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Archive for 2008

Archive pour 2008

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Archbishop of Canterbury responds to GAFCON statement

 — June 30, 200830 juin 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury responds to GAFCON statement

[ACNS 4417 • Lambeth] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has responded to the final declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference with the following statement:

The Final Statement from the GAFCON meeting in Jordan and Jerusalem contains much that is positive and encouraging about the priorities of those who met for prayer and pilgrimage in the last week. The ‘tenets of orthodoxy’ spelled out in the document will be acceptable to and shared by the vast majority of Anglicans in every province, even if there may be differences of emphasis and perspective on some issues. I agree that the Communion needs to be united in its commitments on these matters, and I have no doubt that the Lambeth Conference will wish to affirm all these positive aspects of GAFCON’s deliberations. Despite the claims of some, the conviction of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Lord and God and the absolute imperative of evangelism are not in dispute in the common life of the Communion

However, GAFCON’s proposals for the way ahead are problematic in all sorts of ways, and I urge those who have outlined these to think very carefully about the risks entailed.

A ‘Primates’ Council’ which consists only of a self-selected group from among the Primates of the Communion will not pass the test of legitimacy for all in the Communion. And any claim to be free to operate across provincial boundaries is fraught with difficulties, both theological and practical — theological because of our historic commitments to mutual recognition of ministries in the Communion, practical because of the obvious strain of responsibly exercising episcopal or primatial authority across enormous geographical and cultural divides.

Two questions arise at once about what has been proposed. By what authority are Primates deemed acceptable or unacceptable members of any new primatial council? And how is effective discipline to be maintained in a situation of overlapping and competing jurisdictions?

No-one should for a moment impute selfish or malicious motives to those who have offered pastoral oversight to congregations in other provinces; these actions, however we judge them, arise from pastoral and spiritual concern. But one question has repeatedly been raised which is now becoming very serious: how is a bishop or primate in another continent able to discriminate effectively between a genuine crisis of pastoral relationship and theological integrity, and a situation where there are underlying non-theological motivations at work? We have seen instances of intervention in dioceses whose leadership is unquestionably orthodox simply because of local difficulties of a personal and administrative nature. We have also seen instances of clergy disciplined for scandalous behaviour in one jurisdiction accepted in another, apparently without due process. Some other Christian churches have unhappy experience of this problem and it needs to be addressed honestly.

It is not enough to dismiss the existing structures of the Communion. If they are not working effectively, the challenge is to renew them rather than to improvise solutions that may seem to be effective for some in the short term but will continue to create more problems than they solve. This challenge is one of the most significant focuses for the forthcoming Lambeth Conference. One of its major stated aims is to restore and deepen confidence in our Anglican identity. And this task will require all who care as deeply as the authors of the statement say they do about the future of Anglicanism to play their part.

The language of ‘colonialism’ has been freely used of existing patterns. No-one is likely to look back with complacency to the colonial legacy. But emerging from the legacy of colonialism must mean a new co-operation of equals, not a simple reversal of power. If those who speak for GAFCON are willing to share in a genuine renewal of all our patterns of reflection and decision-making in the Communion, they are welcome, especially in the shaping of an effective Covenant for our future together.

I believe that it is wrong to assume we are now so far apart that all those outside the GAFCON network are simply proclaiming another gospel. This is not the case; it is not the experience of millions of faithful and biblically focused Anglicans in every province. What is true is that, on all sides of our controversies, slogans, misrepresentations and caricatures abound. And they need to be challenged in the name of the respect and patience we owe to each other in Jesus Christ.

I have in the past quoted to some in the Communion who would call themselves radical the words of the Apostle in I Cor.11.33: ‘wait for one another’. I would say the same to those in whose name this statement has been issued. An impatience at all costs to clear the Lord’s field of the weeds that may appear among the shoots of true life (Matt.13.29) will put at risk our clarity and effectiveness in communicating just those evangelical and catholic truths which the GAFCON statement presents.

