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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Congrats Abp Duncan and Bp Zubik

The Call, the newsletter of the Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania (CASP) arrived in the mail today. The September issue is not up on the website yet. I read that Archbishop Duncan was elected to serve as Chairman and Roman Catholic Bishop Zubik as Vice-chairman. CASP is an ecumenical group of all the judicatories in our region and represented by the judicatory leaders. Waytogoguys!

This photo of Archbishop Duncan includes my favorite miter (aka the pointy hat). A fellow clergyman likened it to the Japanese battle flag of World War II.

Diktat or Negotiating in Good Faith …. What Does It Mean? part 2 - Update

In the part two blog entry, Click here, I mentioned TEC-Pgh Canon for Formation Dr. Jay Geisler had recruited at least three seminarians to populate ACNA church buildings awarded to TEC-Pgh by the courts. I have learned of two more (now totaling five) TSM seminarians now involved in the TEC-Pgh Diocese. One an over forty-something seminarian and recent MDiv grad who was not ordained or placed by his sending diocese of South Carolina and is now helping to re-develop St Christopher's, Warrendale and a sometime seminarian from an AMiA parish in St. Louis MO and more recently attending Christ Church at Grove Farm. At one time this chap was also shilling coffee from Rwanda via the AMiA and visited my former parish in Kittanning.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Diktat or Negotiating in Good Faith ... What Does It Mean? 3rd and Final Part

Sometimes it takes a while for me to “get it”. I can be a little slow on the uptake. But once I get it, I get it -- “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while”.

Take these negotiations with TEC-Pgh or lack thereof; I hadn’t really comprehended the fact that these negotiations were not actually connected in any direct way to the Stipulation Agreement or the rulings of Judge James or the Commonwealth of PA Appellate Court. They have been offered to us independently by the TEC-Pgh Diocese. The courts didn’t order them in any way. That being said, the notion of negotiating in good faith, or not, is in the eyes of the beholder. If TEC-Pgh’s idea of negotiating in good faith means setting in stone pre-conditions which are non-starters for the ACNA parishes, that is their prerogative. There just won't be any negotiations.

TEC-Pgh blogger Lionel Deimel has said: "we [the TEC-Pgh Diocese] hold most of the cards so this is more like a plea bargain than a negotiation between equals". From the TEC perspective, they probably think we should be grateful that they are even willing to offer negotiations to us. They don’t have to --which is true.

It had been my hope that the blog entries “Diktat or Negotiating in Good Faith ...What Does It Mean?" Parts 1 and 2 - would generate dialogue across the Great Divide in Pittsburgh. They have to some extent. Thanks to Phil Wainwright, Bruce Robison and Lionel Deimel from TEC and Ethan Magness, Fr. Joe and others from the ACNA for engaging the issues.

I am going to leave it at that and await our turn to come to the table, if it ever gets to that. Meanwhile we will concentrate on the mission God has given us to reach the lost and hurting in our portion of the South Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh and prepare for any eventuality.

Tell Us How You Really Feel!

A friend carried this sign
on the sidewalk outside
Calvary Episcopal Church,
East Liberty, Pittsburgh
last Sunday at the 8 AM
and 9 AM services. It did
generate some dialogue
which was his hope.

TEC-Pgh Diocesan Profile for Bishop Election Is Up

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh posted its Diocesan Profile as part of the search for what they consider to be the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh late yesterday. The profile is a 29-page color PDF file with lots of pictures. Read it and check out the photos

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Happened to Yertle the Turtle?

All the blog entries about Yertle the Turtle, save one, have disappeared from the archives of the Three Rivers Episcopal blog!

Here's the only one left from December 5, 2008 - "I've gotten a lot of positive feedback about the Yertle references. Thought it might be nice to get the full text up. So here it is - sorry no pictures. If you want to buy the book, Barnes and Nobel is having a "Buy Two Dr. Seuss Books Get One Free" sale!"

Hmmm. Makes you want to scratch your head and ask why?

