Posted by webmaster on June 21, 2014
San Francisco politicians got more than they bargained for when they tried to demonize pro-marriage supporters and pressure Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone to bow out of today’s March for Marriage in Washington, DC.
Instead of cowering in fear, Cordileone – who rallied voters to pass 2008 California’s marriage amendment – explained what marriage is, corrected their false accusations and held them up to their own standard: “Before you judge us, get to know us.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi led the lobbying to pressure San Francisco’s top Catholic leader. The small group of local politicians and homosexual advocates sent a letter to Cordileone attempting to smear marriage supporters – a tactic outlined in the homosexual strategy book “After the Ball.”
Cordileone heads the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ work to defend marriage – and the accusers gave him a prime opportunity to model how to defend marriage from the vicious methods of pro-homosexual activists.
C-FAM is proud to stand with Archbishop Cordileone – and sent a contingent of youth to listen and learn from his courageous speech at today’s March for Marriage and carry the message to the next generation.
Here is his letter:
June 16, 2014
Dear Fellow Citizens,
Your letter sharing with me your thoughts on the upcoming “March for Marriage” in Washington, D.C., was forwarded to me while I was attending meetings out of town, and I have reflected on what you have to say. I appreciate your affirmation of my Church’s teaching—not unique to our religion, but a truth accessible to anyone of good will—on the intrinsic human dignity of all people, irrespective of their stage and condition in life. That principle requires us to respect and protect each and every member of the human family, from the precious child in the womb to the frail elderly person nearing death. It also requires me, as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing. I must do that in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty
to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. That is what I will be doing on June 19th.
With regard to your request that I not attend the March, and the reasons you give for this request, allow me to explain the following points.
1. The March for Marriage is not “anti-LGBT” (as some have described it); it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything. Rather, it is a pro-marriage March. The latter does not imply the former. Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union. This is
precisely the vision promoted by Pope Francis, who recently said, “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and mother.” Rest assured that if the point of this event were to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, I most certainly would not be there.
2. While I cannot go into all of the details here of your allegations against the sponsors of this event and scheduled speakers, I do know that at least some of what you say is based on misinterpretation or is simply factually incorrect. For example, it is not true that the National Organization for Marriage connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest. What is true is that three years ago a conference was sponsored in Baltimore by the group B4U-ACT for the purpose of finding ways to encourage tolerance for pedophilia. A statement on NOM’s blogpost objecting to this conference affirmed that this is something that would outrage people in the gay community as well. Unfortunately, many conclusions are being drawn about those involved in the March for Marriage based on false impressions.
3. It gives me assurance that we share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric. It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric. Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence. It is true that historically in our society violence has been perpetrated against persons who experience attraction to members of the same sex, and this is to be deplored and eradicated. Sadly, though, we are now beginning to see examples, although thankfully not widespread, of even physical violence against those who hold to the conjugal view of marriage (such as, most notably, the attempted gunning down of those who work in the offices of the Family Research Council). While it is true that free speech can be used to offend others, it is not so much people exercising their right to free speech that drives us further apart than people punished precisely for doing so that does.
4. Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings. I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other. It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart. In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep disagreements. That may sound fanciful and far-fetched, but it is true, it is possible. I know it is possible, I know this from personal experience. When we come together seeking to understand the other with good will, miracles can happen.
When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us.
Most Reverend Salvatore Cordileone Archbishop of San Francisco
Posted by webmaster on June 20, 2014
By Jeffrey Walton
The Anglican Church in North America gathers for its 2012 Provincial Assembly in Ridgecrest, NC. The denomination has reported significant growth since it’s 2009 launch (photo: ACNA)
Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) have encouraging news as they convene this evening to begin the process of selecting a new leader: a growing flock. The fledgling denomination, launched in 2009, has seen membership grow by 13 percent to 112,504 members and attendance by 16 percent to 80,471 attendees.
The numbers contrast with the U.S.-based Episcopal Church that many ACNA members departed from, which has declined in its domestic dioceses from 2,006,343 members in 2009 to 1,894,181 members in 2012, the most recent reporting year. Episcopal Church domestic attendance declined from 682,963 in 2009 to 640,142 in 2012. The Episcopal Church Center usually releases updated statistics for the previous reporting year in the autumn.
In releasing statistics, the ACNA officials note that 74 percent of congregations completed reports. In an attempt to provide a complete picture, the denomination provides two statistical totals: “reported” figures and “projected” figures that substitute median averages for congregations that did not report. In the Episcopal Church, officials roll over previously reported statistics for non-reporting parishes until new ones are received. In the case of both the “reported” and “projected” figures, ACNA posts growth, which is strongest with the “reported” figures.