Resources:

• Canadian Primate responds to GAFCON statement
• Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA responds to GAFCON statement
• Final declaration of the Global Anglican Future Conference
… Read more » … lire la suite »

Posted: June 30, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=476
Categories: NewsIn this article: Anglican, Rowan Williams
Transmis : 30 juin 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=476
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Anglican, Rowan Williams

LWF Council receives ecumenical reports

 — July 1, 20081 juillet 2008

LWF Council receives ecumenical reports

• LWF Council Approves Preparation of a Lutheran Statement to Ask Forgiveness for Anabaptists Persecutions
• Council Actions Affirm Ecumenical Dialogues and Conversations

[Arusha, Tanzania • LWI] The Council of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) voted to provide for preparation of a statement that will, on behalf of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), ask for forgiveness for Lutheran persecutions of “Anabaptists,” in which many died as this violence was justified by appeal to the Lutheran Reformers’ theological statements.

Receiving recommendations from its Program Committee for Ecumenical Affairs, the Council also acknowledged with appreciation the communiqués from the Lutheran-Mennonite International Study Commission in 2007 and 2008, and commended the study commission for its thorough and important work. It encouraged the Commission to publish the final report of its work in 2009.

The committee, chaired by Prof. Joachim Track, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Germany, had discussed the outcome of the Lutheran-Mennonite study commission, and focusing on the 11th Assembly in July 2010, elaborated possible Assembly actions with regard to weighing the language of regret and asking for forgiveness.

The Council endorsed the committee’s recommendation that Rev. Dr Theodor Dieter, Institute for Ecumenical Research, Strasbourg, France; Rev. Dr Donald McCoid, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Archbishop Nemuel A. Babba, Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, prepare a draft of such a statement.

Lutheran – Roman Catholic Commission on Unity

Based on recommendations from the ecumenical affairs program committee on a fifth phase of the discussions on the Lutheran – Roman Catholic Commission on Unity, the LWF Council received with appreciation the report from the 2007 preparatory meeting, and noted it was looking forward “with hope” to the beginning of a fifth round of the Lutheran – Roman Catholic Commission on Unity.

The LWF governing body also approved the preparation of a “Text on the Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017”, and approved the theme of the Commission’s work, “Baptism and Growth in Communion.”

The Council approved the appointment of Lutheran members to the dialogue, taking into account gender and regional balances. They include co-chair Bishop Dr Eero Huovinen (Finland); Rev. Dr Wanda Deifelt (Brazil); Prof. Turid Karlsen Seim (Norway); Dr Fidon Mwombeki (Tanzania); Prof. Friedericke Nüssel; (Germany); Prof. Michael Root, USA; Prof. Hiroshi Augustin Suzuki, Japan; Rev. Dr Theodor Dieter as a consultant; and an additional woman from Eastern Europe.

Lutheran – Orthodox Relations

The Council received the Common Statement from the 2008 plenary of the Lutheran – Orthodox Joint Commission. It requested the General Secretary and the Office for Ecumenical Affairs to identify one or two additional members for the Commission in order to allow academic specialties necessary for its examination of ministry to be present on the Commission, and to strengthen its gender and regional balance.

The Council also received with appreciation the report from the 2008 conversations with the Oriental Orthodox churches.

Lutheran – Anglican

The Council received the 2007 and 2008 communiqués from the Anglican-Lutheran International Commission.

It also received the communiqué from the 2007 All Africa Anglican-Lutheran Commission (AAALC), and affirmed it would support efforts toward the goal of a full communion relationship among LWF members and those belonging to the Anglican Communion in Africa.

Lutheran – Reformed

The LWF Council received the communiqué from the Lutheran-Reformed Joint Commission 2007 with appreciation. It affirmed the continuation of the common efforts of cooperation between the LWF and its Reformed partners during the time of transition to the World Communion of Reformed Churches, which will unite the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council.

International Lutheran Council

The Council received for information the communiqué from the 2008 contact meeting between the LWF and International Lutheran Council (ILC). It expressed appreciation for the continued consultative process between both global Lutheran bodies.

It affirmed the importance of the communication between the two Lutheran families on issues that are important to both of them and to their respective member churches.

Global Christian Forum

The Council received with appreciation the Final Message from the November 2007 gathering of the Global Christian Forum (GCF). It also received the report of the first subsequent meeting of the GCF committee, and expressed hope for the new expression of Christian unity, and encouragement for its ongoing structure.

