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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Pope’s visit to US seen as snub to The Episcopal Church

May 3, 2008 by

From Global South Anglican IN A POINTED critique of the Episcopal Church, Pope Benedict XVI told participants at an ecumenical prayer service in New York that the decision of some ecclesial communities to place their perceived prophetic witness above all else, weakened the body of Christ. Speaking at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan on April 18 during his five-day tour of the US, Benedict did not single out the Episcopal Church by name, but in circumspect terms criticized its innovations of doctrine and discipline. Traditional church protocol was also upended as the Episcopal Church’s representative to the gathering, New York Bishop Mark Sisk, was presented last to the Pope from the group of over a dozen Orthodox and Protestant leaders. The papal snub of the Episcopal Church’s national leadership began at a White House reception hosted by President George W Bush. The Bishop of Dallas, the Rt Rev James Stanton —- a leader of the conservative wing of the Episcopal Church —- was invited to the reception. However, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was not. Bishop Schori, who was visiting Palm Beach and Miami during the Washington phase of the tour, declined to attend the April 18 ecumenical gathering in New York, citing a prior commitment to dedicate a diocesan building in Utah. In her stead, the Bishop of New York and her deputy for ecumenical relations, the Rt Rev C Christopher Epting, attended the New York event. Following the consecration of Gene Robinson, the gay bishop of New Hampshire, the future Pope startled the Anglican world by making a public intervention in the American church’s battle over homosexuality. The then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a letter of greeting to conservative Anglicans gathered in Dallas to protest against the Robinson consecration, writing to assure them of his “heartfelt prayers.” “The lives of these saints show us how in the Church of Christ there is a unity in truth and a communion of grace which transcend the borders of any nation. With this in mind, I pray in particular that God’s will may be done by all those who seek that unity in the truth, the gift of Christ himself,” he told the predominantly evangelical gathering. In his New York speech last week, Benedict lamented the decision of some Christian communities to depart from traditional teaching “at the time when the world is losing its bearings and needs a persuasive common witness to the saving power of the Gospel.” “Fundamental Christian beliefs and practices are sometimes changed within communities by so-called ‘prophetic actions’ that are based” on beliefs “not always consonant” with Scripture or Tradition. Some had abandoned “the attempt to act as a unified body, choosing instead to function according to the idea of ‘local options’,” he said noting that the “relativistic approach” to faith was leading to the fragmentation of the church and a diminution of its witness to the world....

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Archbishop Drexel Gomez's Retirement Address

May 2, 2008 by

From Global South Anglican IN HIS FINAL address before retirement to the House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church of the Province of the West Indies, Archbishop Drexel Gomez urged the Church to reawaken to the power of God’s love. The dry and distant Anglicanism of many parts of the West Indies, must make way for a “more caring and compassionate” church, he told the West Indian bishops and the congregation of St Mary’s Anglican Church in Bridgetown, Barbados on April 17. “We must face up to the challenge to see where we stand in love,” Archbishop Gomez said, and “must devise more strategies to assist members in their engagement with God and to foster a deeper commitment” that would transform the believer and society. The rampant individualism and selfishness of Western culture was the greatest single threat to the faith. Believers must surrender their lives to God and be faithful to him, rather than pursue their own moral, political or social agendas. The Church faces “the challenge of discernment and commitment” as it entered the 21st century, he said, urging the bishops to hold fast to the faith once delivered, and not succumb to the siren song of culture. The senior serving Primate of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Gomez was elected Bishop of Barbados in 1972 and was translated to the Diocese of Nassau and the Bahamas in 1995, and  elected Archbishop and Primate of the West Indies in 1999. He will retire at the end of this year. The Bishop of Barbados, the Rt Rev John Holder praised Archbishop Gomez for his constancy and faithfulness. He had been at the “heart of the fight” in the Anglican Communion’s battles over doctrine and discipline and had offered “outstanding leadership as the church wrestled and searched for a way forward.”Archbishop Gomez’s labours amidst a “difficult, contentious and painful” fight to hold the church together had ensured that future generations “could call themselves Anglicans.”  ...

