Saturday, 20 September 2008

Chester honorary Bishop asks Williams to 'suspend' TEC

September 20th, 2008 Posted in News | Edit |

The Rt. Hon. and Most Reverend Rowan D. Williams, Lambeth Palace,,
London SE1 7JU.


Your Grace,

I write to you as a former primate of the Southern Cone and bishop of Chile, a Diocese which has enjoyed a Companion Relationship with the Diocese of Pittsburgh since 1978. It is a privilege to count Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan as one of my friends as well as a brother bishop, having known him since his consecration fifteen years ago.

You can imagine, therefore, my surprise on hearing that the Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America had accused Bishop Duncan of abandoning the church and had successfully moved in the House of Bishops that he should be deposed as a minister in the Church of God. I know Bishop Duncan to be an orthodox Christian believer, who has taught the biblical Anglican faith throughout his ministry. I understand on good authority that the process of his deposition has run counter to the canons of that church.

I write, therefore, to ask that you take immediate action in suspending the Episcopal Church from any further participation in activities of the Anglican Communion and in calling a meeting of the Primates to give formal recognition to a new Province in North America, as desired by the Common Cause Partners Federation. At that meeting the Primates must give guidance as to the future conduct of the Episcopal Church so as to enable it to return to the full fellowship of the Anglican Communion .

The action of Archbishop Gregory Venables in receiving Bishop Duncan as a member of the House of Bishops of the province of the Southern Cone should not be seen in any way as interference in another province, but as a fraternal act towards a brother who has, for a long time, been speaking out for biblical truth in a church which, by its teaching and actions, has been gradually separating itself from the rest of the Communion. He deserves our gratitude and full support.

You are in my prayers and those of many others, that you will have God's wisdom and despatch in dealing with this further tear in the fabric of our Communion, especially in view of your own pleas for holy restraint at the Lambeth Conference.

With every good wish

Colin F. Bazley

Hon. Assistant Bishop of Chester

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Friday, 19 September 2008

Duncan deposition “further evidence that TEC has denied the orthodox faith”

Anglican Mainstream response to Duncan deposition

"It is with great sadness that we have learned of the recent vote of TEC House of Bishops to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh for abandonment of communion. To take such action is hardly in the spirit of the reflections at this year’s Lambeth Conference or the Archbishop of Canterbury’s final presidential address.

We see this vote as further evidence that The Episcopal Church in the USA in its formal decisions and structures "have denied the orthodox faith". As the Jerusalem Declaration on behalf of 1100 Anglican church leaders around the world said: "We reject the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed. We pray for them and call on them to repent and return to the Lord."

Anglicans who adhere to the orthodox faith will continue to welcome and receive the ministry of Bishop Bob Duncan as a faithful Bishop and wish him and the people of the Diocese of Pittsburgh the Lord’s blessing in their faithful witness to the gospel."
Dr Philip Giddings (Convenor, Anglican Mainstream)

Canon Dr Chris Sugden (Executive Secretary, Anglican Mainstream)
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Creationist Britain (would you Adam and Eve it?)

On first appearances 12-year-old Caitlin McNabb is very much like any other schoolgirl. Sitting on the sofa with her parents, Wes and Jane, at their home in Greenwich, south-east London, Caitlin talks excitedly about her friends, her favourite subjects and the new school year.

But there is one difference between Caitlin and the other pupils at Plumstead Manor: she is reluctant to believe everything she is told.

"I was in a geography lesson and there was a lot of talk about 'this is how old the Earth is'," she says. "So I just said, 'there are different sides to it if you look at it in a religious way'. And the teacher said, 'Oh yes, yes that's true'."

"My friends have completely opposite opinions to my beliefs – but we get on fine." Her brother Caleb, six, is quieter, but asked if he believes in God and what is being discussed, he says: "Yes."

