Blogroll Category: Christian Resources

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Irish statement on the reopening of churches

Anglican Ink - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 01:36

A statement from the Most Revd John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, on the day that churches on the island of Ireland are permitted to reopen for public worship, 29th June 2020, The Feast of St Peter, Apostle and Martyr:

Jesus said to them, ‘And who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God’ … and I tell you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.’ Matthew 16

‘It could hardly be more fitting that it is St Peter’s Day on which we symbolically receive the keys of our churches to enter them again, over the days and weeks to come, as the people of God; to worship his holy Name and to gather together as the household of faith. For this we give thanks to God.

‘During the months of lockdown, some of you will have had hellish experiences as you have suffered the death of someone very close to you, or have endured the desolating tedium and stress of isolation. For these very reasons, you may welcome the freedom to worship but be worried or apprehensive about returning. When you are ready, the churches will be ready to welcome you also.

‘The head of the Church, Jesus Christ, has been true to his promises, and we must be true to him.

‘And being true to him means always thinking of others as we join together in corporate worship and in everyday life. To have made the necessary preparations to make church safe and to keep it safe. To take the necessary precautions as we begin to mix again in society, in shops, in restaurants and other public spaces. That is the impulse of the law of love and solidarity which is our vocation. We are responsible for each other.

‘Each of us will begin to emerge from lockdown changed in some ways. It is much too soon to say where that will leave us and lead us as a church. But whatever our experiences have been, I hope we can turn our faces in confidence and thankfulness towards God and then turn to face our parishes, our communities and our world in the unshaken promises of the Gospel against which nothing can prevail, and perhaps at sometime today join as parishes, as families or as individuals, in these well-known and memorable words:

‘Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we thine unworthy servants do give thee most humble and hearty thanks for all thy goodness and lovingkindness to us, and to all men. We bless thee for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of this life: but above all, for thine inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we show forth thy praise, not only with our lips but in our lives; by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.’

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Province of Alexandria becomes the 41st province of the Anglican Communion

Anglican Ink - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 01:33

The Episcopal/Anglican Province of Alexandria has today become the 41st province of the Anglican Communion. It was previously known as the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, within the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.

Its first Primate is Archbishop Mouneer Anis, who will continue in this role and his existing role as the Bishop of Egypt until his retirement next year. He remarked: “We are aware that many brothers and sisters, who served before us, have sown many seeds and now we are harvesting. May the Lord keep us faithful to Him and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The Province of Alexandria will have four dioceses (Egypt, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Gambella) and will cover 10 countries – Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia; Morocco is included within the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe due to its proximity to Gibraltar.

The post Province of Alexandria becomes the 41st province of the Anglican Communion appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

GAFCON chairman’s June 2020 letter

Anglican Ink - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 01:02
Beloved in Christ Jesus: Greetings in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Our world continues to be rocked by crises. Hard on the heels of the Covid -19 pandemic, which continues to cause massive disruption to social and economic life, the appalling death of George Floyd has sent shock waves around the world. Despite the disorder it has triggered, his murder has rightly led to deep heart searching and a new awareness amongst Christians of the evil of racism in denying a person’s fundamental identity as made in the image of God.

I have recently addressed this with the our ACNA Provincial Council,  and I urge the whole Gafcon movement to take this to heart, especially the call to reach out with the love and mercy of Jesus Christ to minorities in your community, whatever that means in your situation.  

These sudden crises can be disorientating. Many voices clamor for our attention and we can be overwhelmed by the immediacy of the need, so it is even more necessary for us to be paying attention above all to our calling and the words of Jesus himself.
                                                                                                                                                                                        
One of the most well-known of Jesus’ parables of the kingdom of God is that of the mustard seed, which appears in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In Luke’s gospel, (Luke 13:18,19) it comes in the context of opposition from the religious authorities, just after Jesus has freed a woman from a debilitating disability on the Sabbath.  Here, Jesus’ emphasis is not on the smallness of the mustard seed, but the size to which it grows, such that the birds nest among its branches. Despite the crises, catastrophes and turmoil of this age, within both churches and nations, God’s kingdom is growing and growing. It grows supernaturally by the power of the Spirit and will assuredly be fulfilled when Jesus returns. This should be a great encouragement to us. 

Earlier this month, I chaired a meeting of the Gafcon Primates Council. Although we could not meet face to face, there was a remarkable joy in our time together and a strong sense that God is building his kingdom as our Churches seek to proclaim Christ faithfully to the nations. We were especially encouraged by the continued growth of Gafcon’s global networks, as well as the Gafcon Branches that act as a Confessing Anglican presence in the provinces not represented by the Primates Council. We also recognised the need for gathering and equipping faithful leaders so we are planning to hold the deferred Kigali Conference for bishops and their wives in the summer of 2021.

As I write, we are just a few days from Gafcon Sunday, 28th June. It is our hope that the Gafcon family around the world will respond in God-honoring prayer and great generosity.  Please join me in celebrating before the Lord all that He has accomplished through Gafcon, and petition Him to do more to honor His Name. Let us pray, as Jesus taught us, that the kingdom will indeed come on earth as it is in heaven! The special video produced for Gafcon Sunday gives us a wonderful sense of what a global church seeking the kingdom looks like. If you have not yet seen it please do! It can be downloaded here.

Your brother in seeking first the kingdom of God, 

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach 
Chairman, Gafcon Primates Council

The post GAFCON chairman’s June 2020 letter appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