Next thing you know the "Lemming Pledge" blog entries will disappear too! My favorite is this one, "Lemming Pledge #13"

For the uninformed, ACNA Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan was compared Yertle the Turtle and all of us realigners were labeled lemmings on this blog. The blog entry label for Yertle is"new province" and the label for Lemming Pledge is "realignment". Unfortunately the ability to post public comments on the Three Rivers Episcopal blog was eliminated sometime in early 2011.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Muscular Christianity: Catholic men go wild

As the former Executive Director of a national men's ministry called the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, I still resonate with effective men's ministries. "Wild at Heart" is a very effective program and the Roman Catholics are on to it. Bravo for them.

Catholic Men Go Wild Sept. 8-11

On the long weekend of Sept. 8-11, men of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will go wild.

It’s only a foray into rustic cabins and outdoor activities at Raccoon Creek State Park, but it’s part of a wider evangelical and Catholic movement to reclaim a masculine spirituality. The seminal book in the “wild man” movement is Wild At Heart, by John Eldredge, who argues that men are designed for risk and adventure. But the church, he argues, has focused on taming them rather than utilizing their God-given nature to take on bold challenges for Christ.

Bishop David Zubik and the Rev. Joe Freedy, the diocesan vocations director, will join men and boys on the retreat, which is run by a Philadelphia group, The King’s Men. They will be encouraged to experience God in nature, while workig together on activities such as fishing, survival skills, while game prepatation and cooking. Participants will also learn archery, shoot on a rifle range and engage in physical challenges and competitions. Fathers are encouraged to bring their sons ages 11 and up. There will be opportunitis for prayer, Confession and Mass.

The Bible verse on the poster says of Jesus, “He withdrew himself into the wilderness to pray.” Luke 5:16

“Outdoorsmen are welcome, but no skills are necessary,” the organizers say.

Click here for story

Click here for history of "Muscular Christianity"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Inspiring Piece From Oswald Chambers This Morning

Bishop Alf Stanway, CMS missionary to Tanganyika and founding Dean of Trinity School for Ministry used to spout short pithy sayings which came to be known in the seminary community as "Alf-isms". One of these which I never have forgotten is "No Bible, no breakfast". He always kept the discipline of feeding his spiritual soul before feeding his physical body. In order to do this myself, I read Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest" online first thing in the morning. It is delivered to my email inbox sometime each night while I sleep and ready for reading upon awaking!


Blessed are the poor in spirit.- Matthew 5:3

The New Testament notices things which from our standards do not seem to count. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," literally - Blessed are the paupers - an exceedingly commonplace thing! The preaching of to-day is apt to emphasize strength of will, beauty of character - the things that are easily noticed. The phrase we bear so often, Decide for Christ, is an emphasis on something Our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for Him, but to yield to Him - a very different thing. At the basis of Jesus Christ's Kingdom is the unaffected loveliness of the commonplace. The thing I am blessed in is my poverty. If I know I have no strength of will, no nobility of disposition, then Jesus says - Blessed are you, because it is through this poverty that I enter His Kingdom. I cannot enter His Kingdom as a good man or woman, I can only enter it as a complete pauper.

The true character of the loveliness that tells for God is always unconscious. Conscious influence is priggish and un-Christian. If I say - I wonder if I am of any use - I instantly lose the bloom of the touch of the Lord. "He that believeth in me, out of him shall flow rivers of living water." If I examine the outflow, I lose the touch of the Lord.

Which are the people who have influenced us most? Not the ones who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that they were influencing us. In the Christian life the implicit is never conscious, if it is conscious it ceases to have this unaffected loveliness which is the characteristic of the touch of Jesus. We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Diktat or Negotiating in Good Faith …. What Does It Mean? part 2

Today St. David’s was privileged to host the first ordination to the vocational diaconate in the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh using the new ACNA Ordinal. It was an awesome day. During the reception that followed I learned some very interesting information. It seems that the new TEC-Pgh church in Bridgeville, All Saints’, and their rector already are planning how they are going to afford our building once they take it from us. They are the closest TEC parish to us and currently rent a small community room for worship. They apparently will re-convert the St. David's youth room to a sanctuary as it was prior to 2001. They would lease out the new sanctuary and education space to another congregation in order to pay the considerable mortgage ($1 mil) the TEC-Pgh Diocese would inherit. This doesn’t say much for TEC-Pgh’s stated intention to negotiate in good faith.