Archbishop Robert Duncan is concluding a five-year term as the denomination’s top official and will step down next week at the Anglican Provincial Assembly held June 25-28 at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. The province, which aspires to be a part of — but is not formally recognized by – the worldwide Anglican Communion, unmistakably bears the fingerprints of Duncan, a longtime leader in what has been referred to as the “Anglican Realignment.”
The outgoing leader has steered the Anglican Church towards aggressively planting new congregations, especially in urban centers and college towns. Since 2009, the church has seen a growth of 40 percent in net congregations, from about 700 to 983 in 2013. In contrast, church planting efforts in the Episcopal Church have nearly ground to a halt, with overall parishes dropping from 6,895 in 2009 to 6,667 in 2012.
In addition to an emphasis on reaching un-churched people, Duncan traveled extensively during his term in order to build closer relationships with overseas Anglicans. The denomination now asserts that provinces representing the majority of the roughly 80 million Anglicans in the world now recognize ACNA, substantially broadening the group from the initial nine overseas provinces that recognized it in 2009. The church has also promoted and grown the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, an agency that completed development projects worth in excess of $5.6 million over the last seven years. The group has also channeled over $1 million to meet urgent relief needs.
ACNA took part in ecumenical dialogues with the Orthodox Church in America, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Messianic Jewish groups and the Polish National Catholic Church. The denomination helped launch the Common Ground Christian Network, an ecumenical partnership of evangelical denominations and organizations (including IRD).
Duncan served as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh from 1996 until he was deposed as a bishop in the Episcopal Church in 2008. Named a bishop of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone (Spanish-speaking South America) after his removal, Duncan was again elected Pittsburgh bishop after the diocese voted to depart the Episcopal Church weeks later.
In 2009, Pittsburgh joined with three other former Episcopal Church dioceses and several convocations of churches sponsored by the Anglican provinces of Rwanda, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and the Southern Cone to launch ANCA. After voting to launch the new Anglican “province in formation,” Duncan was installed as its first archbishop by Benjamin Nzimbi, archbishop of Kenya.
The denomination’s path has not been without conflict: in 2010, the Anglican Mission in America (AMIA), a founding organization of ACNA and part of the Anglican Church of Rwanda, announced it was transitioning to “missionary partner” – a lower level of affiliation with ACNA. Eighteen months later, the AMIA experienced a crisis when its officials unilaterally severed their connection with the Rwandan church, forfeiting ACNA missionary partner status. The dispute was partly resolved when two-thirds of AMIA congregations opted to affiliate with ACNA by directly joining its dioceses or through a new Rwandan-sponsored missionary jurisdiction. The remaining third of AMIA congregations recast themselves as a mission society with connections to the Anglican Church of Congo.
Many ACNA congregations that departed the Episcopal Church have also endured litigation over disputed church properties with their former denomination. while Duncan has acknowledged the pain of the past split for many congregations and the difficulty of contentious litigation, he has encouraged congregations to prioritize evangelism and not to dwell on past disputes.
ACNA is not the only church to emerge from denominational strife over scriptural authority and human sexuality. Following a 2009 vote by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to liberalize teachings on marriage and sexuality, hundreds of congregations departed to found the Lutheran Church in North America (NALC) or join the already-existing Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC). Following a 2010 vote to remove a requirement that Presbyterian clergy remain chaste in singleness or practice fidelity in married life, scores of congregations have departed the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to join the new Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO) or the already-existing Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). Both the ELCA and PCUSA have witnessed similar numeric declines to the Episcopal Church, with traditionalist groups in the PCUSA expecting further departures if the denomination changes teaching on marriage at the governing General Assembly gathered this week in Detroit.
Posted by webmaster on June 20, 2014
I’ve noticed over many years in the classroom that when students enter the physics or chemistry lab, they expect to be taught facts, and the teachers duly oblige by providing copious evidence from textbooks. But when those same students come to me to consider matters of theology, politics and philosophy, they generally take the view that they can choose what they like best, because just about everything that Hilton goes on about is mere opinion or speculation, if not total fabrication. If it feels good and brings serenity, it must be good and serene. Whatever they choose to believe is true, and truth is consecrated in the mind, just above freedom.
And so Plato’s ‘Form of the Good’ is meaningless, for goodness is “defined by the individual for the fulfilment of self” (according to Psychology Today). Conservatives have no values but those which “promote dog-eat-dog individualism, ruthless competition and the supremacy of private profit” (according to Owen Jones). And the belief that God raised Jesus from the dead is “delusional” (according to Richard Dawkins). You only have to hear Dawkins gasp with incredulity that anyone could be so dim-witted to believe such tosh to appreciate how difficult it is to incorporate the myths of faith into our increasingly secular plausibility structure. It is the eccentric and esoteric belief of a cultic community that prefers to sing with the musical spheres rather than thrash out simultaneous equations.
