The Anglican Church in American (ACA), with some 100 dioceses and 5,200 members, swim the Tiber. The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America, Traditional Anglican Communion, announced Thursday:
We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion have met in Orlando, Florida, together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the “Anglican Use” Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.
At this meeting, the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
They are the first major U.S. exodus to join the 68,115,001 Catholic Church, U.S.
The ACA was formed from conservative breakaways from the Episcopal Church )United States), which is part of the nAnglican Communio that is headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The San Francisco Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church(USA) by a vote of 156 for and 138 voted Nov. 10 to ordain as a minister Lisa Larges. She is blind and a lesbian who has sought for more than 20 years to become a PC(USA) minister. The decision has been stayed and she cannot be ordained “until all legal hurdles are overcome [.pdf],” perhaps 18 months hence.
Leslie Scanlon of the Presbyterian Outlook wrote:
During a late-night meeting that Presbyterians followed coast-to-coast via Twitter, the presbytery voted 156-138 to allow Larges to be ordained. And it voted 157-144 to approve That All May Freely Serve, for which Larges serves as minister coordinator, as a validated ministry.
Mary Holder Naegeli, a minister from San Francisco Presbytery who has been involved with earlier legal challenges to Larges’ efforts to be ordained, released a statement to the news media on Nov. 11, saying that “enough signatures were collected at the close of the meeting to secure a Stay of Enforcement while a remedial complaint is filed with the Synod of the Pacific Permanent Judicial Commission.”
Naegeli’s statement also says that until that complaint is resolved in the church court system, Larges cannot be ordained.
The vote to permit Larges’ ordination is seen as groundbreaking in part because Larges has declared a “scruple,” or a conscientious objection, to the section of the PC(USA)’s Book of Order that limits ordination to those who practice chastity if they are single or fidelity if they are married.
The highest Presbyterian Church court, General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission, has not yet ruled on the central question of whether conscientious objections to the “fidelity and chastity” requirement should be permitted.
Here is her statement before the San Francisco Presbytery [.pdf] affirming the Essentials of Faith and Polity.
In a statement after the vote, Larges said:
Change is happening in the churches. People are realizing that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have long functioned as contributing members of their faith traditions. It is time to tell the truth – we are all created in God’s image.
Some blogs were unrestrained in their celebration (1, 2, 3). Others were more philosophical (1) and before the vote Pastor Bob explored church law in some detail. As he did, focusing on the “scruple” issue, afterward. Her scruple may be read in her Statement of Departure [.pdf].
Three California San Joaquin Valley area Presbyterian churches finalized their split from the 2.3-million member Presbyterian Church (USA) yesterday and are part of a steady trickle to the smaller, far more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
Read the entire story here.
Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham, turned Ft. Lauderdale’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church away from its hyper-political, right-wing activist heritage.
With predictable pushback. Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy — daughter of Tchividjian predecessor and culture warrior D. James Kennedy — and other unhappy parishioners tried to have Tchividjian removed.
They failed, the Miami Herald reported Sunday:
Tchividjian was named senior pastor of the Fort Lauderdale mega-church six months ago. He has come under scrutiny ever since he vowed to the set the church on a different path from that charted by his predecessor, D. James Kennedy, who built Coral Ridge into a religious and political powerhouse on a bedrock of Christian conservatism.
Church members cast ballots at a closed 11 a.m. meeting, and backed Tchividjian by a vote of 940-422, a margin of about 69 percent to 31 percent.
Tchividjian, 37, doesn’t preach politics.
Tchividjian is one of the new generation of spiritual leaders who are in step with the Pew Forum’s August 2008, survey, which found that 52 percent of Americans agreed that houses of worship should keep out of politics. He is succeeding. As we predicted.
The chief ecclesiastical administrator of the Presbyterian Church(USA) General Assembly has called for President Obama to create a nonpartisan commission of inquiry into the Bush administration’s post-9/11 use of torture.
. . . convene an investigative body with the independence, stature, and broad investigative powers of the September 11th Commission to inquire into whether any official or officer of the United States government bears direct or command responsibility for having ordered or participated in violations of law in the mistreatment of persons detained by the government of the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib Prison, or elsewhere or in transporting persons into detention in nations with known records of brutality and torture; to publish its findings and, if appropriate, to recommend the appointment of a special prosecutor if one has not been previously appointed.
Parsons argues the necessity of public accountability before God and man, writing:
If those responsible are not held accountable, there is nothing beyond wishful thinking and admonitions to compel future leaders to resist the temptation to torture in times of fear or threat.
His position is rooted in the fundamental Presbyterian precept that “The Church is called to be Christ’s faithful evangelist . . . engaging in the struggle to free people from sin, fear, oppression, hunger, and injustice” (Book of Order, G-3.0300c(3)(c)).
The Stated Clerk is elected for four years and it is among his responsibilities to interpret General Assembly’s actions, as he has here. More generally, he is “responsible for the Office of the General Assembly, which conducts the ecclesiastical work of the church.”
In keeping with its history of support of human rights, the PC(USA) is a member of the National Religious Coalition Against Torture, whose online site offers visitors the opportunity to join in the call for a commission of inquiry.