I remember a conversation I had with the TEC-Pgh Canon to the Ordinary a year or so ago who said, “Don’t worry, we have plans for your buildings, once we get them back”. Again, not much to be said for negotiating in good faith.

I also remember reading Bishop Ken Price’s Convention address from October 2010. Click here. In it he said, “I am naming, effective January 1, the Rev. Dr. Jay Geisler as a Canon for Formation. As you know, Jay already has a relationship with Trinity and Pittsburgh seminaries, and so it is my hope he can utilize some of the students in those institutions to help us reclaim, rebuild, renew and recreate congregations, so we can reach more people for Jesus Christ”. It is clear that the Canon for Formation is being charged with “reclaiming congregations" -- and what congregations would they be, pray tell? I don’t think they are reclaiming Methodist Churches. It can only be Anglican congregations and I guess the bishop also doesn't believe we are reaching our people for Jesus Christ either. So much for negotiating in good faith.

This past February the TEC-Pgh Diocese issued a Pastoral Direction by Bishop Price and Guidelines for Property Settlements. Click here. The Episcopal Café blog in commenting on this wrote, Click here “The Diocese will determine how to best minister to any members of the [Anglican] congregation who wish to remain Episcopalian. The Diocese is committed to allocating financial and personnel resources to address those needs. Bishop Price has recently appointed the Rev. Canon Dr. Jay Geisler, Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Brentwood, to also serve as Canon for Formation to oversee efforts to reach out to those [in Anglican churches] currently not being served by an Episcopal ministry”. They not only want our buildings, they want our people too. This is called negotiating in good faith.”

How then will they pastor these “reclaimed parishes”? The Canon for Formation to the rescue! From his bio on the TEC-Pgh Diocese website: Click here “Canon Geisler continues to mentor the next generation of Christian religious leaders and provides Pastoral Counseling to seminarians at the evangelical Trinity School for Ministry in the former steel town of Ambridge, Pennsylvania. In addition, he is supervising the renewal of and reopening of Episcopal parishes”. I've been told the Canon makes weekly forays to Trinity School for Ministry and under the guise of Pastoral Counseling has been recruiting unsponsored seminarians; promising them guaranteed ordination upon graduation and paid positions in Pittsburgh as well as financial aid while in seminary. I know of one Pittsburgh seminarian who has returned to TEC-Pgh for financial need reasons and two seminarians, one from Tennessee and one from Southwest Florida, who have entered or are poised to enter the TEC-Pgh discernment process. Somehow, this doesn’t seem to suggest a good faith negotiation strategy.

A fellow Pittsburgh ACNA rector and like me a Trinity alum, thinks I might be overstating the case a bit. He thinks TEC-Pgh progressives will never allow TSM grads to populate and have the influence in their diocese again as they did in the 1980s forward to realignment. We shall see.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Dennis Canon Diocesan Issue, Presiding Bishop Says" - The Living Church 5/15/06

A trip down memory lane. The Living Church, May 15,2006. I never thought back then how good Pee Bee Frank Griswold would look today!

Virtually all legal disputes over the ownership of parish property are internal diocesan matters and there is nothing in the so-called Dennis Canon that prevents a diocesan bishop from reaching an amicable settlement with a congregation that wants to leave the Episcopal Church and retain its building, according to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, who led separate question-and-answer forums for clergy and laity in the Diocese of Western Louisiana May 11 at St. James’ Church, Alexandria.