ACNA Council Votes to Accept Membership in the Global South Fellowship

Anglican Ink - Sat, 27/06/2020 - 02:08

June 24, 2020

The Provincial Council of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) voted on its second day to accept full membership in the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches and to embrace a life of full communion as envisioned in the Cairo Covenant. The resolution, presented by Archbishop Bob Duncan and Bishop Bill Atwood, summarized the declarations of the Seventh Conference of Global South Anglicans, which met in Cairo, Egypt, on October 11, 2019. It also outlined the four objectives of the newly proposed covenantal structure: to guard the faith once delivered to the saints; to be effective in fulfilling God’s mission to the world; to strengthen the Global South’s identity, governance, relational life, and discipleship; and to work for the well-being of the global Anglican Communion.  Archbishop Duncan was honored to present this historical resolution on the anniversary of his consecration as the first archbishop of the ACNA. He commented: “As this Covenant becomes the basis of the accountability for orthodoxy, partnership, and mission in the Provinces of the Global South, it will be the most significant development in the history and ecclesiology of Anglicanism since the emergence of the Lambeth Conference in 1867.”  The ACNA has been a partner member of the Global South since 2015, and the fundamental declarations, mission objectives, relational commitments, and inter-provincial structures of the Global South are completely consistent with the provisions of the ACNA’s Constitution and Canons, Fundamental Declarations, and the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration. The ACNA continues to be committed to mutual accountability and biblical mission among Anglican provinces as remedies for both the ecclesial deficit and the gospel deficit plaguing the global Anglican Communion. All GAFCON provinces have been members of the Global South, and Bishop Bill Atwood stressed during the council meeting that GAFCON’s influence is not diminished by this covenant but rather strengthened and complemented by it. GAFCON’s primary focus remains the address of  the gospel deficit by proclaiming the Good News of Jesus faithfully to the nations, while the Global South’s focus remains addressing the ecclesial deficit by creating enhanced ecclesial responsibility and accountability.  

Archbishop Duncan was the Deputy Chair of the global study group which produced the original text of the Cairo Covenant.  The study group was chaired by Bishop Rennis Ponniah of Singapore.  The Rev. Canon Phil Ashey of the American Anglican Council provided the scholarly work on Anglican conciliarism and significantly contributed to the group’s work and final outcome. The resolution was recommended unanimously by the College of Bishops and approved overwhelmingly by the ACNA Provincial Council.  

The original posting, along with additional resources on the Cairo Covenant, can be found here: https://americananglican.org/news/acna-provincial-council-council-votes-to-accept-terms-of-the-cairo-covenant/

The post ACNA Council Votes to Accept Membership in the Global South Fellowship appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Anglican Decline, Pandemic and Pandemonium in “Challenging Times”

Anglican Ink - Sat, 27/06/2020 - 01:39

Anglicans have had a rough year, according to Archbishop Foley Beach in in a somber but hopeful address before the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) Provincial Council, meeting June 23-24 in an online web conference.

Beach cited tired clergy facing “decision fatigue” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, violence and racial injustice, and the departure of two dioceses last year leading to the denomination’s first significant drop in numbers.

There was also positive news: favorable decisions were handed down for the Dioceses of Fort Worth and South Carolina in long-running legal conflicts with the Episcopal Church from which they had disaffiliated.

“God has been using our churches in big ways not only with online ministries, but caring for the needy and those in hard times,” Beach noted.

“A Sin Problem”

Much of Beach’s address focused upon racial strife.

“The past few months have not only been pandemic, but pandemonium,” the Anglican archbishop summarized, referencing “evil displayed by fellow image bearers and some police officers in recent weeks.”

Beach referenced hearing louder “cries of grief in our own neighborhoods” and peaceful protests “hijacked by chaos and violence” destroying property, injuring both bystanders and more than 800 police officers.

Bishop John Guernsey, Dean of Provincial Affairs, has been tasked by the College of Bishops to put together a Working Group on Race, Racism, and Racial Reconciliation “to help us talk as Biblical Christians in the midst of a polarized culture.”

“We have failed to fully and thoroughly and deeply address the problem of sin in our hearts, homes, churches, and nations,” Beach diagnosed. Racism, “in its root, it is a sin problem. We need God to rend our hearts as a Church.”

The Archbishop said the Church must acknowledge “systemic sins” but also distance from “those movements that are promoting anarchy, destruction of the family, and the dismantling of our government.”

“It will not be through political parties, rallies, slogans or marches that our attitudes and practices are changed, that the souls of our nations are converted,” Beach stated.

The “revival that comes from repentance” starts “in your own relationship with God,” and then in “building a relationship with someone different than you are,” he said

Anglican Decline?

The ACNA saw decline across three objective measures in 2019: membership, attendance, and number of churches. Most of the decline, which staff said “should not necessarily raise alarm,” is attributed to the withdrawal of two dioceses in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America: West and Trinity.

Three CANA dioceses operated within both ACNA and the Church of Nigeria. In 2019, an agreement prompted these dioceses to continue with a single province. CANA East continued as part of ACNA and changed its name to Diocese of the Living Word. CANA West and Trinity (largely composed of expatriate Nigerians) opted to continue as part of the Church of Nigeria. The dioceses remain relationally connected to ACNA through the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) but their bishops are no longer seated in the ACNA College of Bishops and their clergy are no longer canonically resident in ACNA.

Archbishop Beach did not sugarcoat the loss to the Council: “We felt the sting of division. We have watched some broken relationships go unhealed.”

The number of ACNA congregations decreased by a net of 94, from 1,066 to 972. Membership decreased from 133,279 in 2018 to 127,624 in 2019, attendance declined from 87,319 to 84,310.

Adjusting for the two CANA departures, the Province, while still declining in number of congregations (-20), grew slightly in membership (+202) and attendance (+559).

The reported numbers represent the first significant decline in the denomination, which emphasized church plants and adding first-time Anglicans, since it was formed in 2009.

Dioceses reporting significant attendance gains in 2019 included Churches for the Sake of Others (+419), South Carolina (+670), Rocky Mountains (+591) and the Anglican Network in Canada (+319). Declines were reported in the Dioceses of Christ Our Hope (-384), Quincy (-245), Western Gulf Coast (-246), and Fort Worth (-267). A complete chart can be viewed below. (Note that some declines and gains may be partly attributed to transfer of congregations between dioceses.)

ACNA Statistics

Provincial Council includes an elected four-person delegation from each ACNA diocese: bishop, clergy, and two lay delegates. It convenes annually and oversees governance between gatherings of Provincial Assembly, a larger body with representation based on diocesan size.

The Council elected to the denomination’s Executive Committee Albert Thompson of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic and Deborah Tepley of the Anglican Diocese of Christ Our Hope in the lay order and Herb Bailey from the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Chris Culpepper of the Diocese of Fort Worth in the clergy order. They will serve three-year terms.