It seems that I’m concerned with evangelical fairy tales. God is profane, if not toxic, and his kingdom is purely religious, supernatural, spiritual and subjective. The gospel is divorced from reason: it is about human feelings and private experience. It can have no political significance or serve any earthly purpose. What, after all, is the meaning of sin in a society where morality is relative? Where there is no sin, there is no need for salvation. And where there is no need for salvation, there is no need of a saviour. Nietzsche is proven right: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”
Education has become obsessed with technological advance, material possession, scientific consumerism and economic purpose. Instead of inculcating virtues and moral values, we teach our children that they have the right to pursue happiness and live as they please. All problems are solvable, and those which remain are simply waiting upon humanity’s future mastery of the relevant facts. Man has the power to remake the world in his own image and according to his own design, and so all supernatural agencies are summarily dispensed with.
Students are subjected daily to an almost continuous bombardment of ideas, images, slogans and stories which presuppose a plausibility structure radically different from the Christian understanding of human nature and destiny. But we ignore these at our peril. It is not for nothing the daily school assembly (or “collective worship”) is supposed to be “broadly Christian”. It may have been originally conceived and set out by RA Butler in 1944, but the requirement was reiterated in the Education Reform Act 1988, the Education Act 1996 and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 – under both Conservative and Labour governments. The intention was and is to inculcate values and a moral worldview because a task of government is to propagate national identity and sustain culture by reinforcing character and a communal disposition.
The law is otiose, of course: it is largely ignored by many headteachers and governing bodies, and Ofsted don’t bother inspecting it any more. But the school assembly ought to remain “broadly Christian” not because we are concerned with inducing belief in God or enforcing the worship of Jesus, but because our Judæo-Christian heritage is the basis of understanding every aspect of our culture and national history. It is woven into our notions of justice, our economic values, our understanding of liberty, the purpose of law and the pretext for war. Through the prism of modernity, it even informs our understanding of secularity, humanism and atheism.
To treat others as we wish to be treated and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves are “broadly Christian” teachings, and our Christianised grasp of Hellenised ethics is intrinsic to that breadth. The “broadly Christian” school assembly is sacred in a secular kind of way, not least because it probes our understanding of purpose, morality, and virtues such as resilience, honour and loyalty. It gives space for abstract cosmological reflection beyond what we see, hear and touch. It may not define life or explain suffering, but it opens up the possibility of eternal significance.
But communication of the meaning of “broadly Christian’” has to be in the language of the receptor: it has to be such that it accepts, at least provisionally, the way of understanding things that is embodied in God-less language. There is no place for unthinking dogmatism: the only way that “broadly Christian” numinosity may be apprehended is if children can stumble upon its light in genuine contextualisation. Only then can their hearts and minds be opened to an understanding of the sacred and the virtues of self-regulation and delayed gratification. And only then will they come to know the paternity of their culture, and the meaning of their artistic, philosophical and social selves in collaborative judgment and wholesome cooperation.
Posted by webmaster on June 19, 2014
By Carey Lodge, Christian Today:
US church leader and theologian John Piper has addressed a controversial topic in the latest ‘Ask Pastor John‘ segment on his blog – would he marry a couple who have chosen to live together before they wed?
Those who do not support pre-marital unions suggest that by agreeing to marry a co-habiting couple, a pastor endorses sin. Some even suggest that it is no different to marrying a gay or lesbian couple, which remains a hotly-debated topic within the Church.
Piper – a staunch opponent of homosexual marriage - however, differentiates the two. “I would marry them in certain circumstances,” he reveals of co-habiting heterosexual couples.
The pastor notes his conviction that “sexual relations outside marriage is sin”, but that “it is not unforgiveable”. Piper shares that he would suggest that such a couple “repent and bear the fruit…And that fruit would be move out and stop living together until you are married. Now, if they refuse I tell them: ‘No, I won’t do the wedding’.
“But here is the other situation. If they see the wrong of what they are doing and repent and bear the fruit of purity and public display of the lordship of Jesus in their lives, then I would move forward with their wedding plan, all other things being in proper order,” he says.
“They are really serious about repenting of their sin. They are sorry for what they have done. They are turning to God for forgiveness through Jesus. And that bears a beautiful testimony of the grace of God in their lives. In that case, yeah, I will follow through with the wedding.”
Piper adds that the “failure to offer pure and virgin bodies to each other at the altar of marriage” brings him “a great sadness”, but that “purity on the other side of sin is possible through the justifying and sanctifying work of Christ”.