Ecumenical Assemblies

The possibility for the Lutheran communion to find room to gather in the context of the “expanded space” foreseen for future assemblies of the World Council of Churches (WCC) was discussed by the program committee. The Council asked the general secretary to establish an ad-hoc group of about four people to assist in developing and articulating the LWF’s position in preparation for meetings of the WCC Discernment Committee and other discussions on the relation of LWF Assemblies to other ecumenical gatherings. (781 words)

* * *

Around 170 participants attended this year’s Council meeting including church leaders, officials from LWF partner organizations, invited guests, stewards, interpreters and translators, LWF staff and co-opted staff and accredited media.

The Council is the LWF’s governing body meeting between Assemblies held every six years. The current Council was appointed at the July 2003 Tenth Assembly in Winnipeg, Canada. It comprises the President, Treasurer and 48 persons elected by the Assembly. Other members include advisors, lay and ordained persons, representing the different LWF regions.
… Read more » … lire la suite »

Posted: July 1, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=477
Categories: Lutheran World InformationIn this article: ecumenism, Lutheran, Lutheran World Federation
Transmis : 1 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=477
Catégorie : Lutheran World InformationDans cet article : ecumenism, Lutheran, Lutheran World Federation

Canadian Primate responds to GAFCON statement

 — July 2, 20082 juillet 2008

Canadian Primate responds to GAFCON statement

[Anglican.ca] What follows is a statement by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, in response to the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) statement issued in Jerusalem last weekend.

The Gospel of God in Christ is faithfully proclaimed by Canadian Anglicans today just as it has been by generations who have gone before us. I believe it is important to state this truth in response to the recent statement from the GAFCON gathering in Jerusalem, which suggests otherwise.

The GAFCON statement is based on a premise that there is “acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different gospel which is contrary to the apostolic gospel.” The statement specifically accuses Anglican churches in the Canada and the United States of proclaiming this “false gospel that has paralysed the Communion.” I challenge and repudiate this charge.

In my first year as Primate, I have visited many parishes across the country, attended synods and participated in gatherings of clergy and laity who care deeply for the church, its unity and witness. What I see is a faithful proclamation of the apostolic gospel in liturgy and loving service to those in need and in advocacy for justice and peace for all people.

The mission statement of the Anglican Church of Canada professes that we “value our heritage of biblical faith, reason, liturgy, tradition, bishops and synods, and the rich variety of our life in community.” And we do. The Anglican Church of Canada also values its role in the worldwide Anglican Communion. We are committed to constructive dialogue on all issues facing our beloved church and the Communion, including the blessing of same-sex unions. We remain convinced that as contentious as this issue may be, it should not be a Communion-breaking issue. We have a deep and abiding commitment to the Windsor Report, and the Communion-wide conversations regarding a Covenant among the provinces.

We cherish our relationship with the See of Canterbury and honour our Archbishop as “first among equals” and as a vital instrument of communion. At his invitation, our bishops and their spouses will participate in the Lambeth Conference 2008. They go mindful of the Archbishop’s hope that through this conference, our relationships in Christ will be deepened and our capacity as leaders in mission will be strengthened.

I do not believe the Anglican Communion is paralyzed by a false gospel. While we recognize that our relationships are bruised and broken the gospel calls us to be reconciled, to pursue healing and to seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. It calls all those in leadership to use their authority “not to hurt but to heal, not to destroy but to build up” and “to unite the church in a holy fellowship of truth and love.”

As we continue to work our way through these times of tension in the Communion, I ask for the prayers of the church that we may be faithful to the gospel of Him in whom we are forever one.

Fred Hiltz, Archbishop and Primate
… Read more » … lire la suite »

Posted: July 2, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=478
Categories: NewsIn this article: Anglican
Transmis : 2 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=478
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Anglican

Essays assist Anglican discernment on human sexuality

 — July 3, 20083 juillet 2008

Essays assist Anglican discernment on human sexuality

In our continuing task to assist Canadian churches to comprehend each other, we share with you the following internal Anglican discernment project. Contributions to this project are invited from Anglicans, but other Christians may be interested in the discussion within the Anglican community.

