Robinson's consecration added to extreme turmoil within the ECUSA & a large rift between the ECUSA & the rest of the international Anglican Communion (AC). This year Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams, speaking for the AC, asked the ECUSA to refrain from any further bishopric consecrations involving homosexuals, to refrain from regularizing formal same sex union blessing services, & to restrain members from other actions that would further widen the gulf. Additionally, the ECUSA was given until September 30 to extend a formal apology to the AC & a public affirmation of the restrictions. The current ECUSA presiding bishop, Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, supported Robinson's consecration & has indicated the ECUSA will choose not to comply with the AU requests.
Dr. D. James Kennedy (76), founder & senior pastor of the 10,000 member Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, has retired, according to an announcement during the church service this last Sunday (August 26). Kennedy's daughter, Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy, who made the announcement, added that the long-range planning committee of the church, along with the church's governing body or "session," have been developing the steps necessary to ensure the future health & growth of the church.
Kennedy developed a unique scripted evangelism program called Evangelism Explosion in 1962 that has since equipped many millions of lay Christians to share the gospel in a relational, conversational way. EEI conducts training & mission programs throughout the United States & around the world, especially in cooperation with local churches of many denominations &/or affiliations. EEI publications & multi-media products are used nationally & internationally as well.
Knox Theological Seminary was founded by Dr. Kennedy 1989 to prepare & equip Christians for ministry. The Reformed seminary is adjacent to CRPC, serves students from a variety of evangelical backgrounds, & limits its M.Div. & D.Min. programs to men only. All regular faculty are Reformed in their theology. KTS is dedicated to equiping Christians to fullfill the Great Commission & the evangelical Cultural Mandate. Westminster Academy also shares the Coral Ridge Campus & provides a Reformed Christian education from preschool through high school with nearly 1000 students.
Born in 1931 in Georgia, Kennedy lived for a time in Illinois before moving to Florida with his parents as a teenager. He has been in Florida ever since, married to his wife, Ann, & with one married daughter, Jennifer. Kennedy became a Christian shortly after hearing a radio preacher in 1953 who asked his audience, "Suppose you were to die today and stand before God, and He were to ask you, ‘What right do you have to enter into My heaven?’—what would you say?”
Holmes County, FLsheriff's deputy Joe Galloway (61) was killed Monday in a single car accident that occured when he lost control of his patrol car, hit a tree, & overturned about 7 PM in pursuit of a speeding motorist just after they crossed the line into Alabama near Geneva, AL. The speeder was not caught.
Galloway's son, Keith Galloway, is on the Geneva police force & his nephew, Lonny Lee Lindsey, was a Holmes County deputy who was killed in the line of duty in 1996. Galloway is survived by his wife, Pat, & two children.
"He was doing what he loved to do," said Holmes County Sheriff Dennis Lee. "He was protecting his neighborhood."
"Gun!" is one of the most dreaded words a law enforcement officer can hear over the radio & it was the word that summoned aid to a Broward County FL Sheriff's Deputy who was shot in the head Monday after what he thought was goiing to be an uneventful traffic stop.
Deputy Maury Hernandez (28), a five-year veteran, remains in critical condition on a ventilator at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, FL. Sheriff Ken Jenne described his injury during a press conference as "catastrophic." Jenne added, "The next couple of days we're going to have to say a lot of prayers for him."
Shooting suspect David Maldonado (23) is being held without bail at the Broward County jail on charges of attempted first-degree murder & violation of probation. At the Tuesday press conference, Jenne said Maldonado told them he shot Hernandez because he feared being returned to jail & would therefore miss the birth of his expected child.
Deputy Hernandez was in plainclothes & an unmarked cruiser eastbound on Pembroke Road enroute to an assignment when he saw Maldonado, on a motorcycle, blow several red lights & then U-turn into a motorcycle shop. The stop occurred at 11:46 AM Monday. Maldonado has a lengthy arrest & conviction record. He was caught several blocks from the scene attempting to hijack a SUV. His Glock was found at a warehouse along the way.
Churches in Midland, TX, home town of US President George W. Bush, & unregistered house churches in China have covenanted together to pray for the success of the upcoming Internal Olympics to be held in Beijing in 2008. China Aid President Rev. Bob Fu issued a proposal to Chinese Christians & supporters worldwide to pray for the success of the event. The Chinese House Church Alliance & churches from Midland joined in supporting Rev. Fu's request.
"Knowing there will be the unavoidable persecution by potential Chinese officials, the Chinese House Church believers felt led to render intercessory prayers for more Global Love & Peace, via launching continual mass media prayer networks for the Olympics event, as a cornerstone of reinforcing a united & true patriotic spirit," said Rev. Fu. He continued, "We pray & believe in Faith that a successful & more harmonious Olympics in China can help stretch China toward far-sightedness responsibility & accountability, while rendering more worldwide humanitarian compassion in a freer & more freedom-embracing country."
The contentious dispute over liberal vs. traditional theology & practice continues within the international Anglican Communion (AC) over the issue of homosexuality in the American branch, the Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA), as the ECUSA bishop of Virginia removes from the priesthood 21 clergy formerly under his jurisdiction who have previously withdrawn from ECUSA oversight in protest of the ECUSA liberal stand on homosexuality.
The Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee, bishop of the ECUSA Diocese of Virginia, announced on Thursday that he would depose clergy who were barred in January ("inhibited") from performing priestly duties in the diocese. The 21 clergy have continued the full performance of their ministries in their congregations through association with the international AC.
"The announcement from the Diocese of Virginia is like an employer trying to fire someone who has already quit," commented Jim Oakes, vice chairman of the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV), an association of conservative Anglican congregations.