“That is what I want these couples who have sinned to embrace,” he says.
“The fact that they in their past have the sin of fornication…doesn’t diminish the possibility of purity and holiness in the present and in the future.”
Piper then goes on to distinguish between this and the marriage of same-sex couples, noting that true repentance results in transformation and change.
Posted by webmaster on June 19, 2014
Episcopal bishop signs letter denouncing the Archbishop’s planned participation in March for Marriage
By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
San Francisco’s Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (IX San Francisco) is taking it on the chin for his strong stance on Christian marriage, defined as a lifetime union between one man and one woman.
He is scheduled to be a main speaker — one of four — at Thursday’s (June 19) March for Marriage and traditional marriage rally in Washington, DC. He is to be joined on the National Organization for Marriage platform by former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas), former US Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), and New York State Senator Rubén Díaz (D-The Bronx). Both Gov. Huckabee and Sen. Díaz are ordained clergymen. The Governor is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and Sen. Díaz was ordained by the Church of God-Cleveland, TN.
However, it is only Archbishop Cordileone who is receiving pressure from all sides to back down as he is being painted as “anti-gay,” a “hate monger” and “bigoted,” and labeling the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which champions the traditional understanding of holy wedlock, as an ” anti-gay hate group.”
Last week, a letter urging the San Francisco archbishop not to participate in the pro-marriage rally was openly signed by 80 politicians, community representatives, faith leaders, and LGBT advocates including: California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom; San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; the Very Rev. Brian Baker, Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento; Episcopal Bishop Wendell Gibbs (X Michigan); and Vivian Taylor, Executive Director, Episcopal Integrity-USA.
As a Roman Catholic herself, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-California) weighed in on the growing controversy. The House Minority Leader, representing San Francisco in California’s 12th Congressional District, characterized the March for Marriage as “venom masquerading as virtue” and charged that her own archbishop was participating in an event that showed “disdain and hate towards LGBT persons.”
At the time that the letters were being delivered to Archbishop Cordileone’s San Francisco chancery, he was in New Orleans participating in the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) General Assembly, the Catholic version of the Episcopal House of Bishops. So the controversy churning around his participation in this week’s March for Marriage was in full swing when he returned to the Golden Gate City.
Other news agencies also report that the Episcopal bishops of California and Wisconsin signed a petition requesting that the San Francisco archbishop stay home. They have not signed the aforementioned letter, but there is another Internet petition circulating entitled “Don’t Speak at Hateful Anti-gay Rally” by Faithful America which has garnered almost 30,500 signatures. However, those names are not being published.
“Why is one of the nation’s most prominent Catholic archbishops scheduled to speak at a virulently anti-gay rally?” the online petition asks.
Posted on Faithful America’s “About Us” page is a picture in which Episcopal Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson (IX New Hampshire) clearly stands out in his purple shirt.
He is standing next to a woman who is shouting in a blow horn at a rally. However, it is curious to note that Bishop Robinson, who is a champion par excellence of the gay rights agenda and marriage equality, seems to remain silent as the controversy swirls around Archbishop Cordileone. The NOM Marriage March is taking place in Washington, DC, his new backyard. He settled in the nation’s capital following his retirement from his episcopal duties in New Hampshire and the collapse of his own gay marriage.
Faithful America seems to be a militant pro-gay online social justice website. It takes a hardline against conservative Christians. Recent petitions include: Christians Don’t Want a Right-wing Judge who Misuses Faith (20,368 signatures); Sarah Palin Doesn’t Speak for Christians (66,872 signatures); Anti-gay Hate is Unchristian — Quit World Vision (17,730 signatures); Anti-gay Hate Isn’t Religious Freedom (23,004 signatures); Don’t Use the Bible to Bash Gay Athletes (25,645 signatures); Bigotry Isn’t Christian and Doesn’t Belong on Duck Dynasty (26,181 signatures).
Monday (June 16) Michigan Bishop Gibbs, a signatory of the political letter, joined the other three Michigan Episcopal bishops in signing an amici curiae supporting marriage equality. The other Michigan bishops include: Todd Ousley (II Eastern Michigan); Rayford Ray (XI Northern Michigan); and Whayne Hougland (IX Western Michigan).
In February 2013, all the Episcopal bishops in California, lead by the Episcopal bishop in San Francisco Bishop Marc Andrus (XIII California), signed two amici curiae briefs — one to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the other to undo California’s Proposition 8 recognizing lawful marriage between a man and a woman.