Watch Archbishop Beach’s address to Provincial Council, delivered via a Zoom web conference, below:

The post Anglican Decline, Pandemic and Pandemonium in “Challenging Times” appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Petition to the Archbishop of Jerusalem from Hong Kong Anglicans

Anglican Ink - Fri, 26/06/2020 - 20:20

主旨A Letter to the Archbishop of Jerusalem Requesting to Revoke Peter Koon’s Honorary Canon

A Letter to the Archbishop of Jerusalem Requesting to Revoke Peter Koon’s Honorary Canon

Dear The Most Revd Suheil Salman Dawani, the Archbishop of Jerusalem,

May the peace of God be always with your excellency, and the people of Palestine and Israel. For it is written: ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem.’ (Psalm 122:6) May God lead us to overcome the current pandemic and political chaos all over the world. In particular, we shall remember the churches in Jerusalem, for the church was firstly established by the Lord’s disciples in this holy city. Being the successors of Saint James the Just, the churches in Jerusalem are the spiritual leaders of the global church and should always stand for the justice and peace of God. For this reason, I sincerely ask your excellency to revoke the title of Honorary Canon from Peter Koon the Communist, who consistently disgrace the glory of God and endorse the Chinese Communist prosecutions of God’s people in both China and Hong Kong.

          On 27 June 2017, Peter Koon from the diocese of Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, was installed as Honorary Canon of the diocese of Jerusalem. The title of Honorary Canon is an appreciation of a senior priest’s life-long ministry in the church. Yet, if the church installed the title to a “priest” who has been serving the Communist regime and rationalizing its humanitarian crimes, the church is de facto endorsing sin and evil. I strongly believe that the installation of Peter Koon to be the Honorary Canon has already disgraced the diocese and revoking his title is the only way to atone the mistake.

          Peter Koon is an active pro-China politician who openly endorses the Communist Chinese intervention of Hong Kong autonomy and even actively defames and insult Hong Kong protestors in front of the press. I call him a politician rather than a clergy because he is appointed as the member of the 13th Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the founding member of a pro-China think tank called Our Hong Kong Foundation. Last year when the Hong Kong government proposed the controversial extradition bill and triggered massive violent clashes between the police and the protestors, Peter Koon supported the bill and argued that Hong Kongese should be obedient to the Beijing atheist regime in order to ask for more freedom. He abused his position as the provincial secretary-general of HKSKH and priesthood by endorsing Chinese Communist government on public occasions. He threatened to punish students studying at Anglican church schools who participated protests for 2014 umbrella revolution or strikes for 2019 anti-extradition bill movement and recklessly said that the idea of Hong Kong independence is against Christian faith.

          Most importantly, Peter Koon strongly supported the recent Chinese legislation of national security law. Together with Paul Kwong, he openly asked Christian to obey the government’s will and denounce protestors of being “violent” but ignore the police’s violent crackdown and suspected rape or even murder of activists, not to mention the serious humanitarian crisis in the mainland China, where numerous churches are torn down, and Christian are arrested, tortured and imprisoned. In fact, as a member of CPPCC, together with Paul Kwong, he should be regarded as one of the politicians approving the bill and maybe sanctioned when Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 is implemented by the United States.

          It is written, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.” (1 Timothy 4:14) However, based upon the facts stated above, I must conclude that the installation of Peter Koon to be the Honorary Canon of Jerusalem has already disgraced your excellency who have laid a hand upon him, and therefore disgracing the Holy See of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, as the world misunderstand that your excellency and the church endorse a Communist “priest’s” collaboration with Beijing humanitarian criminals. To maintain the traditional teaching on justice and peace of one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, I strongly suggest your excellency to undertake the actions as follow:

1.          Revoke Peter Koon’s title of Honorary Canon immediately

2.          Release an open statement clarifying the position of the diocese of Jerusalem on the humanitarian issues in Hong Kong and China, including:

  1. the Chinese legislation of national security law which has violated the Hong Kong autonomy under One Country Two System,
  2. the Hong Kong police brutal crackdown, torture and the government prosecutions of Hong Kong protestors who are fighting for autonomy and democracy promised by the Basic Law,
  3. the Chinese prosecution, torture and imprisonment of Christian, activists and ethnic minority, in particular Uyghurs and Tibetan, and

3.          Suspend communion with HKSKH and request the Anglican Consultative Council to suspend the membership of HKSKH, until the latter removes all anti-humanitarian Communist minister, who are serving the Chinese Communist Party rather than God.

          The church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord, instead of the Communist Party. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer states, ‘Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.’ As one of the spiritual leaders of the universal church, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem should speak out the truth. I am forwarding this open letter to mainline Christian media to call for global concern about the current humanitarian crisis in Hong Kong and the collaboration between HKSKH and the Chinese government. Please pray for the justice and peace in Hong Kong, particularly for Hong Kong Anglican Christian, who remains faithful to the Gospel and yet have difficulty in receiving pastoral care from a faithful jurisdiction. I am looking forward to hearing your reply, and I hope your excellency will undertake appropriate actions as early as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Andrew Ka Pok Tam

戴雲理大主教閣下道鑒:

          願上帝之平安常偕主教閣下、巴勒斯坦及以色列百姓。經云:「要為耶路撒冷求平安」(詩篇122:6);祈求上帝早日引領我等脫離天下之瘟疫與政局動盪,更當記念耶路撒冷,因教會乃是由上主之門徒首先建立於聖城之上。作為公義者聖雅各的繼承者,耶路撒冷眾教會乃普世教會之屬靈領袖,並當時常持守上帝之正義與和平。鑒於共產主義者管浩鳴持續支持中共迫逼上帝在中國及香港之百姓、敗壞主名,予懇請主教閣下盡快褫奪其法政牧師頭銜。

          2017年6月27日,香港聖公會教省香港島教區之管浩鳴獲封立為耶路撒冷教區法政牧師。蓋法政之銜,旨在表彰牧者於教會之聖工。然而,教會若封立事奉共產政權、美化其暴行之「牧師」為法政,教會實為稱許其罪惡。誠然,自   貴教區封立管氏為法政以降,恐怕以隳節敗名,為力挽狂瀾,為今之計,必為褫奪其法政頭銜。

