267 bishops say they will attend Gafcon conference

May 8, 2008 by

By George Conger for CEN Organizers of the June Gafcon meeting in Jerusalem report that as of April 25, 267 bishops have registered for the June meeting in Jerusalem. Denounced as a rival gathering to the July Lambeth conference, a detailed agenda has yet to be released. Like Lambeth much of the conference will be devoted to worship and spiritual reflection. However, Gafcon will play host to bishops, clergy and lay leaders, and will also seek to formulate a common approach to the divisions of doctrine and discipline within the Anglican Communion. Approximately 150 bishops and conferees from Muslim majority countries unable to travel freely to Israel along with the Gafcon leadership team will meet at a resort on the Dead Sea in Jordan from June 18-22, while a further 600 are expected to join the self-styled “pilgrimage” in Jerusalem from June 22-29. Organizers note that many of the bishops attending Gafcon will also be among the 625 bishops attending the Lambeth Conference. While the Archbishops of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda and their bishops have said that as it is currently organized, they will not attend Lambeth, the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone Gregory Venables announced last week that he will go to Lambeth. Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh announced on May 6 that he would attend Lambeth and Gafcon, joining Fort Worth Bishop Jack Iker and the other conservative American bishops in attending both meetings.   Read the whole story...

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Bishop David Anderson on getting our AC statistics right

May 7, 2008 by

This is from a recent weekly letter written by David Anderson of the American Anglican Council.  He presents the ‘other side of the news’ and does so well.  Details to subscribe below.  ‘Under the Schori public mantra, we are about at the end of the churches leaving – most of those so disposed to leave have done so. In fact, she is terribly out of touch with the real world; churches are leaving on a weekly basis. Now it is true that as long as one or two people don’t leave with the rest of the parish, and the bishop can hold onto the name and the building (four walls and a janitor) then TEC will claim that they haven’t lost the congregation. The truth is that a viable church has been lost to the diocese, and down the street in a school cafeteria or gymnasium a new orthodox Anglican Church has been formed with most of the former Episcopalians, now under the care of an overseas Anglican province … We have read that the membership in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, using their highly successful 1+1+3 program, has increased in the last three years from 18 million 25 million. This growth has enabled the Province to tell the respective dioceses to stop sending assessments, as they are no longer needed, and to spend their resources on evangelism locally. The churches are encouraged to have fundraising projects, for which the members donate time, to assist in achieving financial independence. Additionally, the Province of Nigeria has been able to raise enough money internally to provide the means for the Nigerian bishops attend the GAFCON Jerusalem Pilgrimage. If the Anglican Communion is supposed to have 77 million members, but of England’s 25 million only 1.6 million can be found, and of TEC’s 2.4 million only 1.6 can be found, then just between those two provinces 24.2 million needs to be subtracted from the 77 million. That leaves a number 52.8 as a more realistic number. If you add back in the new Nigerian increase of 7 million new members, that bumps the total up to 59.8 million. Of that number Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya total 40-45 million or between 66.9% and 75.2% of the Anglican Communion. Dr. Williams, are you listening?’ http://www.americananglican.org/site/c.ikLUK3MJIpG/b.694127/k.97F5/Email_Sign_up/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp?c=ikLUK3MJIpG&b=694127&en=nrLNKSOAIaKGIRPELkJLJXMNIiJJITPCKdIQLbMQKvE...