Caitlin and Caleb are two of a growing number of British children who are being brought up as creationists. Their beliefs were thrown into the spotlight this week by the enforced resignation of Professor Michael Reiss as director of education at the Royal Society. He suggested that so many children now believed in creationism that teachers should allow such views to be aired in the classroom. Read more
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Baroness Warnock: Dementia sufferers may have a 'duty to die'

The veteran Government adviser said pensioners in mental decline are "wasting people's lives" because of the care they require and should be allowed to opt for euthanasia even if they are not in pain.
She insisted there was "nothing wrong" with people being helped to die for the sake of their loved ones or society.
The 84-year-old added that she hoped people will soon be "licensed to put others down" if they are unable to look after themselves.
Her comments in a magazine interview have been condemned as "immoral" and "barbaric", but also sparked fears that they may find wider support because of her influence on ethical matters.
Lady Warnock, a former headmistress who went on to become Britain's leading moral philosopher, chaired a landmark Government committee in the 1980s that established the law on fertility treatment and embryo research.
A prominent supporter of euthanasia, she has previously suggested that pensioners who do not want to become a burden on their carers should be helped to die.
Last year the Mental Capacity Act came into effect that gives legal force to "living wills", so patients can appoint an "attorney" to tell doctors when their hospital food and water should be removed.
But in her latest interview, given to the Church of Scotland's magazine Life and Work, Lady Warnock goes further by claiming that dementia sufferers should consider ending their lives through euthanasia because of the strain they put on their families and public services.
Recent figures show there are 700,000 people with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's in Britain. By 2026 experts predict there will be one million dementia sufferers in the country, costing the NHS an estimated £35billion a year.
Lady Warnock said: "If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives – your family's lives – and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service.
"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.
"Actually I've just written an article called 'A Duty to Die?' for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself." Read more
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Bishop of Pittsburgh deposed by House of Bishops

(Ed: A typically thorough analysis from George Conger.)

The US House of Bishops has voted to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh for “abandoning the Communion” of the Episcopal Church.

At a special session of the House of Bishops called to discuss the Lambeth Conference, the bishops voted 87 to 35, with four abstentions to defrock the Rt Rev Robert W Duncan, removing him from the ordained ministry for propounding the view that a diocese may withdraw from the Episcopal Church.

It is unclear, however, whether the Sept 18 vote will affect Bishop Duncan’s ministry in Pittsburgh, as the Province of the Southern Cone has received him into its House of Bishops and is prepared to welcome the diocese also, should it vote on Oct 4 at its annual convention to quit the Episcopal Church.

The deposition vote has been denounced by conservatives as an “ecclesiastical lynching,” while leaders of the moderate wing of the church have endorsed the “courageous” stand of the those bishops who voted to acquit, putting the rule of law above party political considerations.

However, US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori stated the bishops had worked “carefully and prayerfully to consider the weighty matter of Bishop Duncan. The conversation was holy, acknowledging the pain of our deliberations as well as the gratitude many have felt over the years for their relationships with, and the ministry of, Robert Duncan.”

Yet, the bishops believed that “his actions over recent months and years constitute ‘abandonment of ‘the communion of this church” and that he should be deposed,” the Presiding Bishop said after the vote. Read more

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Conservatives disappointed after TEC ousts Pittsburgh bishop

Leaders of conservative Anglican group Anglican Mainstream have expressed their “great sadness” at the decision of The Episcopal Church in the US to depose the Bishop of Pittsburgh.

The TEC’s House of Bishops voted 88 – 35 in a closed meeting in Salt Lake City on Thursday to remove Bishop Robert Duncan from ordained ministry on the grounds of “abandonment of the communion of this church”. There were four abstentions.

Bishop Duncan’s deposition comes ahead of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh’s vote on October 4 on whether to secede from the TEC and align instead with the more conservative Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

In a joint statement, Dr Philip Giddings, Convenor of Anglican Mainstream, and Canon Dr Chris Sugden, the group’s Executive Secretary, said, “To take such action is hardly in the spirit of the reflections at this year’s Lambeth Conference or the Archbishop of Canterbury’s final presidential address.

“We see this vote as further evidence that The Episcopal Church in the USA in its formal decisions and structures ‘have denied orthodox faith’.”

Bishops at the Lambeth Conference held in Canterbury in July and early August agreed an immediate halt to homosexual consecrations, blessings for same-sex unions, and cross-border interventions. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, spoke in his final address, meanwhile, of the desire among bishops to remain in communion and continue working towards a unifying covenant. Read more
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Thursday, 18 September 2008

Sex pamphlet for 6-year-olds horrifies family lobby

The country’s biggest sexual health charity has published a sex education pamphlet for six-year-olds to encourage earlier discussion of the facts of life.

The 12-page comic-style booklet, which will be distributed to schools, asks children to identify the physical differences between boys and girls and name their body parts properly.