          管浩鳴者,共產主義政客也,屢次受訪時媚諛中共、甚至讒構義士。竊謂之政客而非牧師,因其為十三屆北京市政協及團結香港基金創始會員也。去年,港府一意孤行,強推逃犯條例,怨聲載道,故生警民衝突。然管氏力挺修例,更言港人當順服北京,以乞求自由。又瀆其教省秘書長及聖職,以其身份公言為中共歌功頌德;嘗於2014年雨傘革命及2019年反共革命期間,恐嚇處罰示威或罷課之聖公會堂校學生,更揚言港獨違背基督信仰。

          更甚者,管浩鳴支持近日中國就國家安全法立法。彼偕鄺保羅每每要求信從順服掌權者、譴責示威「暴力」,無視警察鎮壓,甚至疑似強暴及謀殺示威者之惡行,以及中國大陸教堂被強拆、基督徒身陷囹圄而受虐之事實。再者,管氏及鄺氏 身為政協,理應被視作通過國安法之政客,故亦可能在美國落實《香港民主與人權法》時受到制裁。

          經云:「你不要輕忽所得的恩賜,就是從前藉著預言、在眾長老按手的時候賜給你的。」(提摩太前書4:14)惟縱觀其人,竊以為主教閣下按手封立管浩鳴為法政,已令耶路撒冷及中東聖公會教省蒙上污名,使世人誤會閣下嘉許一共黨「牧師」與北京人道罪行者狼狽為奸。為保使徒所傳、惟一聖而公之教會之正義與和平之訓導,予祈請主教閣下:

1.          立即禠奪管浩鳴法政頭銜,

2.          公告澄請耶路撒冷教區就港中人道災難之立場,包括:

  1. 中國就國安法立法、損害一國兩制下之香港自治一事,
  2. 香港警察暴力鎮壓及虐待以及政府濫控義士一事,
  3. 中國政府迫害、虐待及囚禁基督徒、異見者及少數族裔,尤其維吾爾人及西藏人一事,並且

3.          暫緩與香港聖公會教省之共融關係,並要求聖公會諮議會擱置香港聖公會之成員資格,直至其罷免所有反人道主義、事奉中共而非上帝之共黨牧師牧職。

          教會惟一的根基,是主耶穌基督,而非中國共產黨。如潘霍華所言:「見邪惡而緘默者,邪惡也,上帝不以之為無罪。無言即有言,無行即有行。」既為普世教會之屬靈領袖,聖公會耶路撒冷教區當仗義執言。予將轉發此信至教內媒體,以籲普世關注香港當前人道災難,及正視香港聖公會與中共之勾當。請為香港之正義與和平祈禱,尤其紀念堅守福音、然未得忠信教權牧養之聖公會人。敬希賜覆,並頌

    平安!

Dr. Andrew Ka Pok Tam

PhD in Theology and Religious Studies

University of Glasgow

The post Petition to the Archbishop of Jerusalem from Hong Kong Anglicans appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Address by Archbishop Foley Beach to the ACNA Provincial Council

Anglican Ink - Fri, 26/06/2020 - 20:04

An address given on 23 June 2020 by the Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, the Most Rev Foley Beach, to the provincial assembly.

Archbishop Provincial Address.2020 by George Conger on Scribd

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Anglican Unscripted 608 – The Simple Solution

Anglican Ink - Fri, 26/06/2020 - 18:53

There is so much happening in this world and the church seems to be floundering for a voice in 2020. Kevin Kallsen and George Conger discuss this and much more on this week’s Anglican Unscripted.

The post Anglican Unscripted 608 – The Simple Solution appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

An Anglican Commonwealth of churches? Weak tea

Anglican Ink - Fri, 26/06/2020 - 15:28

Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden have recently proposed rethinking the Anglican Communion, given the extra year provided by the Covid-19 crisis. They call on the three main groupings of Anglicans – the Communion Establishment (a.k.a., “Instruments of Unity”), the Gafcon movement, and the Global South Anglican Network – to back away from their political stances and come together to imagine a better way forward. The political model they propose is the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Having lived a while in an African Commonwealth country, I would observe that, apart from various sponsored meetings of Commonwealth “heads” of this and that, the ground level impact of the Commonwealth seems mostly limited to the periodic excitement aroused when the Queen pays a visit. Weak tea, it seems to me.

At the church level, the closest analogy to this “Commonwealth” proposal is the Lutheran World Federation, which has no authority and which, due to the funding of European and North American churches, has drifted steadily leftward.

By contrast, the worldwide United Methodist church has a Book of Discipline that is considered authoritative and has an international synod where representation by numbers has given the Global South churches a strong voice.  In February 2019, the Methodist General Conference rejected a “weak tea” proposal to allow “diversity” in matters of homosexual clergy and same-sex marriage. This stance led in turn to a “A Protocol of Reconciliation and Grace through Separation” in effect splitting United Methodists into two churches, one Evangelical and global, the other liberal and Western. One may grieve this parting of ways, but it is, frankly, true to reality, spiritually and practically.

The Anglican Communion, for historical reasons related to the Established Church, has never had an authoritative covenant of doctrine and discipline. In 1998 the Communion was faced with a matter of doctrine and practice which challenged its theological and ecclesial unity. Lambeth Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality was approved overwhelmingly, which stated that homosexual practice was “incompatible with Scripture” and could not be “advised” (persuasion being the only tool of inner-communion discipline).

The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Church of Canada defied this Resolution, and this led to a series of fruitless meetings among the “Instruments.” The one opportunity to adopt communion discipline, as I see it, was a proposal in 2001 from two Global South bishops “To Mend the Net.” Archbishops George Carey and Rowan Williams allowed this proposal to be deep-sixed. Canterbury’s “weak tea” led directly to the Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008 and its confession of biblical orthodoxy in the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration.

Gafcon and the Global South network have repeatedly appealed to the Instruments to affirm and apply Lambeth I.10. In its 2018 “Letter to the Churches,” two thousand global Anglicans declared:

We are not leaving the Anglican Communion; we are the majority of the Anglican Communion seeking to remain faithful to our Anglican heritage. As Archbishop Nicholas Okoh stated in the inaugural Synodical Council: “We are merely doing what the Communion leadership should have done to uphold its own resolution in 1998.”