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Interview with J I Packer

May 7, 2008 by

From Faith Today J.I. Packer has been described as one of the most important evangelical theologians of the late 20th century. In 2005 Time magazine dubbed him the “doctrinal Solomon” of Christian thinkers and named him one of the 25 most influential Evangelicals in North America. Dr. Packer is the Board of Governors Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, a school he has served for 28 years. Considered a Christian classic, Packer’s Knowing God (one of his more than 40 books), was released in 1973 and has sold over a million copies. Today, J.I. Packer, 81, is embroiled in the same-sex blessing controversy rocking The Anglican Church of Canada (ACC). Packer is honorary assistant in the largest congregation in the ACC, a church that voted to leave the ACC and realign with a more orthodox branch of the Anglican Communion based in South America. In response, New Westminster Bishop Michael Ingham sent Packer and other clergy a “notice of presumption of abandonment of the exercise of ministry.” Packer (JP) talked to Faith Today’s Karen Stiller (KS) a little about his life so far and what is to come. KS: Was your original decision to leave England and move to Regent College, Vancouver, a tough one? JP: Not really. I weighed the pros and cons and took advice. The reason it wasn’t hard was that, having visited Vancouver, my wife and I liked it very much. Second, knowing the story of Regent from the beginning helped. James Houston and I have been friends since 1945. I knew I was on the same wavelength as Regent. Thirdly, the job I was being asked to do was comparable to identical with what I was doing already, teaching Christian theology. And I knew that at Regent I should not have to do administration as a regular stated responsibility. Though I can handle it, I had a load of it that was heavier than I wished it were. Then, finally, I had become a sort of speckled bird in the English evangelical scene. The prospect of leaving intrachurch squabbles behind me was a very alluring prospect. This is, of course, ironical as I am now deeper in that kind of mud than I ever have been before. KS: I was going to ask you about that after we had warmed up a bit, but let’s jump right in. JP: I’ve been sent a copy of Canon 19, stating the process that is followed for people who have abandoned The Anglican Church of Canada. That means they have either stopped ministering or they have moved out of Anglicanism to another denomination. Neither of those categories fits me. KS: You’re not really thought of as a rabble-rouser. Is this a sad time for you? JP: I feel it’s simply grotesque because Canon 19 doesn’t apply to my situation and for the bishop to act as if it did … I said grotesque. I think I’ll say it again. I could have said ridiculous. I...

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Pope Welcomes Archbishop Williams

May 7, 2008 by

From The Living Church Discussions of America, ecumenism and theology animated the May 5 meeting of Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury. It was a “friendly and informal meeting in which we discussed a number of ecumenical issues; some of the Pope’s impressions of his American visit; and common issues in Christian-Muslim dialogue,” Archbishop Rowan Williams told The Living Church, as reported by his press secretary Marie Papworth. Speaking to Vatican Radio before his meeting with the Pope, Archbishop Williams said he hoped to inform the pope about the latest plans for the Lambeth Conference and touch base with him about churches in China, among other concerns. Archbishop Williams acknowledged the Anglican Communion was passing through an “unprecedentedly difficult time, no two ways about that.” He said, though, that relations with the Roman Catholic Church remained strong, partly through the work of the Anglican Centre, whose directors had laid “deep foundations” of “personal trust and confidence and in terms of ease of access and honesty of discussion, I think we’re in a very good phase.” On May 7, Archbishop Williams will install the new director of the Anglican Centre in Rome at an ecumenical service at the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica. The Very Rev. David Richardson, the former dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia, will also serve as Archbishop Williams’ representative to the Vatican in Rome. (The Rev.) George Conger...

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Pittsburgh Bishops to attend Lambeth Conference