“Basically he said it was up to the individual diocese,” said the Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, Bishop of Western Louisiana. “It [the Dennis Canon] provides room for the bishop, standing committee and the local congregations to decide what they think is best. It leaves room for conversation.”

Read it all

Thursday, August 18, 2011

“We Don’t Want To Be Cruel”

As you may have noticed, lately I have been posting more blog entries about the property issues between the TEC-Pgh Diocese and our Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. Given what has transpired so far, I don’t have a lot of hope for an amicable resolution between us. As I have been thinking about all this, I recalled the following quote from TEC-Pgh bishop Ken Price posted by The Living Church magazine on- line. “We have some principles to uphold, but we don’t want to be cruel,” said the Rt. Rev. Kenneth L. Price Jr., Bishop of Pittsburgh, in an interview with The Living Church. Price said the diocese consulted with David Booth Beers, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s chancellor, throughout the negotiations. For complete article, click here

Let me parse this dichotomous statement from the bishop. The first word is “We” and just who, pray tell is “We”? Is the bishop speaking for himself and the entire TEC-Pgh Diocese or is he talking for himself and the TEC-Pgh Legal Team or is he including David Booth Beers, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s chancellor and the Pee Bee herself in the “We” as well? Methinks, given the context of the whole paragraph, Price is including KJS and Beers in his statement.

Second, what are the “some principles to uphold”? These can be found in two places. First, are in the statements released by the TEC-Pgh Diocese this past February, “Pastoral Direction For Parishes Seeking To Resolve Property Issues With The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh” Click here and “Property Settlements Guidelines.” Click here and from the 815 perspective, we have KJS’s interview with Ann Rodgers during her Holy Week visit to Pittsburgh posted on her Faithburgh blog. Click here.

Both the TEC-Pgh Pastoral Direction and the Guidelines include “disaffiliation”and the “value of all property and assets”. KJS on the other hand has been quoted as saying that, “She does have two principles that she would like to see followed. ‘Our task is to see that the value of those gifts [to the Episcopal Church] not be inappropriately disposed of. We have to recover some approximation of fair market value for properties,’ she said. The second principle ’is that we shouldn't be in the business of setting up competing ecclesiastical interests with Episcopal Church resources’."

KJS seems to be saying that these two principles are not hard and fast rules but two things she would like to see upheld but may or may not be insisted upon. “Wishes” if you will. A good question might be, “Is Ken Price operating under the mantra, ‘Your wish is my command?’ Who knows? He is if nothing else(and well intentioned or not) the commensurate institutionalist

KJS also claims that she is not instructing the TEC-Pghers on how to conduct the negotiations, Ann Rodgers reports, “Judging by some of the e-mail I get, many members of the Anglican diocese believe that she is orchestrating the legal battle, and running the negotiations from New York. That's not true, she said. "It's not being run from New York. I would remind you that this legal business happened before Bob Duncan and some others decided to leave the Episcopal Church. It was led by Episcopalians in this diocese. The wider church wasn't part of it at that point. We didn't join it until later." Those negotiations are directed by Pittsburghers, and an agreement reached in civil court "is governing the way the negotiations are happening in this diocese," she said”. She is slick as snot! I don't believe, even for a New York minute, a word she says!

The second half of Price’s quote is, “but we don’t want to be cruel,” What does that mean? He seems to be saying the ‘some principles” will be upheld even if their application is interpreted as cruel ---even though this is not our intention. Or perhaps, ‘we don’t want to be cruel but we will if we have to be in order to get what we want.’ Again, who knows?

So if we are to predict how these negotiations will go, at least for the 23 parishes whose deeds are now held by the TEC-Pgh Board of Trustees, we have the St Philip’s settlement and a recent communication to another parish and both insist on disaffiliation and fair market value and the statements mentioned above. As I said, I am not holding out much hope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wall St. Journal- Religion & the Cult of Tolerance

Dr Jim Simons a TEC-Pgh clergyman and member of the TEC diocese litigation team posted this story from the Wall Street Journal on his blog 3 Rivers Episcopal earlier today. Very interesting reading. The two money quotes in the article are these: "These are not cases of people trying to impose their beliefs on the rest of us. Instead they involve the question whether faith communities are free to live their own beliefs in their own institutions. Somehow the more “tolerant” we become, the more difficult that becomes". And, "So much for live and let live".