In particular, the Jerusalem Conference urged the Archbishop Justin Welby to invite to the Lambeth Conference those Anglicans who had upheld Lambeth I.10 at considerable price. He has refused to do so and is moving ahead with “business as usual” for the next Lambeth Conference.

I worked alongside Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden in 1998 to help mobilize support for the Lambeth Resolution on sexuality. I would say to them now: you cannot “think again” about the Anglican Communion unless you repent and go back to the point where it came apart.

Let the “Instruments” wholeheartedly affirm the biblical teaching on sex and marriage and invite to the table all those who are prepared to uphold it. Let them also “mend the net” of communion discipline along the lines proposed almost twenty years ago.

Any other “Commonwealth” model will be weak tea and not worthy of the name “Communion,” because ultimately fellowship in Christ must be based on the mighty Truth of the Gospel (Galatians 2:5).

Note: For a defense of Gafcon’s theological integrity, see my new book The Gospel of God and the Church of God: Global Anglican Essays (2020).

The post An Anglican Commonwealth of churches? Weak tea appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Gabrielle Samuel

The Good Book Company - Thu, 25/06/2020 - 12:00

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Gabrielle Samuel, a member of Stockwell Baptist Church, who she serves as a missionary for London City Mission. She's also part of Black Berea, a group of Christians from London, UK who desire to engage the culture and community around them with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gabrielle Samuel joins this prayer series alongside many sisters in Christ, including authors who contributed to His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of color on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

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This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of color—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

Watch a movie, then start a gospel conversation

The Good Book Company - Thu, 25/06/2020 - 06:00

The visual arts give us a means of expressing our deepest feelings, fears, and joys, even if we don’t realize to whom we are expressing them. 

When we seek to understand the messages in the movies we and our friends are watching, we are giving ourselves the tools to have a similar conversation—identifying the desires and longings of people’s hearts, and showing them how these are met in Christ.        

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Learning to identify these feelings and longings has been a helpful tool to use with my children. Sometimes after watching something together, I will ask them what they thought certain characters were feeling at different points in the movie. A simple conversation like this conveys to them that the emotions they feel are normal and part of the way God designed them. It opens the door for us to identify ways in which characters expressed their emotions and whether those were healthy expressions or not.     

Movie night evangelism        

Similarly, my husband, Erik, is great about asking our kids to identify symbolism and the messages of a movie, training them to view the story with their minds engaged. And it’s not just to our kids that he asks these questions. For several years he has hosted occasional “Manly Movie Nights,” which began with stereotypically masculine movies like Braveheart and Warrior and now include obscure Belgian films and dark Irish dramedies. At first when he began a conversation after the movie, it was awkwardly silent. Like strengthening an unused muscle, learning to look more deeply at movies takes time, and doing it collectively can feel strange. But Erik and his friends—both believers and nonbelievers—have learned so much from each other through this simple practice of asking questions about symbols, messages, themes, longing, and worldviews.        

And it should come as no surprise that using stories can be an excellent entry point for gospel conversations, since this is just what Jesus did in his teaching ministry. How often did he illustrate truth with a story that his listeners could relate to? We may not be the ones telling the stories, but we can pray for discernment and wisdom to connect the stories we hear and see with the truth we know. This happens most often when we ask good questions like “Did you connect with any of the characters?” or “How did you feel while watching that?” or even something as simple as “What did you think about that movie?” Asking that question, and then listening intently to the response, can open our eyes to the views and ideals of the people around us.    

A gospel framework         

None of this wisdom, insight and discernment are possible, however, unless we have in place a framework within which to view movies and TV. It is when we have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord in the truth of his word that we are able to realize that other tastes and sights can never truly satisfy. Those who don’t know this are at the mercy of the messages they hear in the culture around them.

Engaging with movies means that we can understand a major way in which people in our culture express themselves and might reach out to God without even knowing it. We understand what they believe and what they are living for. We, who know the truth about what God is like and how to reach him, must make sure we are part of that conversation. 

How should we listen to, and think in a gospel way about, the ordinary things we come across in modern life? Things we watch, read, eat, and do. There are so many voices saying so many different things that the temptations are to either disengage completely, or find ourselves being influenced more and more by the world.

In Beautifully Distinct, godly, clear-thinking women talk about a range of areas of life and culture. They help us to be thoughtful about films, books, and the media; set out biblical principles for approaching topics such as body image and racism; and encourage us to shape the world around us for Christ—becoming beautifully distinct.

Categories: Christian Resources

Anglican Unscripted 607 – Sentencing a Bishop

Anglican Ink - Wed, 24/06/2020 - 13:30

To be a Bishop in the Church you need to be above reproach according to scripture, and sometimes Bishops fall below that standard and are subject to church discipline. This and many more topics are discussed on Episode 607 of Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger.

The post Anglican Unscripted 607 – Sentencing a Bishop appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

LET US PRAY: Prayers From Women of Color - Kristie Anyabwile

The Good Book Company - Tue, 23/06/2020 - 16:41

A Message from the TGBC team: 

Whatever the color of our skin, there is much to grieve and lament over right now. So many of us are hurting. So many of us feel powerless to help. Those of us who are not people of color want to stand with our brothers and sisters, but sometimes are unsure how to.

But all of us can pray. And all of us must pray.

So we’ve invited women of color to help all of us lift our eyes to the Lord of all and speak to him as our Father about the times we’re walking through. Each day for the next week or two, visit this blog and you’ll find a video, voice recording, or written prayer that will help you to pray into this situation. 

We’re honored that serving us today is Kristie Anyabwile, a popular conference speaker who lives in Washington, DC, with her husband Thabiti and their three children. She tweets @kanyabwile.

Kristie Anyabwile is also the editor of His Testimonies, My Heritage. Hear the voices of women of color on the most important subject in any age—the word of God.

[inline_product:heritage]

This inspiring collection of devotions is by a diverse group of women of color—African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women. Contributors include Kristie Anyabwile, Jackie Hill-Perry, Trillia Newbell, Elicia Horton, Christina Edmondson, Blair Linne, Bev Chao Berrus and more.

Categories: Christian Resources

Anglican Unscripted 606 – Legal Victories

Anglican Ink - Tue, 23/06/2020 - 00:26

Kevin Kallsen and AS Haley talk about the latest court victories for the ACNA. And, some of the challenges the US Supreme Court’s recent decisions will bring religious communities.

