Thursday, January 22, 2009

What National Prayer Service?

"On behalf of the Washington National Cathedral I would like to welcome you to this National Prayer Service. It is a special privilege to welcome President and Mrs. Obama, Vice President and Mrs. Biden, and many of the leaders of our government.

What I should really say to you is, “Welcome to YOUR Cathedral.” This Cathedral was built to be a spiritual home for the nation, and the service today is a clear embodiment of the kind of devoted service we seek to offer our country.

Forty years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached his last Sunday sermon from the Canterbury pulpit of this Cathedral before going to Memphis, where he was assassinated. It is no small thing to welcome to this Cathedral not only our distinguished and gifted new president, but our first African American president. It is an honor and joy to be able to celebrate such a rhyming of important moments in our nation’s life.

Today marks the new administration’s first day on the job. We all know they have their work cut out for them. The best thing we can imagine doing is to pray with and for them. And so we come together as people of many different faiths and perspectives to pray for guidance and strength for the work ahead.

In Dr. King’s sermon he said, “Human progress comes through the tireless efforts ... of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God.”

This morning we are all co-workers, all of us here to pray with and for our leaders, and all of us here to dedicate ourselves to support them in the vital work ahead.

Once again, welcome."

The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III

The newly-inaugurated President and Vice President of the United States joined with dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths to celebrate the inauguration through prayer, readings, and musical performances. Reverend Dr. Sharon Watkins was the first woman to deliver the sermon at this traditional Inaugural event. Another of many "firsts" in this new era of American history and profound, positive change.

I don't think the service was broadcast on any of the many channels but here is a presentation that would have beaten them all anyway, an on-demand showing of the entire service thanks to the Washington National Cathedral website.

Here are a few glimpses of what transpired, and then go and see the service yourself.

You can also download and print out the service leaflet and follow the service even more closely. Also available is the sermon text delivered by the first woman minister EVER to preach at an inaugural prayer service...God Almighty, I love progress and the equal treatment of ordained women in this nation's history, but I love also the grace given to this man we have elected to lead our nation forward and out of the darkness, and the torture and the strictures of fundamentalism into a more inclusive society and one where we can be proud to be Americans again. Amen.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Britain's first woman bishop takes office this weekend

Now that is news but of the Lutheran variety, and yet I say "Rejoice!"

History will be made this weekend as the first female bishop to serve in a British church takes office.

However the Church of England continues to argue about how and when women should be introduced to the episcopate, while the Roman Catholic Church maintains that only men can serve as priests.

So it has been left to the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, which has just a few thousand worshippers, to become the first to take the radical step.

The Rev Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, whose parents were Latvian refugees but who was born in England, will be consecrated as the church's first female bishop on Saturday at a ceremony in the City of London.

She will take over from the Rt Rev Walter Jagucki as the head of the Lutheran Church in Great Britain, one of 10 Lutheran groups based in the country, and the service will be witnessed by fellow worshippers from around the world.

Do read the rest of Martin Beckford's article in the Telegraph.

Someone had to get the ball rolling and thanks be to God the Lutherans are not shy about getting down to business and dealing with equality in the Church. What part of "co-heirs in Christ" doesn't the Church of England understand. The Queen can be the official Head of the Church but women can't be bishops? Reality check required.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ELO: Purpose-driven pastor makes himself a pain in the....

[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of southern California-based Saddleback Church and a leading conservative evangelical, has reportedly told a number of Anglican leaders that he is willing to aid dissident Episcopalians in southern California.

"We stand in solidarity with them, and with all orthodox, evangelical Anglicans. I offer the campus of Saddleback Church to any Anglican congregation who need a place to meet, or if you want to plant a new congregation in south Orange County," Warren reportedly wrote recently in a letter.

Kristin Cole, an account executive with A. Larry Ross Communications which is based in Dallas, Texas, and handles public relations for Saddleback Church, told ENS that Warren sent the letter to "30 top Anglican leaders" including many in the global south. The letter was intended to be private, Cole said, and declined to release a copy of the letter and a list of its recipients.

Edited excerpts from the letter were made public by Timothy Morgan, deputy managing editor of Christianity Today. Cole said Warren gave a copy of the letter to Morgan because the editor had accompanied him on trips to Africa, reported on those trips for Christianity Today and helps edit a blog that Warren's wife, Kay, writes for the magazine's website.

In the edited excerpts, Warren referred to a recent landmark California court ruling that the buildings and other property of St. James Church in Newport Beach are held in trust for the Diocese of Los Angeles and the entire Episcopal Church and thus do not belong to the St. James members who left the Episcopal Church.

Read the rest of the article here. Not only do we have to contend with bishops from other countries--not to mention those who like to pretend to be bishops at home-- but those who interfer with the Church and its people but now we have an un-Christlike pastor [supposedly a pastor though I have my own theories about that] aiding and abetting the schisists who pretend to be more spiritual and knowing than anyone else. Makes me sick, to be honest with you. Thankfully he will reap what he sows and I don't want to be around when that happens, because it won't be pretty. Thankfully the true Church can take whatever he and his "followers" can shout at it because when all is said and done, we will overcome.

Awesome about Bishop Gene leading the invocation at the kickoff event on the 18th. Regardless of why he was asked, it will be good to see an ordained, gay bishop from my church leading the prayer for all people in this nation.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

ENGLAND: Women bishops draft legislation

ENGLAND: Women bishops draft legislation published; measure to be debated at February synod.

[Church of England] The General Synod will have its first opportunity to consider draft legislation enabling women to become bishops in the Church of England in February, having given an in-principle agreement to the shape of the legislative package last July. The Legislative Drafting Group on Women in the Episcopate, chaired by Bishop Nigel McCulloch of the Diocese of Manchester, on December 29 published its further report and drafts of a measure and associated amending canon.

Full story here.

Here is the briefing that occurred in July of 2008 after the Synod's vote:

Q&A: Vote over women bishops

The divisive issue of the conditions under which women should be consecrated as bishops has been voted on by the Church of England's ruling body, the General Synod.

The Synod backed a motion calling for a national code of practice to accommodate parishes that cannot accept women bishops, but rejected safeguards demanded by traditionalists.

What was the vote on women bishops by the Synod in York about?

The Church's ruling body, the Synod, had already agreed in principle to ordain women as bishops, but the vote confirmed that and was also about the conditions under which they could be consecrated.

Kay Goldsworthy (L) and the Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, at the consecration service for her ordination as Australia's first Anglican bishop
Opinion remains divided on the merits of women bishops

Synod members considered what concessions should be made to opponents of women bishops and if, for example, opponents should be allowed to opt to remain under the ministry of male bishops.

Those against concessions say this would have made women who were ordained "second-rate bishops".

They argue that since any decision would have to be ratified by Parliament, such concessions would be rejected as discriminatory.

Traditionalists, who say their religious consciences will not allow them to serve under women bishops, fear a man ordained by a woman may not be properly ordained.

You can read the rest of the Q & A here.