Perhaps TEC presiding bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori who filed a amicus brief in the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case,and Dr. Simons might want to study how tolerance applies in the current property litigation and negotiations they are poised to conduct -- just a thought

For complete article click here: The Wall Street Journal- Religion and the Cult of Tolerance

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In the Buffalo area, an Anglican church assumes central role in new diocese

Following is an encouraging story about St Bart's Tonawanda NY. In 2008 when they first left TEC, see story here our diocese gave their clergy, Art Ward and John Commins refuge. Art and John attended our convention in 2009.

By Jay Tokasz

When members of St. Bartholomew’s Church in the Town of Tonawanda decided in 2008 to leave the Episcopal Church, they didn’t know for sure where they fit in the larger structure of Anglicanism.

Less than three years later, the parish has become a pivotal congregation within the Anglican Church in North America, a rival to the Episcopal Church that grew from a rift between theological conservatives and liberal Episcopalians over Bible interpretation and the ordination of a gay bishop.

This week, the congregation served as host for a conference of the International Diocese, the new diocese to which it belongs as part of the Anglican Church in North America.

Friday, Bishop Bill Atwood dedicated St. Bartholomew as the diocese’s pro-cathedral, giving the church special significance as the site of the bishop’s chair.

Atwood cited the church’s role as a stabilizing force in organizing the new diocese, which includes congregations in Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, as well as New York State.

“The people here are magnificent,” Atwood said. “It’s a resource place with great people.”

Unlike most dioceses in the Anglican Church, the International Diocese is not regional.

“It’s not geographical by definition, but it’s based on a shared mission value,” said Atwood.

Congregations within the International Diocese have strong connections overseas, which they expect to maintain and enhance.

When the congregation left the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, for example, the Rev. Arthur W. Ward Jr., its longtime rector, was able to remain an active priest by transferring to the Diocese of Argentina.

The Argentina diocese is part of the province of the Southern Cone in the Worldwide Anglican Communion — a province that was sympathetic to churches in the United States that disagreed with the 2003 consecration of an openly gay bishop.

Provinces in Africa also provided temporary ecclesiastical homes for American priests and congregations that disputed the consecration.

Those provinces “offered us more than a lifeboat,” said Atwood. “They offered us life.”

Western churches, he added, can learn from the impact that those Anglican churches have had on the cultures of their countries, he added.

For more than 50 years, the St. Bartholomew congregation had worshipped in a sanctuary at 1064 Brighton Road, becoming the largest single parish in the Episcopal Diocese.

After the split with the diocese, members left their church behind and purchased a former synagogue at 2368 Eggert Road.

The move “energized the parish,” Ward said. “We got stronger as a result, not weaker.”

The Episcopal Diocese attempted to establish a new parish in the Brighton Road site. But when that failed, the diocesan offices were moved there from their longtime location on Delaware Avenue.

“It’s ironic,” Ward said, “but it’s nice that our old place was a blessing to the diocese that they were able to make it their headquarters.”

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance: Follow up to "Something Has Changed Along the Way? part 2"

Apparently my recent blog entry “Has Something Changed Along theWay? Part 2” has generated some buzz in the TEC diocese. Click here. And read the comments. Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh member and blogger Lionel Deimel has devoted an entire posting on his blog to it, “David Wilson Complains, Warns”. Click here. Make sure to read the comments.

Two of the conservative clergy of the TEC emailed me off-blog and expressed private opinions and another clergyman requested we have lunch together – which we did. All very interesting. I also heard that there is some disquietude over the strategy TEC is directing toward our parishes. There is no deep unity in the TEC diocese, especially among the conservatives, to conduct a “scorched earth” or winner-take-all strategy. The difficulty is that the gracious engagers are so few within the power structures --- that is, those driving the bus, that their gracious voice is either ignored or drowned out. Even among the famous “gang of twelve” conservatives who posit they are committed to reform of TEC, there are a number who have enthusiastically embraced the 815 winner-take-all strategy.