The post Anglican Unscripted 606 – Legal Victories appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Anglican Unscripted 605 – Mob Rule

Anglican Ink - Tue, 23/06/2020 - 00:25

There seems to be much in common with how TEC and the CofE rule like the mobs of CHOP in Seattle. This and the legal decision from South Carolina in today’s Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger

The post Anglican Unscripted 605 – Mob Rule appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Anglican Unscripted 604 – We are Reconciled

Anglican Ink - Tue, 23/06/2020 - 00:24

The world is in Chaos… still. And, as aways no one has the answers… except Scripture. The answer to COVID, RIOTS, Tiger King, and every issue under the sun is found sufficiently answered in Scripture. This and so much more on this week’s Anglican Unscripted with Kevin Kallsen and George Conger.

The post Anglican Unscripted 604 – We are Reconciled appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Pastor's Kids: Well-known but unknown

The Good Book Company - Mon, 22/06/2020 - 13:17

On a purely lifestyle level, one of the greatest challenges pastor’s kids (PKs) face is scrutiny. It feels perpetual and persistent, even invasive.

PKs are like everyone else in that we want to be known; we want people to know our hearts and our fears and what makes us us. Yet this sort of scrutiny creates a horde of people who know volumes about us. It creates a tension in which it can be difficult to genuinely make ourselves known, and so PKs become both the best-known and the least-known people in the church. In most cases there isn’t a single person or a particular group of people doing the watching. It’s a collective, disorganized, largely unintentional effort on the part of the church as a whole. At best it is bothersome; at worst it is suffocating and warping.

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Hyper Awareness of Pastors Kids

This sort of pervasive scrutiny is not an obvious thing. It is not composed of people snooping or spying or skulking. The primary result of scrutiny is awareness, or maybe what one might call “hyper awareness.” People simply become constantly aware of the PK in ways that differ from their awareness of other kids. This is a subtle problem because people don’t even realize their heightened awareness.

Folks in the church just glean things about the PK’s life from sermon illustrations (and pastors wonder why kids hate being used in sermons) or from a conversation here and a passing comment there. This is information that wouldn’t even register or come up at all if it wasn’t about the pastor’s kid. It is all innocent in motive and accidental in action.

Being Part of Sermon Illustrations

My dad has a sermon called “Doing Missions When Dying Is Gain.” It is one that has become sort of a seminal message for his ministry. The thing that stands out to me about it, though, is one little story, the story of me as a little boy running home crying after a group of boys in our inner-city neighborhood had stolen my bike. As the story goes, my dad saw this as an opportunity to teach me about suffering and making sacrifices for the gospel. And that is what the story means to the thousands of people who have heard that message now.

You know what it meant to me? It meant hurt, embarrassment, and sadness at the loss of a bike, the kind of sadness only a little boy can have at the loss of his favorite toy. In the years since that message became popular, at least a dozen people, mostly strangers, have asked me about that story—a story that in any normal circumstance they wouldn’t even know. They know something about me. They have gained an awareness of me. These strangers shouldn’t even know my name, yet now they have questions about a private moment from my childhood.

The more people know about a person, the more they think they know her. That is to say the more they assume about her. As a PK, it can be tremendously difficult to get from known of to known because of these assumptions.

A Sense of Being On Display

The pressure of this sort of expansive awareness builds on the shoulders of the PK through small things, the side comments people make about things they have no business knowing. These comments aren’t usually malicious, just misplaced. People feel they “know” the PK, so they ask about his football game last Saturday. That’s really nice, but how do they even know about that? Or a woman might congratulate him for getting into a particular college. Thanks, ma’am. Who are you again?

Every one of these little comments expresses an awareness of the details of life. A PK might hear ten comments or questions on a Sunday from ten different people, each of whom has no intention whatsoever of prodding or snooping. Even the sheer number of people who greet the PK by name is constricting. It all adds up to a feeling of being watched. And watched is what PKs so often do feel, all the time, in everything. It is life in a fishbowl, exposed, on display.

Well-Known but Unknown

People love to be known. We are relational beings whether we express it as vivacious extroversion or conversational introversion. Being known is safe, secure, warm. It has been in our DNA since the very beginning when Adam walked with God and Eve was created to be with Adam as a mate and helper. He needed her companionship because he was designed to need it.

Even Jesus, the Trinitarian Son of God who has been eternally in relationship, surrounded himself with twelve close friends, three of them his very closest. Being known is freeing because it means we can be ourselves with all our flaws, quirks, doubts, fears, paradoxes, and secrets. It is something that isn’t easily found and ought to be fiercely protected and fostered. A significant problem arises though, when we confuse being known of for being known.

The Challenge of Becoming Known

Being known of is intoxicating. It is exciting to be recognized by relative strangers. It gives a sense of influence (real or imagined) and even power. It makes one feel special. This is why people are so willing to do idiotic things to get “famous.” Reality TV is full of people selling their dignity so they will be known of. Being known of is also the state that PKs find themselves in, albeit hopefully in a different context than contestants on Big Brother.

Being so well-known in the church circle has its advantages. It can feel good to be popular. It can open doors to certain opportunities, and it provides a feeling of being liked. Who doesn’t want to be liked? But there is a flip side to being known in this way.

The more people know about a person, the more they think they know her. That is to say the more they assume about her. As a PK, it can be tremendously difficult to get from known of to known because of these assumptions.

This is an extract from The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper, a pastor’s kid and the Director for Community at Immanuel Nashville (The Good Book Company, 2020). He is also an author and speaker and the father of two daughters. He cohosts the Happy Rant podcast and blogs at BarnabasPiper.com. The Pastor’s Kid is available to buy here. 
 

Categories: Christian Resources

Oxford statement on removal of Lord Carey’s permission to officiate in the diocese

Anglican Ink - Sat, 20/06/2020 - 15:25

The following statement was issued in response to requests from the BBC and Channel 4 news on 17 June 2020. 

A planned independent review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late John Smyth QC is currently underway. In the course of that review, new information has come to light regarding Lord Carey, which has been passed to the National Safeguarding Team for immediate attention as per the agreed Terms of Reference for the review.