One puzzle asks children to draw a line from the words “vagina” and “testicles” to the correct areas of a picture of a naked girl and boy.

The pamphlet from the FPA — formerly the Family Planning Association — entitled Let’s Grow with Nisha and Joe, which will be shown to pupils by schools unless parents opt out, was immediately condemned by family campaigners as “a very worrying development”. They said that years of sex education had done nothing to tackle the teenage pregnancy rate, still the highest in Europe, and starting the education even earlier would make the problem worse.

The FPA countered that 6 was not too young to start conversations about sex. On the contrary it was a good chance to get the conversation going because children were not self-conscious or embarrassed about their bodies at that age.

“The booklet answers the questions that six-year-olds are already asking about themselves, their families and the world around them,” said Julie Bentley, chief executive of the FPA. Read more

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Anglican Communion Institute calls for Covenant to have 'teeth'

The Episcopal Church and the Proposed Anglican Covenant: A Case of Aggressive Disproportion

It is no secret that the bishops who assembled at Lambeth were asked to complete a survey soliciting their views on the proposed Anglican Covenant. It is now no secret, based upon public statements made by TEC Bishops, that, while most American bishops may favor some version of the first two sections of the proposed covenant, they oppose the third section and the appendix. Here are outlined the likely consequences should a Province exceed the limits of diversity generally accepted by the Communion as a whole. Opposition to the appendix indicates that the Episcopal Church (TEC) espouses a minimalist view of the requirements of communion—one that emphasizes relations of hospitality and mutual aid but down plays or utterly avoids issues of common belief and practice.

The future of Anglicanism as a communion of churches that holds in tension both Catholic and Protestant concerns will be determined by the sort of covenant that in the end will be ratified. Considerable pressure is being exerted on the Covenant Design Group (scheduled to meet at the end of this week) to produce a covenant proposal that says little or nothing about the consequences of going beyond the accepted views of the Communion about the limits of diversity. If the Covenant Design Group accedes to these pressures, it is our belief that Anglicanism will cease to exist as a credible form of Catholic Christianity and will become little more than a Federation of utterly independent churches. Read more
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Sunday, 14 September 2008

Legal doubt over Presiding Bishop’s move to depose Duncan

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori may face legal hurdles in her bid to depose Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan (pictured) this week, as her decision to change the agenda of the special session of the House of Bishops five days before its start appears to violate canon law.

On Sept 12, Bishop Schori distributed a memorandum to the American bishops announcing that on Sept 18 she would attempt to depose the conservative leader.

“I shall present to the House the matter of the certification to me by the Title IV Review Committee that Bishop Robert W Duncan has abandoned the Communion of this Church within the meaning of Canon IV.9,” she wrote.

However, the rules of the House of Bishops forbid modifying the agenda of a special session after the meeting has been announced, placing her plans in legal and canonical limbo. Whether the bishops will challenge her request is unclear, however, as her past legal missteps in the cases of Bishops John-David Schofield and Williams Cox provoked protests from bishops and dioceses distressed over what they perceived was her abuse of office, but no action followed. Read more
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Revealed: UK’s first official sharia courts

ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Previously, the rulings of sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced, and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

It has now emerged that sharia courts with these powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Two more courts are being planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh. Read more
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Charles Darwin to receive apology from the Church of England for rejecting evolution

The Church of England will concede in a statement that it was over-defensive and over-emotional in dismissing Darwin's ideas. It will call "anti-evolutionary fervour" an "indictment" on the Church".
The bold move is certain to dismay sections of the Church that believe in creationism and regard Darwin's views as directly opposed to traditional Christian teaching.
The apology, which has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church's director of mission and public affairs, says that Christians, in their response to Darwin's theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo's astronomy in the 17th century.
"The statement will read: Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practise the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends." Read more
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Diocese of Forth Worth endorses alignment with Southern Cone

The executive council of the Episcopal diocese of Fort Worth on Sept. 10 endorsed recommendations of Bishop Jack Iker and the standing committee to realign the diocese with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

With one dissenting vote, the Council passed a resolution, which came from Bishop Iker and the standing committee, calling for Fort Worth to become a “member diocese” of the Southern Cone “on a temporary, pastoral basis, until such time as an orthodox Province of the Anglican Communion can be established in North America."