Some of the buzz being generated among the TEC-Pgh conservatives could be the result of a term used in psychology, Cognitive Dissonance, which is defined as “A condition of conflict or anxiety resulting from inconsistency between one's beliefs and one's actions, such as opposing the slaughter of animals and eating meat". Read more For example, in this case, believing it is right to remain in the Episcopal Church and also not opposing its draconian policies. Certainly as ACNA clergyman Ethan Magness points out that among humans there often is a conflict between grace and justice. Click here. See Comment One

The election of the Rev. Leslie Riemer, the progressive candidate and the defeat of the Rev. Jim Shoucair, the conservative candidate, for the Standing Committee clergy slot in last year’s diocesan election should give the TEC-Pgh conservatives pause. It doesn’t seem to bode well these days for being a conservative and remaining in TEC-Pgh and having any real voice. The real test, of course, will be the election of the next TEC bishop in Pittsburgh. That is why many of the progressives in TEC-Pgh will support the election of a candidate from outside their diocese. They want to make sure that a conservative who is gracious,largely respected, personally affable, and well spoken (and formerly supportive or even tolerable of former bishop, Bob Duncan) and from within the diocese has no chance being elected

At one time, and not too long ago, Western Massachusetts, Bethlehem, NW Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Lexington, Fond Du Lac, Milwaukee, Eau Claire, Western Missouri, Western Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Western Louisiana, Florida, Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida, Central Gulf Coast, Montana, Wyoming, Rio Grande, Colorado, Arizona and San Diego were all fairly conservative dioceses. Guess what! Not no mo. It looks like TEC-Pittsburgh is soon to join this club.

I think the dilemma in which the TEC-Pgh conservatives find themselves these days can perhaps be summed up in a quote often attributed to Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" (or words to that effect). Jesus rebuked the church at Laodicea for doing nothing. "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked". (Rev.3: 15-17) Sorry, TEC-Pgh conservatives -- You can't have it both ways.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ground Rules

Until now I have not insisted on any ground rules for posting on this blog. This blog has been one of the few places in which both ACNA and TEC Pittsburghers have been able to interact both thoughtfully and publicly across the great divide. I hope that continues.

I also realize that not everyone is going to like my opinions and my musings about the current state of affairs. That was the case, and perhaps even more so, prior to the diocese re-aligning. I was a partisan then and I still am. So be it.

In spite of differing and sometimes strong opinions those posting comments have, for the most part, done so with civility and respect. My recent post titled, “Has Something Changed Along the Way? - part 2” generated over 25 responses. One response however was crude, rude and lewd. The poster, as is usually the case in these matters, hid behind a fictitious moniker -- Simon Student. This moniker was also the real moniker of an administrator at Trinity School for Ministry and had been used legitimately for interaction in on-line class discussions but in this case the name Simon Student had been hijacked and used by this anonymous poster. We discovered this deception through Facebook. The administrator has de-friended all those who had access to the Simon Student Facebook account, reported the deception to the Facebook administrators and also has informed the Trinity leadership of this deception.

All this is to say that from now on all comments must be posted with first name and surname and I will delete all anonymous or crude, rude and lewd comments immediately upon discovery.

Thanks to all of you for your understanding and support in this.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Why I Believe in Uganda Christian University

A wonderful article from The Living Church mag concerning UCU which my wife and I visited while on a sabbatical in July 2005. My seminary advisor Dr. Stephen Noll and wife Peggy helped make the "miracle" of UCU a reality. I love their vision statement: "A Centre of Excellence in the Heart of Africa"

Why I Believe in Uganda Christian University
by Sam Young Garrett, posted online July 29, 2011

For more than a decade the Dallas-based Uganda Christian University Partners has supported the church-founded university near Uganda’s capital city of Kampala. I have served on the board of Uganda Partners for two years because I believe in UCU’s vision. Here are some of the milestones of UCU’s growth in ministry to Ugandan students, both Christians and non-Christians.