In addition to Bishop Andrus, the Episcopal ordinaries of California are: Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves (III El Camino Real); Bishop James Mathes (IX San Diego); Bishop Jon Bruno (VI Los Angeles); Bishop Berry Beisner (VII Northern California) and Bishop David Rice (III Provisional TEC San Joaquin). Los Angeles also has two bishops suffragan — Bishop Diane Bruce and Bishop Mary Glasspool, a lesbian. At the time of the signing of the twin amici curiae briefs, Bishop ChesterTalton (II Provisional TEC San Joaquin) had not yet retired. Wisconsin bishops include: Steven Miller (XI Milwaukee); Matthew Gunter, (VIII Fond du Lac); and William Lambert, Eau Claire). All Episcopal dioceses in California accept same-sex blessings while the practice hasn’t fully spread to Wisconsin. The Dairy State is still struggling with the concept of gay marriage where it is just getting a rocky foothold.
Archbishop Cordileone, on the other hand, was a strong proponent of DOMA and Proposition 8. As the chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Defense and Promotion of Marriage, he is in direct theological opposition to his Episcopal counterpart in San Francisco, Bishop Andrus.
The Catholic archbishop and the Episcopal bishop have crossed swords before. When Archbishop Cordileone was reassigned to San Francisco from Oakland in October 2012, he was “welcomed” to the neighborhood by Bishop Andrus who touted the wonders of the Millennium Development Goals, which are more geared to social justice than the Gospel message.
Bishop Andrus also showed up late for Archbishop Cordileone’s enthronement, missing the entrance procession at the Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption. Although he was an invited guest — one of 2000 — he was asked to wait until all had processed in the cathedral where upon he would be seated. The Episcopal bishop left in a snit and turned to the blogosphere to decry the Archdiocese’s unwillingness to immediately seat him without mentioning his own tardiness. The Archdiocese concluded that San Francisco’s Episcopal bishop was spoiling for a fight.
The Episcopal bishop feels that the Catholic view of marriage is oppressive and that the Archbishop’s affirmation of Catholic teaching on holy wedlock and his support of Proposition 8 is “suppressing the rights of others who, too, have been created in God’s image.” So the Episcopal bishop invited any disenchanted Catholics to cross over the divide and become Episcopalians. He would welcome them with open arms and enter into solidarity with them. The Episcopal Diocese of California is inclusive and fully embraces all.
Archbishop Cordileone is holding his ground. Monday (June 16) he released a letter to some of the signatories of the original letter to him, including Dean Baker at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, addressing them as “Dear Fellow Citizens”, in which he made several specific points. The Archbishop’s personal reply apparently was not sent to Michigan’s Episcopal Bishop Wendell Gibbs nor Vivian Taylor from Episcopal Integrity-USA. as they were not mentioned in the list of recipient addresses.
The San Francisco archbishop thanked the letter writers for their thoughts about his upcoming participation in the March for Marriage. He reiterated that as a bishop, he had to “proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing … in season and out of season, even when truths that it is my duty to uphold and teach are unpopular, including especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”
He poignantly pointed out that the March for Marriage was not an ‘anti-gay” event but rather a “pro-marriage” happening.
“…it is not anti-anyone or anti-anything,” he explained. “Rather, it is a pro-marriage March. The latter does not imply the former. Rather, it affirms the great good of bringing the two halves of humanity together so that a man and a woman may bond with each other and with any children who come from their union.”
Much of the media coverage surrounding Archbishop Cordileone’s participation in the March for Marriage paint the event as “anti-gay” rather than “pro-marriage,” giving the headlines a built-in negative slant and the story a biased spin.
“Lawmakers ask S.F. archbishop not to attend anti-gay marriage rally” (LA Times); “San Francisco Archbishop Urged to Miss Anti-Gay March for Marriage” (LA Frontiers); “San Francisco Archbishop Outrages Community With Plans To Join Anti-Gay Rally” (Huffington Post) “San Francisco archbishop defends decision to join D.C. rally against gay marriage” (National Catholic Reporter); “SF Archbishop Makes No Apologies For Attending Anti-Gay Rally, Yet Asks For Open-Mindedness” (San Francisco Chronicle); and “San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone Spurns Appeals to Skip Anti-Gay Rally” (Associated Press)
“Unfortunately, many conclusions are being drawn about those involved in the March for Marriage based on false impressions,” Archbishop Cordileone wrote, noting that if the point of the March for Marriage were to single out a group of individuals and target them for hatred, he would not go.
He also uncategorically stated that he and his distractors “share a common disdain for harsh and hateful rhetoric.”
“It must be pointed out, though, that there is plenty of offensive rhetoric which flows in the opposite direction. In fact, for those who support the conjugal understanding of marriage, the attacks have not stopped at rhetoric,” the San Francisco archbishop reasoned. “Simply for taking a stand for marriage as it has been understood in every human society for millennia, people have lost their jobs, lost their livelihoods, and have suffered other types of retribution, including physical violence.”