A Core Group was formed, according to House of Bishops Guidance, and it advised the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford, to withdraw Lord Carey’s Permission to Officiate (PTO) while the matter is investigated.

Lord Carey’s PTO was revoked by the Bishop of Oxford on Wednesday 17 June. Lord Carey is currently unauthorised to undertake any form of ministry in the Diocese until further notice.

While the investigation and review are ongoing, we will not be commenting further on this matter. However, for the avoidance of doubt, we wish to make clear that the new information received relates only to the review currently underway, and that there has not been an allegation of abuse made against Lord Carey.

Notes for editors:

  • In the wake of Dame Moira Gibb’s review, Lord Carey stood down from the role of Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Oxford in June 2017, and withdrew from public ministry for a season. Lord Carey accepted the criticisms made of him at the time and apologised to the victims of Peter Ball.
  • In February 2018 Lord Carey contacted the Diocese of Oxford to request PTO (permission to officiate). Following senior legal opinion, PTO was granted by the Bishop of Oxford later the same month to allow Lord Carey to undertake his priestly ministry at the church where he worships. The granting of PTO was conditional on no further concerns coming to light.
  • As with all granting of PTO’s, Lord Carey was subject to a fresh DBS check and appropriate safeguarding training at the time.
  • The new information referred to relates to the independent review currently underway, details of which can be read at: https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/promoting-safer-church/reviews-and-reports/john-smyth-review
  • The Core Group first met on 16 June.

The post Oxford statement on removal of Lord Carey’s permission to officiate in the diocese appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

SC Court on Remand Vindicates Bishop Lawrence and His Parishes

Anglican Ink - Sat, 20/06/2020 - 15:08

At 8:39 a.m. EDT this morning, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Edgar Dickson filed his long-awaited decision on remand in the drawn-out dispute between Bishop Lawrence and the (now) Anglican Diocese of South Carolina vs. the Episcopal Church (USA) and its diocese (created to replace that of Bishop Lawrence when the latter voted to withdraw from ECUSA).

The decision is a full and clear vindication of all of the arguments made by Bishop Lawrence and his parishes, with the exception of those concerning trademarks, insignia and intellectual property (which Judge Dickson held were governed by federal trademark law). Making factual findings as to each of thirty-six individual parishes, Judge Dickson ruled (1) following the still-controlling decision of the South Carolina Supreme Court in All Saints Waccamaw, ECUSA’s Dennis Canon by itself does not create or impose a legally binding trust on any church property in South Carolina; (2) none of the thirty-six parishes ever expressly acceded to the Dennis Canon in any written document; and (3) Bishop Lawrence’s Diocese did not lose its status as beneficiary of the Camp Christopher Trust when it exercised its legal right to disassociate from ECUSA (again following another holding of the Waccamaw case).

Judge Dickson does an excellent job of laying out these conclusions at the close of his Order:

The neutral principles of property, corporate, and trust law [in South Carolina] have been consistent for years. Lawyers and judges understand those principles and are competent to decide issue[s] based upon them. Additionally, neutral principles of law avoid[] all religious discussion, including which party is “true” to their denomination. 

This is a property case. A decision on property ownership is usually governed by the title to real estate—the deed. In this case, all the Plaintiff Parishes hold title to their property in fee simple absolute. 

Ownership may be [a]ffected by [a] trust: a clear, convincing legal statement of a trust—not a promise, not a pledge, not polity. This Court concludes that there is no signed writing by the Plaintiffs expressly acceding to the Dennis Canon. This Court concludes there is no evidence establishing an intent by the Plaintiff Parishes to create a trust in favor of Defendants nor did the Plaintiffs ever vote on or consider acceding specifically to the Dennis Canon. Statements of allegiance are insufficient to establish an expressed trust. TEC unilaterally drafted the Dennis Canon. Since TEC and TECSC are not the owners of the Parish properties, they cannot establish a trust for themselves simply by declaring that they are also the beneficiary of the trust. The Dennis Canon by itself does not create a “legally cognizable” trust nor does [it] transfer title to property.

What does this mean on the ground? Again, Judge Dickson — in contrast to the indeterminate and scattered holdings of the South Carolina Supreme Court, whose “Collective Opinions” he was forced to parse and make sense of — leaves nothing unclear:

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the thirty-six Plaintiff Parishes be, and hereby are, declared and affirmed as the title owners in fee simple absolute of their respective parish real properties, with improvements thereon and their accompanying personal property.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that certified true copies of this order shall be filed in the Clerk of Court’s Office in the county where each parish is located.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Defendants herein have no interest in the Plaintiff Parishes’ properties.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that ownership to Camp St. Christopher remain as titled to the Trustees of the Corporation as stated in the 1951 deed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Federal Court has jurisdiction over all matters related to trademarks, service marks, and intellectual property.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the request for the Appointment of a Special Master, the Petition for an Accounting are denied.
AND IT IS SO ORDERED.

Your Curmudgeon does not gloat or boast, but tries to keep things humble and accurate here. Nevertheless, this earlier post foreshadowed this result. It was obvious to a lawyer’s mind that no three justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court had agreed on anything except that they were not overruling All Saints Waccamaw, which remained good law. And following that lead, Judge Dickson finds that each of the questions presented for him on remand was already resolved by that earlier decision.

Those commenters who took the arrogance of Justices Hearn and Pleicones (who were actually in the minority, but refused to acknowledge it) at face value were misled into thinking that they properly summarized the fractured holdings of the Court. But they did not. All they did was adhere to their blinkered view that South Carolina should revert to the deference rule in church property disputes — and that view, as Judge Dickson conclusively demonstrates, was not the majority view.

Where will things go from here? Well, Judge Dickson notes that there is still a pending motion to reconsider ECUSA’s earlier motion to dismiss, but that motion is pretty well now moot, given that he has ruled on the merits. So what ECUSA and its diocese can do is once again appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals, and then to the state’s Supreme Court. But this time, things will be different:

1. There are two new Justices on the Court (replacing Pleicones and Toal, who retired), plus Justice Hearn has recused herself from all further proceedings in this case. That leaves only four, as there were on +Lawrence’s earlier Petition for Rehearing, but this time a 2-2 split would mean that Judge Dickson’s Order would stand. So ECUSA’s attorneys would need to get the votes of three of the four sitting Justices. Given the Court’s repeated refusal to interfere with the process on remand, that eventuality does not seem likely.