At the last national meeting, General Synod 2007, the Anglican Church of Canada decided that same-sex blessings were not in conflict with core doctrine but still did not allow individual parishes to bless these unions. The Synod also acknowledged that deep theological reflection on the topic was needed. Specifically, the Primate’s Theological Commission, a group of 12 Canadian Anglican theologians, was mandated to consider these topics:

1. The theological question of whether the blessing of same-sex unions is a faithful, Spirit-led development of Christian doctrine
2. Scripture’s witness to the integrity of every human person and the question of the sanctity of human relationships

The Commission was asked to consult with the wider Canadian Anglican church as it prepares responses. As part of this consultation, the Commission has invited Canadian Anglican theologians to write essays that address the two topics above. Some of these essays on human sexuality are now available for your consideration, as part of the Anglican Church of Canada’s ongoing discernment about the blessing of same-sex unions.

Anglicans who are interested in submitting an essay on one of the above questions, or in commenting on one of the other essays, should contact the Rev. Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, Director of Faith, Worship, and Ministry.

Essays in response to the commission’s questions

• Introduction by George Sumner, Catherine Hamilton, Peter Robinson
• What Would John Henry Newman Do? by George Sumner
• Scripture and Doctrine in the St. Michael Report and The Primate’s Questions: A Reflection on Scripture and Theology in the Canadian Anglican Context by Christopher Seitz
• Words Do Not Stand Still by Roseanne Kydd
• Sex and the Garden: Genesis 3 and the Sanctity of Human Relationships by Catherine Sider Hamilton

Some additional resources on this topic are available from the ACC Primate’s Theological Commission.
… Read more » … lire la suite »

Posted: July 3, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=479
Categories: Dialogue, DocumentsIn this article: Anglican Church of Canada, human sexuality
Transmis : 3 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=479
Catégorie : Dialogue, DocumentsDans cet article : Anglican Church of Canada, human sexuality

Violence within the family: Churches need to keep their ears open to calls for help

 — July 3, 20083 juillet 2008

Violence within the family: Churches need to keep their ears open to calls for help

[WCC News] German churches’ experience with the issue of “domestic violence” will play an important role in a Peace Declaration of the World Council of Churches planned for 2011. “The churches have denied the existence of this issue for a long time”, said Georges Lemopoulos, deputy general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), speaking on Saturday 28 June in Frankfurt.

Frankfurt was the first stop for a WCC team of six people led by Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi from Burundi. The visit of the WCC team in Germany is one of several such team visits planned throughout the world between now and 2010 to prepare for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in 2011. The convocation is the culmination of the WCC’s Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010, in which the German churches have been particularly active and committed from the outset. In Frankfurt, projects and experiences from south-western Germany were presented to the international team.

Rev. Helene Eichrodt-Kessel, from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg’s office for the Decade to Overcome Violence, told the WCC team that the protestant churches are pushing to have the issue of domestic violence included as part of the school syllabus in Baden-Württemberg and also to increase access to advice for victims. Domestic violence is an issue taken up both in theological training and in-service training. “In our jobs, we go into people’s homes and have the opportunity to speak with them,” she said. Congregations received calls for help from women and children. One in four women has been a victim of violence at least once.

The Rosenstrasse 76 exhibition by the development agency Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) helps local congregations talk about the issue and is used both nationally and internationally – this year by the Evangelical Church of Westphalia. Janette Bächtold-Ludwig, director of the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC), praised the way the exhibition had been conceived and the accompanying events that rural and urban parishes organized around it.

“Domestic violence takes place behind closed doors. When we learn about it, it’s already too late,” said Archbishop Ntahoturi. In his home country Burundi it was seen as one of the results of war. Through its “focus on the family” project, his church had also found out about cases of sexual abuse, he added.

Answering a question from the delegation about the extent to which culture and religion influence “domestic violence”, the Rev. Eli Wolf, director of the Protestant women’s centre in Frankfurt, said that at the moment most of the women seeking protection had a migration background, although domestic violence affected all parts of society. She also talked about working with Muslim women who are working on changing male role models in their environment.

Through its international ecumenical network, the Association of Churches and Missions in South Western Germany, (EMS), has been getting people to read biblical peace texts together with partners abroad. “Everything had to be translated and that demanded a bit of patience”, said the Rev. Dorothea Frank, about the exchange with a student group from Cameroon. “We learnt that we have the Bible as our common treasure and that no one has the right to insist on just one way of interpreting it.”