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Dr Packer's Licensing Raises Stakes in Canada row

May 2, 2008 by

By Toby Cohen  CEN, 2nd May 2008 THE Rev Dr James Packer has been licenced to preach under the jurisdiction of the Primate of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev Greg Venables, to a standing ovation at a conference in Vancouver. Dr Packer, named by Time magazine as one of the 10 most influential theologians of the 20th century, left the Anglican Church of Canada after breaking with the Bishop of New Westminster, the Rt Rev Michael Ingham, following his blessing of same-sex unions. Dr Packer prayed that God would purge the old west of its “poisonous liberalism”. He said: “God’s way of purging is letting a thing grow to its full stature so that its real nature can be seen so that finally it is squeezed out. Dr Packer is part of the Anglican Network in Canada, which has attracted 15 churches so far. Two of their bishops were commission by Archbishop Venables despite protests by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Most Rev Fred Hiltz. He said: “Stop interfering in the life of this province,” to the undeterred Archbishop  Venables. Dr Packer was one of nine clergy to write to Bishop Ingham on April 21 in answer to his Notice of Presumption of Abandonment of Ministry. The priests said: “With deep reluctance and regret we have concluded that we cannot continue the Anglican ministry to which we were ordained under your jurisdiction. The Diocese, under your leadership, has departed from historic, orthodox Anglican teaching and...

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'Shocked and saddened' Bishop of Fort Worth: Letter to KJS

Apr 30, 2008 by

David Virtue   FT WORTH: Iker Blasts Schori over Venables Visitation April 30, 2008 The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori 815 Second Avenue New York, NY 10017 Dear Katharine, I am shocked and saddened by the rude letter you released yesterday to Archbishop Greg Venables, concerning his visit this weekend to the Diocese of Fort Worth. Far from being "an unwarranted interference," he is coming at my request as an honored visitor and guest speaker. 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. There are no efforts at reconciliation proceeding within this Province, which is one reason why faithful people continue to leave TEC in droves. Your attitude and actions simply reinforce alienation and bring further discord. Once again, you are the one meddling in the internal affairs of this diocese, and I ask you to stop your unwelcome intrusions. Faithfully in Christ, The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker Bishop of Fort Worth cc: The Archbishop of...

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Bishop Azad Marshall and NCCP condemn Danish cartoons and anti-Quran film

Apr 17, 2008 by

The publication of the anti-Islam caricatures and the making of anti-Quran film by a Dutch law maker, Geert Wilders, was condemned by the Advocacy and National Affairs Division of the NationalCouncil of Churches in Pakistan in a special meeting presided over by Rt Rev Azad Marshall, Bishop of Iran and the Gulf. The meeting noted with deep concern the mischievous acts maligning the Islamic faith, in the name of modernization, secularism and so-called freedom of expression. Freedom of expression does not provide open license to hurt the religious sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims world-wide. The 15-minute film released in March sets verses from the Quran against a background of violent images from the Islamic Holy Book has sparked protests in Pakistan and throughout the Muslim world. The Bishop called these acts misconceived, malicious and politically motivated.  These acts, especially in a society which propagates human rights, human dignity and tolerance, were against all decent norms of human behavior and demonstrated a lack of respect for the religious sentiments of others. On one hand the western countries seek to build bridges of understanding and goodwill amongst people of different faiths, to bring harmony and brotherhood; yet on the other hand are creating division among those different faiths by the publication of such blasphemous material. No religion, society or culture should allow such acts of blasphemy, which give rise to violence and undermine the global war on terror. Such acts serve no useful purpose and hinder the efforts of interfaith dialogue. Instead of bringing about understanding between people of different faiths in order to help them live together in peaceful co-existence, they create divisions and animosity. Bishop Marshall said that an internationally accepted code of ethics should evolve through the United Nations to ensure that all religions are treated with respect and dignity. He provided the assurance that the Christian world at large condemns such acts and would make every effort to discourage such acts. He called on Muslim countries to use diplomatic means to discourage future incidents of this nature. As an expression of solidarity with the Muslim world and especially with the people of Pakistan, Iran, Gulf and elsewhere, the Christians they condemned such acts and urge the Dutch government to take appropriate steps. The World Council of Churches of, which the National Council of Churches in Pakistan is a federating Unit, is one of the major international organizations representing more than 400 church bodies from over 120 countries and is an important member of the United Nations. One of the main purposes of the Council is to promote the spirit of Christ’s Love, compassion, understanding, tolerance and goodwill amongst people of different faiths for a better world....

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