2. To this day, as Judge Dickson notes, All Saints Waccamaw remains the law of the land in South Carolina, and it governs each of the property and trust questions on remand. ECUSA failed, even with the dubious participation of Justice Hearn, to get three votes to overturn Waccamaw. So where will they get them now, with Justice Hearn removed from the case?

3. This time (unlike last time), the record on appeal will include all of the individual parish documents, which show conclusively that none of them ever expressly “acceded” to the Dennis Canon as such. At most, some (but by no means all) parishes employed general language about being bound by the Constitution and “rules” (Canons) of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Moreover, the record will show that Bishop Lawrence’s diocese expressly revoked any effect of the Dennis Canon upon parish properties before it withdrew from ECUSA.

4. As Judge Dickson notes in his Order (p. 6), “the trial court’s findings of fact will be upheld on appeal when they are reasonably supported by the evidence unless: (1) the findings of fact are wholly unsupported by the evidence; or (2) unless it clearly appears the findings were influenced or controlled by an error of law.” On the prior appeal, as Judge Dickson also points out, ECUSA and its diocese did not even appeal from Judge Diane Goodstein’s findings of fact as to the parishes’ not acceding to the Dennis Canon. But now Judge Dickson has extended and expanded those findings as to each individual parish, and they are amply “supported by the [documentary] evidence” he cites.

5. There is absolutely no evidence in the record, as Judge Dickson observes, of fraud or deceit justifying the law’s imposition of a “constructive trust” on the parishes’ properties. Instead, the evidence shows that they individually, and not ECUSA, paid for their own properties, and built and maintained their buildings at their expense.

6. Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese have moved on from their state-law claims to the trademarks and insignia of the traditional South Carolina Diocese. (The federal case, where the ownership to those marks is in dispute, is on appeal to the Fourth Circuit, and will be decided in that court.)

These considerations argue strongly against any chance of success were ECUSA and its diocese to try to appeal from Judge Dickson’s order. But that never stopped them before, so do not hold your breath.

The post SC Court on Remand Vindicates Bishop Lawrence and His Parishes appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

Episcopal Church in South Carolina statement on today’s court loss

Anglican Ink - Fri, 19/06/2020 - 22:24
Lower Court Judge Issues Ruling Contrary to SC Supreme Court Decision from August 2017

CHARLESTON, SC – (June 19, 2020) South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Edgar Dickson, tasked in November 2017 by the South Carolina Supreme Court (SCSC) with a remittitur to enforce the final judgment of the SCSC which ruled in August 2017 that the diocesan property and 29 parishes should be returned to the parties affiliated with The Episcopal Church, issued an Order earlier today that seems to be contrary to that decision. In his Order, he ruled that the properties instead belong to each congregation, using the application of the neutral principles of law. His order indicates that the historic Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has no interest in the properties of the breakaway congregations that left the historic diocese and The Episcopal Church.

While the August 2017 final judgement of the South Carolina Supreme Court was based on a finding that these specific diocesan properties had acceded to the 1979 Dennis Canon, Judge Dickson found no explicit accession existed. As noted in the Order, the 1979 Dennis Canon states the following: “All real and personal property held by or for the benefit of any Parish, Mission or Congregation is held in trust for this Church and the Diocese thereof in which such Parish, Mission or Congregation is located. The existence of this trust, however, shall in no way limit the power and authority of the Parish, Mission or Congregation otherwise existing over such property so long as the particular Parish, Mission or Congregation remain a part of, and subject to this Church and its Constitution and Canons.”

In his opinion with the majority in August 2017, SC Supreme Court Justice Costa Pleicones noted that a failure to recognize the “ecclesiastical nature of this dispute,” would “impose a requirement that each local church must specifically accede to the Dennis Canon before it can be bound. Such a requirement entangles the civil court in church matters, for TEC’s Canons specifically provide that ‘no such action shall be necessary for the existence and validity of the trust.’”

Judge Dickson’s order today seems inconsistent with that final judgement. However, representatives of the Diocese remain positive about the future. “This is not a final decision; it is yet another step on a long journey to full reconciliation within our Diocese,” said Diocesan Chancellor Thomas S. Tisdale, Jr.

“While we are understandably disappointed that Judge Dickson has not enforced the Supreme Court’s decision as directed, we are hopeful that the South Carolina Supreme Court will hear the matter promptly and correct any errors that exist in today’s order,” said Tisdale. Our legal team has already begun working on a formal response to this order that will be filed in the near future.

In his opinion, Judge Dickson ordered that the Federal Court has jurisdiction over all matters relating to trademarks, service marks, and intellectual property. To this end, our diocese remains the historic (Episcopal) Diocese of South Carolina.

A NOTE FROM ARCHDEACON CALHOUN WALPOLE ON TODAY’S NEWS

The news today is deflating to our deep desire to restore the Diocese of South Carolina and see our beloved diocese resurrected in newness of life—in both wholeness of health and fullness of being.  But we do not lose heart, as our struggle is far from over. 

In this time of sweeping change across our country and proper confrontation with truth, we in the Diocese of South Carolina recognize our historical tendency of exclusion and subjugation of peoples—from African Americans to women to the LGBTQ community.  Given that historical tendency, it is vital for us to remember today that our struggle here in South Carolina is, at its very core, a struggle for justice.  And any struggle for justice is always worth it.  The road may be hard.  It may be long.  It is certainly a dusty and winding road.  But it is the road we have been placed upon together—and are privileged to travel—not only today—but on behalf of the future and for generations yet unborn.  Today may feel like a sudden stop along the road—but as pilgrims, we remember that the road continues.        

As our martyred bishop, William Alexander Guerry, once wrote: “If we are to be truly Catholic, as Christ himself is catholic, then we must have a Church broad enough to embrace in its communion every living human soul.”  This is our legacy.  This is our calling. 

“Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”

Faithfully yours,
Callie

The post Episcopal Church in South Carolina statement on today’s court loss appeared first on Anglican Ink © 2020.

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