Archbishop John Chew urges Anglicans to unite against “alternative values”

Nov 30, 2009 by

From The Temasek Review Singapore’s head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop John Chew has implored his followers to unite against “alternative values” such as homosexuality, rampant materialism and religious extremism which are fast eroding “mainstream values”, especially in the west. He noted in a sermon to about 10,000 people during the Church’s centenary service at Suntec City that the lack of consensus on mainstream values had resulted in the spread of ‘alternative’, ‘fringe’ and ‘fundamentalistic’ values. Echoing the government’s call for Singaporeans to have more children, the Archbishop also spoke on the importance of procreation within the family “If Singaporeans do not produce enough babies, the danger is that the mainstream population, its socio-cultural norms and ethos, will dwindle and diminish down the generations…..The breaking down of families, and the changing of classical family norms, makes all this more aggravated,” he said. In March this year, a group of Christian women steeplejacked and took control of feminist NGO AWARE ostensibly on the grounds that it was promoting “alternative” lifestyles like homosexuality. Their plan backfired and they were subsequently voted out of office in an EGM called by the AWARE old guards. The AWARE saga prompted Prime Minister Lee to urge Singaporeans to be tolerant towards those with different values and beliefs during his National Day Rally. Under Section 377A of Singapore penal code, sexual intercourse between males is a crime punishable by a jail term though nobody were ever prosecuted under the law. The move to decriminalize homosexuality has met with stiff opposition from conservative Christians in recent years such as former NMP Professor Thio-Li Ann and her mother Thio Su Mein, the self-proclaimed “feminist mentor” who is the mastermind behind the AWARE takeover. During a recent “new media breakfast” at Kim Yan Church, Prof Thio urged Christians to speak up and contribute actively to secular society. It was also revealed that an internet news portal, Singanews will be set up and run by a few trained journalists to provide Singaporeans with an “alternative” viewpoint. The site is owned by Singa Communications which is helmed by ex-ST journalist Matthew Yap. The company was incorporated in July this year, but so far nothing has been heard about Singnews which has yet to be...

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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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Pastoral Letter: The Rt Revd David Anderson

May 3, 2008 by

Beloved in Christ In North America, there is a continuing battle between the revisionist Primates and Bishops and those who are orthodox Christian Anglicans. We note with approval the visit of the Presiding Bishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, to both Canada and the United States. In Fort Worth, ++Gregory met with clergy from that diocese and apparently discussed options available in view of the accelerating conflict with the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori. A Chinese military strategist from the 6th Century B.C., Sun Tzu, wrote that the most expensive information that you can acquire is outdated information. It is always prudent, when faced with a conflict, to have current and correct information about options. Jesus himself counseled his followers to be meek as doves, but wise as serpents. Obtaining accurate, current information is the wise course. TEC Primate Schori was, of course, not pleased with Venables’ visit, and complained vigorously to the Southern Cone Primate in a letter. She urged him "not to bring further discord into the Episcopal Church." She did not, however, explain how she herself is working to diminish the discord, since she is one of the primary causes of it, with her DSH approach (Dewey, Suem & Howe). Bishop Iker of Forth Worth responded to her open letter with some great Texas straight talk: "You should know that under the canons this does not require either your approval or your support. You have no say in this matter. A diocesan bishop is free to invite other bishops to visit and speak in his diocese…. Once again, you are the one meddling in the internal affairs of this diocese, and I ask you to stop your unwelcome intrusions." Schori may have gotten away with telling Bishop Lee of Virginia that there is a new sheriff in town, but clearly in Fort Worth, Jack Iker is still in charge. An imagined conclusion to the exchange: "Dear Katharine, here’s your pointy hat, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out." Journalist George Conger reports that there is a legal memorandum circulating in the American House of Bishops which concludes that sufficient legal grounds exist for presenting Schori for ecclesiastical trial on 11 counts of violating the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church. Could anything come of this? I don’t think so. Remember the Bishop Walter Righter trial? Accused of knowingly ordaining a practicing homosexual, he went before a panel of judges (some of whom had already themselves done exactly the same thing – for example, Bishop Fred Borsch of Los Angeles), and as a panel of peers who shared his viewpoints, the judges decided that neither the doctrine nor the discipline of the Episcopal Church at that time prohibited the ordination of a non-celibate homosexual person living in a committed relationship. Trial over, Righter acquitted. There is no justice when the judges are as guilty as the defendant. This brings us to the advisability of pushing for...

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New Anglican Entity Inaugurated in Canada: Archbishop Venables commissions two Bishops and thirty two clergy....