Fifteen church congregations voted in December to sever ties with the ECUSA over the denomination's consecration of an actively homosexual bishop in New Hampshire & the regularization of same-sex couple blessings. The current ECUSA presiding biship, The Most Reverent Katharine Jefferts Schori, has continued to affirm those actions & has led the ECUSA to reject the AC's request to refrain from further actions along those lines out of deference to the more conservative world wide Anglican dioceses & in recognition of the strong dissent within the ranks of the ECUSA on this & other issues.
The dispute is over more than theological issues & sacramental authority, since the ECUSA has filed suit against all breakaway congregations, clerics, & unpaid volunteer staff people for recovery of all assets & property of the dissenting parishes. "In spite of these continued acts of intimidation, ADV churches continue to move forward serving Christ by proclaiming His gospel, supporting & strengthening families, & serving communities at home & abroad," concluded Oakes.
The statement notes that many of the parishes & leaders in the ACN are no longer part of the ECUSA. Delegates voted to add to the federating Articles of the Common Cause Partners the following statement: "Nothing in the charter or bylaws shall be interpreted as requiring submission to the constitution of the Episcopal Church by affiliates of this Network who are not themselves members of the Episcopal Church."
More than 80 conservative Anglican representatives to the Bedford, TX conference expressed little hope that the ECUSA would "turn around" from its departure from historical Anglican history or current international Anglican communions. Most notably, the ECUSA consecrated an active homosexual as the bishop of New Hampshire & has regularized same sex marital union blessings. The current ECUSA presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, has repeatedly approved both actions & has vowed to lead the ECUSA in that same direction, regardless of international Anglican requests for a return to the more orthodox stances of the other international bodies.
The ACN is in the process of forming an Anglican body in the United States that is not under the authority of or submitted to the ECUSA. The international Anglican bodies have given the ECUSA until September 30 to unequivocally pledge not to consecrate another openly gay bishop or to authorize same sex blessings. The ECUSA has expressed its desire to remain part of the international communion, but is unwilling to make the necessary pledge.
At stake is not only the public stance of Anglicanism in the United States, but also huge legal & financial disputes over individual parish property & assets. The ACN is currently comprised of more than 900 parishes & 2,200 clergy.
Tammy Faye Bakker Messner ended her life as she began it, according to family & friends, sharing the gospel. Former husband Jim Bakker said, "Tammy Faye's deep faith in God has kept her throughout her life as well as during these last days of her life. In her last 48 hours, she shared her faith in Jesus Christ on worldwide television with millions of people. She is now in heaven with her mother & grandmother & Jesus Christ, the one who she loves & has served from childbirth. That is the comfort I can give to all who loved her."
Messner died on Saturday, July 21, after having appeared on the Larry King Live Show on Thursday night. According to host Larry King, "The family appreciates all of the well wishes of so many people. She died peacefully. Anyone who saw her on our show this week knew that she didn't have long." Messner had suffered from colon cancer since 1996. In May 2007, doctors said the cancer, which had spread to her lungs in 2004 & was moving through her body & vital organs, was untreatable & all treatment was stopped.
Messner was best known for her previous marriage to televangelist Jim Bakker & for their spectacular Praise the Lord & People that Love (PTL) ministries that were popular on television in the 1980s. In 1989 the ministry collapsed when her then husband of 30 years admitted to ongoing marital infidelity & was convicted of 24 counts of fraud for mishandling funds through the PTL ministry. Messner divorced Bakker while he was in prison serving 5 years on a 45 year prision sentence that had been reduced to 18. She then married a long-time family friend & ministry supporter, general contractor Roy Messner. She & Bakker had 2 children together.
After her divorce & remarriage, the collapse of the PTL ministry, & recovery from an addiction to prescription pain medication, Messner became well-known for her evangelism activites, especially among the homosexual spiritual community. While some criticised her frequent appearances in support of gay causes such as AIDS benefits, she said her main calling was to preach the gospel wherever she had the opportunity. She left judgment for homosexuality to God, she said.
Messner died at her family home near Kansas City, MO, was cremated, & buried almost immediately. A "life celebration" is being planned for later this summer near her home in Palm Springs, CA.
Although the official Chinese government position on religion is still oppressive, & atheism is the "faith" of choice, the rise of Christianity among young, affluent, well-educated Chinese is significant. According to professor Rober L. Moore, on a recent working visit to Beijing he "met a surprisingly large number of recently converted Chinese Christians." Moore is the director of the Rollins College (Winter Park, FL) China Center. After some investigation & interviwing, Moore concluded that many young Chinese are attracted to Christianity as they experience that wealth, a good career, family, & freedom are incomplete without a spiritual aspect as well. "The driving force behind these conversions is a sense of spiritual emptiness," he noted.
Moore quoted one young woman who works for China's government-owned television network. "So you get good grades. So what? Soyou can buy things, so what? So you have a good husband & a child, so what? Christianity offers something more in life, something of value. The people in the church are like a family to each other. They are also a source of comfort."
The government sanctioned churches are growing as well as the unofficial, "underground" churches. In China today, there are about 5 million members of the government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association & an estimated 8-10 million members are in the unofficial, underground Roman Catholic Church. Among Protestant churches, the government estimates 20 million in official churches & 30-40 million in unofficial, underground Protestant churches. Some staticians say the number of unregistered Christians is many times more, but verifiable statistics are difficult to generate.
Franklin Graham is also the founder & leader of the Samaritan's Purse international relief organization, that has provided aid to Ukraine for many years. "For years, Samaritan's Purse has used the Ukranian Antonov airplaine to transport hundreds of thousands of our Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts," Graham said. "Now I am here in your country, not because of the Antonov, but because of the Gospel -- the good news that you can have spiritual freedom found in Jesus Christ," he added. The Antonov is the largest cargo plane in the world.
Graham's next Festival is in Guayaquil, Ecuador August 23-25.
The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26