May 7, 2008 by

From  Pittsburgh Diocese Document Actions Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven confirmed today that they will be attending both the Global Anglican Future Conference in June and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops this July and August.    Bishops Robert Duncan and Henry Scriven confirmed today that they will be attending both the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jordan and Jerusalem in June and the Lambeth Conference of Bishops in Kent, England, this July and August. "After consulting with the people of Pittsburgh and our friends around the globe, we have come to the conclusion that it is necessary for us to be present at both gatherings," said Bishop Robert Duncan. The Global Anglican Future Conference is focused on moving forward with the work and witness of the church even as the crisis in the Anglican Communion over discipline and biblical authority continues. It brings together hundreds of bishops who have, as a matter of conscience, decided not to attend the Lambeth Conference, as well as other bishops who believe that global partnerships and the current conflicts necessitate their presence at both meetings. Among those going to Jerusalem and Jordan are many of the strongest supporters of orthodox Anglicans in North America. "We will be among friends, focused squarely on the Gospel, and dealing openly with how we build the missionary relationships, covenantal boundaries and responsible structures for the future of Anglicanism," said Bishop Duncan. Bishops Duncan and Scriven will then join some six-hundred bishops and archbishops (about two-thirds of all Anglican bishops) who will be attending the Anglican Communion’s once-a-decade Lambeth Conference of Bishops. "Given the expense and the stated-intent of the Archbishop of Canterbury that Lambeth can no longer be considered a decision making council of the church, choosing to be present was not easy," said Bishop Duncan. In an effort to limit costs connected to the meeting, an estimated $12,000 per attending bishop and spouse for the entire two-and-a-half week Lambeth Conference, Bishop Duncan will attend July 16-25 and Bishop Scriven will attend July 26 – August 3. Both bishops believe it is important that the diocese be represented throughout the Lambeth Conference, if for no other reason than to provide an alternative perspective on the situation in The Episcopal Church. "Those who accuse us of abandoning the Anglican Communion will certainly be present and vocal. It is important for us to be able to respond directly to their claims about the situation in The Episcopal Church and our place in the Communion," added Bishop Duncan. As with the Global Anglican Future Conference, both Pittsburgh bishops will also work to strengthen missionary partnerships with bishops from every corner of the world. Bishop Scriven asked that Pittsburgh Episcopalians pray for both meetings. "We hope that many join us in praying for God’s clear presence and guidance in the Holy Land and Canterbury. With God, all things are possible," he said....

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Bishop Venables: Communion “Breaking Up Because Nobody is Leading”

May 7, 2008 by

From The Living Church Foundation The work of amending the Constitution and Canons of the Southern Cone in order to regularize the admission of parishes and dioceses beyond South America is about to begin, according to Presiding Bishop Gregory Venables. The Primate of the Southern Cone made a visit to the Diocese of Fort Worth for a series of meetings with clergy and lay leaders May 2-4. “The Anglican Communion in the United States has been hijacked,” Bishop Venables said, by an Episcopal Church leadership that doesn’t “mind what happens as long as they control it. “I am astounded that in America, the land of the free, so many people have been robbed of their freedom,” he said. Bishop Venables’ visit began with a private meeting of diocesan clergy at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Fort Worth on May 2. The following day, Bishop Venables met with a convocation of elected clergy and lay delegates to the diocesan convention. The convocation also included about 130 visitors who were granted seat, but not voice. There was no voting. On Sunday morning, Bishop Venables preached at St. Vincent’s Cathedral, Bedford, and again later during Evensong at St. Andrew’s, Fort Worth. At each stop on Sunday he answered questions from those present. Bishop Venables visited the Diocese of Fort Worth at the invitation of its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Jack Iker. In late April, Bishop Venables also visited with Anglicans who have left the Anglican Church of Canada and with the Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin in California. Prior to his arrival in Fort Worth, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wrote a public letter to Bishop Venables. She asked him to cancel his visit in part because it was “an unprecedented and unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this province,” and because it would prevent “needed reconciliation from proceeding” within The Episcopal Church. “This is not about schism,” Bishop Venables said. “Schism is separation on secondary issues. This is [a question of] essentials. “You [in the Diocese of Fort Worth] must decide whether or not you can stand with a group of people who have denied that Jesus is the Son of God and that the Bible is the Word of God.” Should clergy and lay delegates to the annual convention in Fort Worth next November vote a second time to amend the diocesan articles of incorporation and leave The Episcopal Church, the Province of the Southern Cone has invited the diocese to affiliate on an “emergency and pastoral basis” despite the fact that the Southern Cone’s constitution currently limits member dioceses to those geographically located in the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Last December, the Province of the Southern Cone welcomed the Diocese of San Joaquin after its convention voted a second time to amend its bylaws and disaffiliate from The Episcopal Church. Despite articles of incorporation which seem to prohibit welcoming overseas dioceses and licensing deposed clergy and bishops for...

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