death threats, 'Mum, Dad - you're saying you should kill me… but I'm your daughter! Don't you realise that?'?" Read more
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Basra's murderous militias tell Christian women to cover up or face death

On her first day at Basra University this year a man came up to Zeena, a 21-year-old Christian woman, and three other Christian girls and ordered them to cover their heads with a hijab, or Islamic headscarf.

“We didn't listen to him, and thought he might just be some extremist student representing only himself,” she said. The next day Zeena and two of her friends returned to class with uncovered heads.

This time a man in the black clothes of the Shia militia stopped them at the entrance and took them aside. “He said, 'We asked you yesterday to wear a hijab, so why are you and your friends not covering your hair?'. He was talking very aggressively and I was scared,” Zeena recalled.

The girls explained that they were Christians and that their faith did not call for headscarves. “He said: 'Outside this university you are Christian and can do what you want; inside you are not. Next time I want to see you wearing a hijab or I swear to God the three of you will be killed immediately',” Zeena recalled. Terrified, the girls ran home. They now wear the headscarf all the time. Read more
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Prison does not work, we need more university researchers

Two letters in the Times in response to this article along with Peter Kirk's comment, but taking issue with 'Theodore Dalrymple' (a pseudonymn), not me ;-).

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Sunday, 9 December 2007

TEC Presiding Bishop Eyes New Leadership for Diocese of San Joaquin

The Episcopal Church will continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin, albeit with new leadership, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said after she learned that clergy and lay delegates to the diocese’s annual convention voted today to approve the second and final reading of a constitutional amendment to leave The Episcopal Church and accept an offer of affiliation from the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone.

“We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness,” Bishop Jefferts Schori said. “We wish them to know of our prayers for them and their journey. The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave.” Read more
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I wish you a very Christian Christmas

[...] In Britain we're well-rehearsed in the "Winterval v Christmas" debate. We welcome the school Nativity play that has morphed into a hybrid celebration of Diwali, Hannukah, or Russian Orthodoxy. We may balk when we read that children's choirs are banned from singing traditional carols in shopping malls, and that Santa has been replaced by a "more inclusive pixie" in a school in Brighton. But if the end result is a multicultural society at ease with itself, then so be it.

The galling reality is that the practitioners of other faiths don't care how we celebrate. They accept the Christmas story as just that, an entertaining story. They consider the bank holidays that mark it to be a bonus, and think we're mad to neuter our celebrations in the way we do. But we remain consumed by fear of causing offence, and the unthinking, politically correct, "Christianophobic" jobsworths who run our institutions are to blame.

And so we have the ludicrous situation reported this week whereby travellers to Bahrain - an Islamic country - find the airport fulsomely decorated for Christmas, with Santas in abundance, while O Come All Ye Faithful blasts from the duty-free electronics store. At Heathrow, there are minimal decorations and no carols in case Muslim passengers or airport employees are offended. Read more
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San Joaquin votes to leave Episcopal Church, realign with Southern Cone

Delegates attending the 48th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday, December 8, overwhelmingly voted to leave the Episcopal Church and to align with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield asked for a moment of silence in deference to those who opposed the change, reminding the gathering that he "knows what it feels like to be a minority" before the vote tallies were read. The results, by orders were: 70-12 clergy and 103-10 vote in the lay order to effectively remove all references to the Episcopal Church from its constitution and describe the diocese as "a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in full communion with the See of Canterbury."

"The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave this church," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. "We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness. We wish them to know of our prayers for them and their journey. The Episcopal Church will continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin, albeit with new leadership." Read more
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Calif. diocese votes to split with Episcopal Church over role of gays, lesbians

An Episcopal diocese in central California voted Saturday to split with the national denomination over disagreements about the role of gays and lesbians in the church.

Clergy and lay members of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin voted 173-22 at their annual convention to remove all references to the national church from the diocese's constitution, according to spokeswoman Joan Gladstone.

The Fresno-based congregation is the first full diocese to secede because of a conservative-liberal rift that began decades ago and is now focused on whether the Bible condemns gay relationships.

The diocese, in a later vote, accepted an invitation to join a conservative South American congregation of the Worldwide Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. member of the global Anglican Communion.

The decision is almost certain to spark a court fight over control of the diocese's multimillion-dollar real estate holdings and other assets. Read more
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Episcopal Diocese Votes to Secede

The Diocese of San Joaquin voted on Saturday to cut ties with the Episcopal Church, the first time in the church’s history a diocese has done so over theological issues and the biggest leap so far by dissident Episcopalians hoping to form a rival national church in the United States.

Fissures have moved through the Episcopal Church, the American arm of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members, and through the Communion itself since the church ordained V. Gene Robinson, a gay man in a long-term relationship, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

Traditionalists at home and abroad assert that the Bible describes homosexuality as an abomination, and they consider the Episcopal Church’s ordination of Bishop Robinson as the latest and most galling proof of its rejection of biblical authority. Read more
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