UCU’s enrollment recently topped 10,000, marking extraordinary growth since 1997, when the Church of Uganda founded the university with 120 students. Now UCU is rapidly filling its 80-acre main campus on a breezy, palm-dotted hillside.

Read it all

Friday, August 5, 2011

In Thanksgiving for Charles Simeon and other thoughts

My friend Philip Wainwright a fellow evangelical and TEC loyalist has written a very cogent response to my recent posting "Has Something Changed Along the Way? - Part 2" It sheds some light on the almost defeaning silence from conservatives to the revisionist rot affecting TEC. check it out. (comment 14)

In deference to Philip's position please read the following piece on one of my heroes in the faith, Charles Simeon, from the Anglican Library:

Charles Simeon was born on September 24, 1759. He attended school at Eton and enrolled at King's College, Cambridge, in 1779. Although baptized as an infant, his family was not particularly religious and neither was Charles, until an experience during his first few months at university.

All Cambridge students were required to receive communion at least three times each year during their time in university. After arriving at Cambridge, in January, and learning of this requirement, Simeon wrote in his diary:

Read it all

Monday, August 1, 2011


by Garrison Keillor

I have made fun of Lutherans for years - who wouldn't, if you ever lived in Minnesota ? But I have also sung with Lutherans, and that is one of the main joys of life, along with hot baths and fresh sweet corn.

We make fun of Lutherans for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese. But nobody sings like they do..

If you ask an audience in New York City , a relatively Lutheran-less place, to sing along on the chorus of 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore', they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among Lutherans they'll smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! And down the road!

Lutherans are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony. It's a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that person's rib cage. It's natural for Lutherans to sing in harmony. We're too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you're singing in the key of C and you slide into the 7th and D7th chords, all two hundred of you, it's an emotionally fulfilling moment.

I once sang the bass line of Children of the Heavenly Father in a room with about three thousand Lutherans in it; and when we finished, we all had tears in our eyes, partly from the promise that God will not forsake us, partly from the proximity of all those lovely voices. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other.

I do believe this: These Lutherans are the sort of people you could call up when you're in deep distress. If you're dying, they'll comfort you. If you're lonely, they'll talk to you. And if you're hungry, they'll give you tuna salad!

The following list was compiled by a 20th century Lutheran who,
observing other Lutherans, wrote down exactly what he saw or heard:

1. Lutherans believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.

2. Lutherans like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.

3. Lutherans believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don't notify them that they are there.

4. Lutherans usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.

5. Lutherans believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.

6. Lutherans feel that applauding for their children's choirs would make the kids too proud and conceited.

7. Lutherans think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle while passing the peace.

8. Lutherans drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament..

9. Some Lutherans still believe that an ELCA bride and an LC-MS groom make for a mixed marriage. (For those of you who are not Lutherans, ELCA is Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and LC-MS is Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, two different divisions of the same Protestant religion. And when and where I grew up in Minnesota , intermarriage between the two was about as popular as Lutherans and Catholics marrying.)

10.. Lutherans feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.

11. Lutherans are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.

12. Lutherans think that Garrison Keillor stories are totally factual.

13. Lutherans still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and think that peas in a tuna noodle casserole add a little too much color.

14. Lutherans believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously. And finally, you know you're a Lutheran when:

*It's 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the service;

*You hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can;

*Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee;

*The communion cabinet is open to all, but the coffee cabinet is locked up tight;

*When you watch a 'Star Wars' movie and they say, 'May the Force be with you', you respond, 'and also with you';

*And, lastly, it takes 15 minutes to say, 'Good-bye'.

May you wake each day with His blessings,

Sleep each night in His keeping,

And always walk in His tender care.