Finally he pleaded, “Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings. I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other. When all is said and done, then, there is only one thing that I would ask of you more than anything else: before you judge us, get to know us.”
Last year, the San Francisco archbishop travelled to Washington, DC, to lead the 2013 March for Marriage participants in prayer. This year he encouraged his brother bishops to support the March for Marriage in an April letter he penned jointly with Bishop Richard Malone (XIV Buffalo).
“The March for Marriage will be an important means to promote and defend marriage for the good of our culture,” the bishops wrote. “… to pray for our federal and state governments and to stand in solidarity with people of goodwill.”
Posted by webmaster on June 19, 2014
rain0975 / Flickr
When Dads Don’t Stay
Confronting the reality of fatherlessness in America.
The first clear memory I have of my father exemplifies every moment after. The lake lapped softly against the posts of weathered, bone-dry dock upon which I stood. I curled my toes into the splintery wood, blinked back the intense, hot Texas sun and leapt blind, for the first time, into waters well over my head. I didn’t have to see my father to know he’d be there, in the water, to catch me. All my life, my father’s presence has been certain as the sun; I’ve never wondered if he’d be there for me when I needed him.
But one out of three children in the United States—more than 15 million—live without the certainty of their father’s presence. Among industrialized countries, the United States is a world leader of fatherless homes, surpassed only by Belgium, Estonia, and the United Kingdom, with single mothers heading up a quarter of all U.S. households. Since the 1960s, the number of single-parent homes have more than tripled, and the bulk of those households (76%) are fatherless homes. Tragically, this number doesn’t include circumstances in which the father technically lives with the family, but is emotionally or physically absent.
Whether through abandonment, incarceration, death, or workaholism, fatherlessness is a root of many of our contemporary social ills. According to a widely cited report from the U.S. Department of Justice, children from fatherless home are 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 32 times more likely to run away, 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison than children from homes with a mother and father present.
Since fathers (though not mothers) have a mediating effect on impulse control and risk-taking behaviors of adolescent girls, fatherless females are 53 percent more likely to marry as teenagers, 711 percent more likely to have children as teenagers, 164 percent more likely to have a pre-marital birth, and 92 percent more likely to get divorced themselves.
How did we go, in a short span of 50 years, from “father knows best” to “who knows where father is”?
In a culture such as ours, in which moral virtue is sacrificed at the altar of self-indulgence, there is certainly something to be said about a pervasive lack of moral fiber. Many men lack the character to commit, to follow through self-sacrificially, because they’ve never been told it’s important or it’s never been modeled to them. Fatherlessness is a component of the alarming breakdown of the family; roughly 40-50 percent of marriages end in divorce, and most divorced fathers (83%) only receive limited visitation of 5.5 days a month.
Posted by webmaster on June 15, 2014
“The overarching vision for our network is simply for the church to be the church,” say Bishop Bryan, “faithful in the ministry of Word and Sacrament, passionate in presenting Christ to our communities through creative means of evangelism, and extending compassion to the needs around us.” Learn more in this special interview now online!
The Rt. Rev. David Bryan is the bishop of PEARUSA’s Southeast Network and rector of Christ Church, Murrells Inlet, SC. He was consecrated bishop by Archbishop Onesphore Rwaje and Archbishop Robert Duncan on September 18, 2013. Among those attending his consecration included bishops and clergy from PEARUSA and the Anglican Church of North America, as well as Bishop Mark Lawrence of the Diocese of South Carolina.
Bishop Bryan is a graduate of the University of Florida (BSBA ‘79). He received his M. Div. from Trinity School for Ministry in 1983 and continues his work on his Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity. He has been in ordained ministry for 28 years, serving five churches in Florida and South Carolina.
He and his wife, Nancy, have three grown children and live in Murrells Inlet, SC.
How did you become a Christian believer?
I grew up in a Christian family that was very involved in the life of the church and thankfully I was given opportunity (which doesn’t always happen) as a teenager to respond in faith to a clear presentation of the gospel where I was captivated by the love of God for me in the gift of his Son upon the cross.
My growth as a disciple in those early years was difficult, but took a decided turn for the better in my college years when I encountered the life and power of the Holy Spirit in a new and deeper way.
What brought you to the “Canterbury Trail” – the Anglican Church?
My family’s church was the Episcopal Church, so I didn’t have far to travel.
How do you envision your role as a bishop in the Anglican Church?
It is my hope, as bishop, to encourage and equip the clergy and congregations in becoming effective and fruitful in mission and ministry in their given contexts through the use of appropriate tools for assessment and coaching/mentoring for each of these congregations.