The organizers of the meeting in Frankfurt have great hopes for the ecumenical declaration on just peace that will be issued by the peace convocation in 2011, said the Rev. Ulrike Schmidt-Hesse, deputy director of the EMS. She hoped that clear positions on current challenges would be taken up alongside more general reflections.

The day in Frankfurt was prepared by the Evangelical Church in Hessen and Nassau, the Evangelical Church in Baden, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Württemberg, the Württemberg ecumenical network and the EMS.

• Further information on the Decade to Overcome Violence
• Living Letters team visit to Germany
• Travel blog by two members of the WCC’s Living Letters team
• Association of Protestant Churches and Mission in South Western Germany (EMS)
• WCC Member Churches in Germany
… Read more » … lire la suite »

Posted: July 3, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=480
Categories: WCC News
Transmis : 3 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=480
Catégorie : WCC News

Violence domestique: les Eglises sont appelées au secours

 — July 3, 20083 juillet 2008

Violence domestique: les Eglises sont appelées au secours

[Nouvelles COE] Les expériences des Eglises d’Allemagne dans le domaine de la violence domestique devraient occuper une place importante dans la Déclaration sur la paix du Conseil œcuménique des Eglises (COE) prévue pour 2011. Les Eglises ont trop longtemps nié ce problème, a déclaré Georges Lemopoulos, secrétaire général adjoint du COE, le samedi 28 juin à Francfort.

Francfort-sur-le-Main était la première étape de la visite d’une équipe du COE composée de six personnes sous la conduite de l’archevêque anglican Bernard Ntahoturi, du Burundi. Jusqu’en 2010, des visites de ce genre auront lieu plusieurs fois par année pour préparer le Rassemblement œcuménique international pour la paix, qui marquera la fin de la Décennie “vaincre la violence”. Les Eglises allemandes, qui se sont d’emblée fortement engagées dans la Décennie, se montrent particulièrement actives, comme les visiteurs ont pu le constater en prenant connaissance des projets et expériences du sud-ouest de l’Allemagne qui leur étaient présentés à Francfort.

Dans le Bade-Wurtemberg, l’Eglise protestante préconise d’introduire le sujet de la violence domestique dans les programmes scolaires et d’intensifier les services de conseils pour les victimes, a expliqué la pasteure Helene Eichrodt-Kessel, du projet “vaincre la violence” de l’Eglise évangélique luthérienne du Wurtemberg. La violence domestique y est également traitée dans la formation théologique initiale et continue. “Nous formons un groupe professionnel qui se rend dans les familles et nous avons la possibilité de parler.” Les paroisses reçoivent des appels au secours de femmes et d’enfants; une femme sur quatre a déjà été une fois victime de violence.

L’exposition “Rosentrasse 76”, de Pain pour le prochain (Brot für die Welt), qui aide les paroisses à parler du thème de la violence, circule dans plusieurs pays et est accueillie cette année par l’Eglise de Westphalie. Janette Bächtold Ludwig, directrice du Conseil national des Eglises chrétiennes du Brésil, a apprécié la conception pédagogique de cette exposition et les manifestations d’accompagnement organisées par des paroisses rurales et urbaines.

“La violence domestique sévit à l’intérieur des maisons. Quand nous en entendons parler, c’est déjà trop tard”, a déclaré l’archevêque Ntahoturi. Dans son pays, cette violence est considérée comme une conséquence de la guerre. Depuis peu, son Eglise, dans le cadre de son programme “La famille au centre”, a eu connaissance de cas de sévices sexuels.

Comme la délégation lui demandait dans quelle mesure la culture et la religion ont une influence sur la violence domestique, Eli Wolf, directrice du Centre protestant des femmes de Francfort, a répondu qu’actuellement les maisons de femmes accueillent surtout des femmes issues de la migration, mais que la violence domestique se rencontre dans toutes les couches de la société. La pasteure a également parlé de la collaboration avec des musulmans qui travaillent à faire admettre une autre image de l’homme dans leurs milieux.

Grâce à son réseau œcuménique international, l’Evangelisches Missionswerk in Südwestdeutschland (EMS, Œuvre missionnaire protestante du sud-ouest de l’Allemagne) a pu favoriser la lecture en commun de textes bibliques sur la paix. C’est ainsi qu’un groupe biblique d’une paroisse allemande peut lire le même texte qu’un groupe africain ou asiatique. “Il a fallu tout traduire, ce qui a nécessité de la patience”, a expliqué la pasteure Dorothea Frank à propos d’échanges avec un groupe d’étudiants du Cameroun, “mais nous avons découvert que la Bible constitue notre trésor commun et que personne ne peut prétendre en détenir la seule interprétation valable.”