The diocese of Fort Worth is expected to act upon the realignment proposal during its Nov.14 to 15 convention.

The Southern Cone has about 22,000 members and encompasses Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Its provincial synod, meeting in Valpariso, Chile, Nov. 5 to 7, agreed to welcome into the province “on an emergency and pastoral basis" Episcopal Church dioceses “taking appropriate action to separate from The Episcopal Church.” Read more
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TEC House of Bishops' Task Force on Property Disputes evidence to PB on Bishop of Pittsburgh


September 5, 2008

To: House of Bishops
From: Task Force on Property Disputes
Re: Evidence of Abandonment by Bishop Duncan

Enclosed please find a comprehensive memorandum from the House of Bishops Task Force on Property Disputes offering evidence conclusively establishing the abandonment of the communion of The Episcopal Church (TEC) by Bishop Robert Duncan as that action is defined in Canon IV.9. In his letter to the House of Bishops dated August 24, 2008, Bishop Duncan characterizes his actions as innocuous: “to speak and write in support of an action not yet taken, is not the same as taking the action."

Aside from the fact that an Episcopal Bishop advocating leaving TEC and taking property of TEC out of the Church is, in fact, an action constituting a renunciation of the Discipline of TEC, the truth is that Bishop Duncan has gone much, much further than simply advocating certain actions not yet taken. In truth, he is actively engaged in doing what he advocates, in that he has

- actively participated in drafting resolutions for that purpose,
- actively advocated amending diocesan canons for that purpose,
- actively sought reception for the Diocese from the Presiding Bishop of the
Southern Cone, and
- actively laid plans to continue to claim to the Bishop of The Episcopal
Diocese of Pittsburgh even after the Diocese of Pittsburgh has voted to
separate from TEC. The attached memorandum contains all those sworn

That the Convention of the Diocese of Pittsburgh has not yet voted to follow where Bishop Duncan has led the way is in no way relevant. We hope, even now, and despite Bishop Duncan’s leadership and predictions, that they will not renounce us.

Bishop Duncan, however, has already done so. Read more
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Presiding Bishop of TEC's memo on deposing Bishop of Pittsburgh

Ed: This bit reads to me like "We're going to have him, whatever it takes."

[...] Finally, the Chancellor has noted with respect to the requirement that the vote be taken at a meeting of the House that most meetings of the House are not attended by a majority of all the voting members of the House. Thus, in the last several Triennia, while a majority of all voting members of the House were present at the meetings held in conjunction with a meeting of the General Convention, such a majority was not present at most of the interim and special meetings.

And, at those interim and special meetings where a majority was present, the majority was only by a bare handful, so that under an opposing reading of the canon, a vote to consent to the deposition of a bishop would have had to have been virtually unanimous. My Chancellor advised me that the votes to consent to the depositions of Bishop Davies, the resigned Bishop of Fort Worth, in 1993, and Bishop Larrea, the Bishop of Ecuador Central, in 2004, were cast at interim meetings of the House at which no account was taken of the absent members and, indeed, less than a majority of all the voting members of the House appear to have been present.

In these circumstances, I concur with my Chancellor and the Parliamentarian that any ambiguity in the canon should be resolved in favor of making this important provision work effectively and that the discipline of the Church should not be stymied because a majority or nearly a majority of voting bishops are no longer in active episcopal positions in the Church and their attendance at meetings is hampered by age, health, economics, or interest in other legitimate pursuits.

That will be the ruling of the Chair, subject to appeal as discussed above.

I urge your prayerful reflection on these matters as you prepare for our meeting in Salt Lake City, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori Read more
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Pastoral letter from Bishop of Pittsburgh on his proposed 'deposition'

Beloved in the Lord,

In a letter to the House of Bishops yesterday, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made it clear that there will be a vote this coming Thursday on whether to depose me from the ministry of the Episcopal Church. The charge is abandonment of the Communion of the Church, a charge initiated by five priests and sixteen laypeople of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Much of the “evidence” in the case is put forward by the House of Bishops Property Task Force, drawn directly from the Calvary litigation. We have long suspected that a principal purpose in the Calvary litigation was to have me removed, by whatever means, before the realignment vote. Whatever the purported evidence, I continue to maintain that the House of Bishops “vote” will be a gross violation of the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church.

There are two things I would say, and one thing I would ask. Read more

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