May 1, 2008 by

Before 1000 people, Presiding Bishop Greg Venables commissioned two Bishops, and one of them, Bishop Donald Harvey, then licenced 32 priests and deacons  for the Anglican Network in Canada on Saturday April 27. The Network comprises 15 churches, whose average Sunday attendance is larger than 12 of the 31 dioceses in the Anglican Church of Canada (according to the 2001 published statistics, but recent numbers are presumed to be much lower).    The Network was first offered as an ecclesial alternative in Burlington Ontario in November 2007.  Since then these 15 churches have all held votes in which their congregations voted overwhelmingly to join the Network or left their buildings and planted new churches.    The Presiding Bishop commissioned Don Harvey and Malcolm Harding as Bishops with the words " I offer you pastoral oversight and fellowship. I commission you to preach the gospel and love the people."   Bishop Albert Vun from the Diocese of Sabah, representing Archbishop John Chew,  retired Archbishop Yong Ping Chung ( a former chair of the Anglican Consultative Council) and 15 other Bishops from Anglican Jurisdictions in  Kenya, Uganda and in the United States attended.    The service was the climax to a weekend of gathering  350+ orthodox Anglicans from across Canada.  Church gatherings outside the life of people’s own parishes is a rare occurrence for the Canadian churches.  On Sunday evening the first ordination service for the Anglican Network in Canada was conducted by Bishop Don Harvey at St John’s Shaughnessy.      The inclusion and interaction with Chinese culture in the attendance at the service ( 30%) and the platform of the conference was particularly expressed in the presence and contribution of Archbishop Ping Chung and Bishop Vun.  The driving force behind the vision for the Vancouver conference was [del]Rev Stephen Leung, the pastor of Good Shepherd in Vancouver, which was the largest Chinese Anglican Church in the Anglican Church of Canada.   The crossing of boundaries is neither opportunism nor a lifeboat, but an expression of the gospel that brings people together across cultures.  What else could bring North American Christians to be canonically subject to leaders from Africa and South America?  There is the divide. One part of the communion proclaims the superiority and inevitability of the victory of current western secular culture and anathematises African leadership particularly from Nigeria. While in God’s economy, the hegemony of western culture over the church in the west is responded to by God requiring those who are orthodox in North America to be organically part of global Anglican leadership in Southern Cone, Uganda and Kenya.    The most moving part of the service was when Archbishop Venables handed a licence to Rev Dr J I Packer, aged 82, named by Time magazine as one of the ten most influential theologians of the 20th century who had been threatened with deprivation of orders he had held since 1952 by Bishop Michael Ingham of New Westminster.  The moment was greeted with a standing ovation...

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Anglican covenant conference draws international group, elicits varied viewpoints

Apr 17, 2008 by

From Episcopal News Service Participants at the recent "An Anglican Covenant: Divisive or Reconciling?" conference, held at the Desmond Tutu Center in New York City, gathered to discuss whether or not the Anglican Communion should adopt an official covenant. Sponsored by the General Theological Seminary (GTS) and the seminaries of the Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada, the April 10-12 conference welcomed more than 100 participants and provided them an opportunity to ponder questions such as: Would an Anglican covenant clarify Anglican identity and strengthen mutual interdependence? Would it be a tool of exclusion and dominance? Is a covenant a biblical way forward, or would it impose a uniformity that is foreign to Anglicanism? Would a covenant assist or impede reconciliation among Anglicans? The Rev. Dr. Titus L. Presler, professor of mission and world Christianity and sub-dean at GTS, said the gathering’s purpose was not to advocate for a particular stance toward a covenant, but to encourage an open and informed discussion in which all views are welcome. "We encourage all present to feel free to ask the questions and express the views to which they are moved," Presler said. "We also encourage respectful listening and caring responses." The conference opened with the Most Rev. Drexel W. Gomez, Archbishop of the West Indies and Bishop of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. In delivering the first of three keynote addresses Gomez, chairman of the Covenant Design Group, presented a decidedly, pro-Anglican covenant message, saying that this is a "time of great tension" within the Anglican Communion and that "the ‘bonds of affection’ which once held our fellowship together are strained; indeed some would say broken." The idea for an Anglican covenant came from the Windsor Report (paragraphs 113-120), which was published in October 2004 after a year’s deliberations by the Lambeth Commission on Communion, a group appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to explore ways the Communion could maintain unity amid differing viewpoints. The Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and of the Anglican Consultative Council commissioned a study paper on the idea of a covenant in March 2005, Towards an Anglican Covenant. At its meeting in May 2006, the Joint Standing Committee asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to establish a Covenant Design Group to further the project. This group gave a preliminary report to the Primates Meeting at Dar es Salaam in February 2007. The report included the Nassau Draft — a draft for the covenant on which initial consultation was taken in the course of 2007. That draft is accompanied by a number of supporting documents, including the introduction, a commentary and a draft appendix. The Covenant Design Group met again at the end of January 2008, and produced a second report and draft — the St. Andrew’s Draft — taking into account many of the submissions to the group. This draft is being offered for further reflection, especially at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. Referencing Anglican polity and the Windsor Report,...

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