By A.C. Weimer
The Obama family is still looking for a church home. Last week Time magazine reported that the First family had decided to join Evergreen Chapel at Camp David rather than settling on a local church community such as 19th Street Baptist or St. John's Episcopal (both of which Obama has visited). However, the White House released a statement saying that the Obamas "continue to look for a church home." Obama's primary spiritual counsel will most likely not come primarily from the pastor of the church he attends on Sundays, but from the group of high-profile pastors he already calls for prayer and support, including Kirbyjon Caldwell, T.D. Jakes, Otis Moss Jr., Joel Hunter, and Vashti McKenzie.
Also an eclectic group, the Freedom Federation launched on Tuesday. This coalition of twenty-four white, black and Hispanic Christian groups hopes to move beyond partisan rhetoric and party lines and strategize to promote shared causes such as sanctity of life and marriage, and religious freedom. Member groups include the American Family Association, Catholic Online, the High Impact Leadership Coalition (led by African American Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr.), the Family Research Council, the Liberty Counsel (lawyers who take on religious freedom cases), the American Association of Christian Counselors, and Concerned Women for America. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, also involved, hopes the Freedom Federation will work to replace the "stereotypical media--exacerbated image of the angry white evangelical" with "an evangelical movement that will reconcile uncompromised core values of compassion - truth with mercy and righteousness with justice."
The Anglican Church in North America ordained its first archbishop, the Rt. Rev. Robert W. Duncan, last week, marking the formation of an American province of the Anglican church. The 700 congregations of the ACNA are mostly formerly Episcopal churches who withdrew in order to submit to more conservative international bishops. Duncan was the Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh. Leaders of other Christian denominations, including Orthodox and Catholic bodies and the National Association of Evangelicals, came forward to recognize the new group. The head of the Orthodox Church in America expressed optimism that the formation of the ACNA may unfreeze ecumenical dialogue hindered by Episcopal embrace of gay and female ordination. Some ACNA groups do ordain women. The ACNA awaits formal acceptance from the worldwide Anglican Communion, which requires a two-thirds vote from the leaders of each national Anglican church and may take several years.