Church planting, as well as leading existing congregations, can be a very lonely and isolating endeavor. Our pastors need a pastor/bishop who will listen, encourage and guide them in helpful ways. My commitment is to make regular visitations and to be accessible to these clergy, taking advantage of technology to maintain regular contact with clergy as well as lay leaders as needed.
I also hope to promote a healthy sense of unity within our network as well as with our sister churches in the ACNA dioceses in our geographical footprint. This means that we need to be highly collaborative and commit to communicate clearly with one another. It also means that we need to be faithful in showing up and participating corporate gatherings that promote unity and foster mission (Network retreats, assemblies, Provincial gatherings, etc.), as well a local, smaller cluster gatherings of our clergy and churches.
How many churches are currently in your network?
We have 18 churches spread throughout the Southeast United States.
What are the priorities in your diocese/network?
The overarching vision for our network is simply for the church to be the church, faithful in the ministry of Word and Sacrament, passionate in presenting Christ to our communities through creative means of evangelism, and extending compassion to the needs around us. All of this can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of God who has purchased our salvation through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
We also have an opportunity to raise up and develop next generation leaders in our Network, particularly through our congregations’ relationships with seminaries (e.g. Beeson Divinity in Birmingham, AL; Columbia International University in Columbia, SC; Reformed Theological Seminary and Gordon Conwell in Charlotte, NC). We have existing internship programs and new opportunities to shape young leaders for mission and ministry, which are a high priority.
How do you envision church planting in PEARUSA’s Southeast Network?
Our churches are relatively new churches and missions who each have a vision for multiplication and partnership in additional churches plants. Our clergy are highly missional in perspective and our Network Leadership is committed to collaborate with them for the sake of the spread the Gospel and the establishment of new Anglican communities of faith.
We have structured our finances in such a way that a large percentage of our income goes directly into church planting within our region under the leadership of our congregations and Network Council.
What excites you most about your ministry?
As the rector of a local congregation, Christ Church in Murrells Inlet, SC, I love leading a parish, preaching the Word and living life with fellow believers. We describe our purpose as “Connecting people to Jesus Christ, to one another and to God’s work in the world.” That mission never grows old!
As a new bishop, I am excited to encourage clergy and congregations in the pursuit of their God given mission – each unique to their own context, but all centered on the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How do you balance your family life with your calling as a bishop?
You probably need to ask my wife that question! Fortunately, our three children are grown and Nancy is fully engaged in my ministry as a bishop, so it seems to play out (at least so far) in a fairly balanced way.
What is the name of a book you are reading right now? What do you like about it?
The Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler. It is a straightforward and thoughtful explanation of the Good News that is ours in Christ.
What do you see as a major challenge facing Christians today? How do you see Anglican Christians making a difference in that challenge?
We live in generation where the Church (in the West particularly) has suffered greatly precisely because of the lack of defense of the orthodox Christian faith by the leadership of the Church.
The Anglican way calls us to “guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church.” This requires a careful and intention stewardship of the “faith once delivered” found in the teachings of Holy Scripture and represented in the foundational Creeds of the Church. It is important for our bishops, presbyters and lay leaders to operate collegially and deliberately in refuting erroneous teachings as necessary in our particular cultural context. This requires a robust theological engagement and a commitment to the one holy catholic and apostolic faith as we have received them in Anglicanism.
It is also necessary that biblical preaching and teaching undergird the life of our congregations. Ongoing nurture in the Word of God through both private and corporate disciplines of study and worship creates a path toward life transforming discipleship as well as a proactive safeguard against heretical teachings and practices.
Along with the clear articulation and modeling (orthopraxy) of true and godly doctrine comes the necessary discipline within the life of the church. We have witnessed in the mainline churches of the last 40 years a failure to discipline new and errant theological innovations in doctrine – only to be followed by the ultimate embrace of those doctrines in subsequent years.
The Church must be willing and committed to “speak the truth in love” and exercise godly governance through its leadership, maintaining our fidelity to the teachings of Holy Scripture and the Church throughout the ages.
What has being a father taught you?
I have a deep gratitude for the different way God has created each of our three children. For all they have in common, each of our children possess unique gifts and temperaments. At the end of the day, as a father, I simply love them for who they are and encourage them to continue to grow in the Lord as they have entered into adulthood.
Being a father has given me a limited glimpse of our heavenly Father’s deep love for us as His children. What matters most is that we live in relationship to Him. A lot of the stuff that the world says is important in life dims in comparison to this!
How may we pray for you?
As a newly consecrated bishop, I would appreciate your prayers for a good beginning of my episcopacy. Particularly that I would be effective in encouraging our clergy and churches in their mission and that I would experience God’s grace in maintaining proper balance in local ministry, ministry in the network and a vital spiritual life with the Lord.
