Chopping that Anglican timeline

The resolution from the 1979 Episcopal General Convention in Denver inspired a small wave of headlines, even though it simply restated centuries of doctrine about marriage."We reaffirm the traditional teaching of the Church on marriage, marital fidelity and sexual chastity as the standard of Christian sexual morality," it said. "Candidates for ordination are expected to conform to this standard."However, 21 bishops disagreed, publicly stating that gay sexual relationships were "no less a … [Read more...]

Religion futures market 2007

When it comes to statistics about religion, Europe is an urbane continent full of empty cathedrals, while America offers rows of suburban megachurches.Consider what happens when the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life asks a basic "salience question" to determine the level of interest in faith-related matters around the world. Participants are asked to answer "yes" or "no" in response to this statement: "Religion is very important to me."About six out of 10 in the United States say "yes," … [Read more...]

Episcopal chair fights

True connoisseurs of ecclesiastical humor can answer this question: "How many Episcopalians does it take to change a light bulb?"The most popular answers sound something like this: "Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to start a newsletter about the irreplaceability of the original bulb."Episcopalians do love their traditions, a trait that they share with everyone else in the Anglican Communion. Nevertheless, the reason the world's 77 million Anglicans fight so much is that many cherish some … [Read more...]

That Episcopal status quo

When it comes to same-sex unions, the Episcopal Church has been using a kind of "don't ask, don't tell" policy.The church's General Convention has never authorized an official rite to bless homosexual relationships. Bishops have, however, been allowed to approve blessings at the local level or simply look the other way. The national church didn't ask and local bishops didn't have to tell. The big question is whether this tactic will work after the latest meeting of the world's Anglican primates, … [Read more...]

Pentecostal power 2006

Church historian Vinson Synan has made 20 trips to Latin America while studying the explosive growth of Pentecostal Christianity and he believes that it's time to state the obvious."We've reached the point where you're not going to be able to get along very well with many believers in the Third World unless you embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit," said Synan, who teaches at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. "You just can't have a closed mind when it comes to healing and prophecy and … [Read more...]

A word from Canterbury, finally

Thousands of Episcopalians believe the Sacrament of Marriage should be modernized to include same-sex unions.Thousands of others across America disagree.Many regional dioceses have become battlegrounds, with liberal parishes clashing with conservative parishes. At the national level, some bishops have tried, with little success, to convince their church hierarchy to repent after its 2003 consecration of the openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. This war has rocked the … [Read more...]

Communion in the Anglican Communion?

The words change from continent to continent, but the world's 77 million Anglicans have always found unity around altars containing bread and wine.In Ireland's new Book of Common Prayer, the modern rite proclaims: "Father, with this bread and this cup we do as Christ your Son commanded: we remember his passion and death, we celebrate his resurrection and ascension, and we look for the coming of his kingdom."Accept through him, our great high priest, this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; … [Read more...]

United Methodists do the math

From coast to coast, United Methodists are doing the math.America's third-largest flock just survived another quadrennial General Conference rocked by media-friendly fighting over sex. Now it's time to dissect the numbers.Delegates voted 570-334 to affirm the historic doctrines of the Christian faith.Efforts to back laws defining "marriage as the union of one man and one woman" passed on a 624-184 vote. Same-sex union rites fell -- 756-159. Should the church delete its "faithfulness in marriage … [Read more...]