Posted by webmaster on June 15, 2014
The seed for Immanuel Anglican in Chicago, IL, was planted many years ago. For decades, people in the Wheaton area had been meeting God in the Anglican tradition and experiencing a deep hunger for God through the liturgy and sacrament.
Churches like Resurrection Anglican, ministries like William Beasley’s Greenhouse and teaching from professors like Robert Weber, had been shaping lives for years through the Gospel as told through the lens of Anglicanism. One of these shaped lives was that of Aaron Damioni.
Aaron was mentored while in the Chicago area by then Rector, now Bishop, Stewart Ruch. In 2006 Stewart challenged Aaron to a process of discernment for ministry and church planting, but Aaron felt as though the time was not right. Schooling opportunities led him to Washington, DC where he connected with Dan Claire and the Renew DC movement. It was there that Aaron began to sense God’s call to planting in an urban setting take root in his soul. Aaron was ordained and began serving with Renew DC.
In 2012 Aaron and Stewart reconnected at a PEAR-USA gathering in Raleigh where they went for a run together as they used to do in Chicago. Stewart renewed his invitation from 6 years prior: Church of the Resurrection had 5 people ready and eager to begin a church in Chicago, but they needed a leader. After several long years of God’s cultivation, the time was right for Damiani to step into the work.
On Palm Sunday of 2012, Aaron and Laura traveled to Chicago to begin making relationships and to pray. It was through this time of praying and dreaming, that the group came away with a collective sense that it was at last time to plant in Chicago. With the support of Resurrection Church in Wheaton, RenewDC, and the Chicago Partnership for Church Planting, Immanuel Anglican had a strong foundation from which to begin.
Aaron and Laura moved into an apartment in Chicago September of 2012. Soon after, Aaron spent four weeks in NYC to receive training through Tim Keller’s Redeemer City to City. In January of 2013, Aaron began to build a launch team and a group of 70 people gathered to hear the vision of the church plant. Twice a month, the launch team met, from February to September, and Immanuel Church officially launched in October, 2013.
God is doing amazing things in their midst. Aaron recalls how in the summer of 2013, the plant was growing and had maxed out the space they were using: There were no prospective places in their area to move into. Though they felt confident in their call to Uptown, had no options on the horizon and were discouraged about the future. They committed to 40 days of fasting and prayer, feeling called to embrace dependency on Christ. As they fasted, they asked God to move in their weakness. During this time, there was a devastating shooting a block and a half from their meeting space.
The event, although terrifying, served to strengthened the community. Immanuel held services in the area of the shooting and another in the community most affected by it, and it was while there that they encountered a building that would profoundly suit their needs. An auditorium in a nearby high school, the space would allow the Eucharist table to be in the center—a fitting image for the posture into which the church felt their journey had guided them. A central, well-known institution, meeting at the high school would allow them to stay in the Uptown area and be accessible to a wider group of people in the city.
The vision of Immanuel is to seek God and put him on display through worship, mission, and discipleship. A regional church, the long-term goal is to plant additional churches in surrounding neighborhoods that are focused on the identity of each area. In faith, Immanuel is sowing and tending in Chicago, anticipating that God will continue to bring forth fruit as he has throughout the miraculous story of this church plant.
Posted by webmaster on June 15, 2014
By Julian Mann:
With the innovation of women’s ordination becoming ever more entrenched in the Church of England and the Sirens of political correctness poised to whoop in triumph once the women bishops’ measure succeeds at July’s General Synod, it could be costly for licensed clergy of the traditional integrity to describe a woman’s vocation to Christ’s ministry of Word and Sacrament as ‘supposed’.
Under Common Tenure, orthodox clergy are under a much higher expectation to be clubbable with fellow deanery clergy across the churchpersonships and to be perceived as a ‘good colleague’. Clergy who are wanting to put God’s revealed truth above collegial relations and indeed above their ‘careers’ could find themselves getting into trouble with diocesan senior staff.
Pressure, subtle or otherwise, could be exerted at mandatory ministerial reviews: “Your tenure is coming up for renewal next year…I’ve had a complaint from the Revd Doris about you calling her vocation ‘supposed’.”
Very disturbing in the new climate is the fact that bowing before the altar of women’s ordination is increasingly becoming a sine qua non or, in the dreadful trendy phrase of some clerical apparatchiks, a ‘deal breaker’ for appointments. On the ground, conservative evangelical men are being turned down by parishes because a woman in the congregation has a supposed vocation and the parish representatives are frightened of his conviction that God does not act contrary to his Word written and therefore is not calling women into presbyteral ministry.
Posted by webmaster on June 15, 2014