Les organisatrices de la rencontre à Francfort placent de grands espoirs dans la Déclaration pour la paix, a souligné la pasteure Ulrike Schmidt-Hesse, secrétaire générale adjointe de l’EMS. Elle souhaite qu’à côté des grandes orientations, ce texte comporte aussi des prises de position sur certains défis actuels.

La journée de Francfort a été préparée par les Eglises évangéliques de Hesse-Nassau, de Bade et du Wurtemberg, par le Réseau œcuménique du Wurtemberg et l’EMS.

• Informations sur la Décennie “vaincre la violence”
• Visites des “lettres vivantes” en Allemagne
• Evangelisches Missionswerk in Südwestdeutschland (EMS, en allemand et en anglais)
• Eglises membres du COE en Allemagne (en anglais)
… Read more » … lire la suite »

Posted: July 3, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=481
Categories: News
Transmis : 3 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=481
Catégorie : News

Australia is not “God’s own country”

 — July 4, 20084 juillet 2008

Australia is not “God’s own country”

[Religion Monitor press release] When Pope Benedict XVI travels to Australia for the first time for World Youth Day this week, he will be descending on one of the least religious nations in the western world. Although two-thirds of Australians identify themselves as Christians, religion plays an important role in the minds and everyday lives of only a minority according to the Religion Monitor, an international survey carried out by the Bertelsmann Foundation, Europe’s biggest operating foundation. The Religion Monitor is the most extensive and detailed international comparative study on the significance of religion in the main cultures of the world.

According to this representative international survey of 21.000 people, 28% of the Australian population see themselves as not at all religious, with religious practices and beliefs barely featuring in their lives. A similar number classify themselves as deeply religious (25%) whilst 44% of Australians say they consider themselves religious but that religion does not play a central role in their lives.

48% of Australians do not partake in personal prayer, and 52% never or very seldom visit a church, mosque, synagogue or temple for religious reasons. 31% said that they did not believe in God or a divine power or in life after death. Religion scored lower than all other parts of daily life, with 50% of Australians considering religion the least important when compared to family, partners, work/career, leisure time and politics.

• Read the entire news story from the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Religion Monitor
• Take the Religion Monitor Online Survey
… Read more » … lire la suite »

Posted: July 4, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=482
Categories: News
Transmis : 4 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=482
Catégorie : News

Bishop Henry on Alberta’s Human Rights Act

 — July 6, 20086 juillet 2008

Bishop Henry on Alberta’s Human Rights Act

The following letter from Bishop Frederick Henry, Roman Catholic bishop of Calgary (Alberta), to Ed Stelmach, Premier of the Province of Alberta, was recently published on the front page of the diocesan website. Bishop Henry is known for his willingness to speak publicly about controversial issues. The Human Rights Commission has been a particular concern of his in the past. This letter provides further insight into Bishop Henry’s concerns.

Dear Premier Stelmach:

I have raised the issue of the Alberta Human Rights Commission several times with you in the past eighteen months. On each of those occasions, you said that you understood the issues and shared my concerns. However, the situation is continuing to deteriorate across our country and the various levels of governments are seemingly non-responsive.

April 2008: The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ordered an evangelical Christian charity, Christian Horizons, to rescind its morality code and require employees to undergo anti-discriminatory training. In addition, Christian Horizons has been ordered to pay $23,000 plus lost wages for terminating Connie Heritz’s employment based on a morality code which she freely and knowingly signed as a condition of employment and which she failed to adhere to.

Every religious institution should have the jurisdictional independence to determine its own confessions, doctrines and ordinances, including conditions of employment.

May 2008: A Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal has fined a Regina marriage commissioner, Orville Nichols, $2,500 after finding he discriminated against a gay couple when he declined to perform their same-sex ceremony. Nichols, who has performed nearly 2,000 marriages since 1983, had referred the couple to another marriage commissioner because he said his religious beliefs (Baptist) kept him from performing the ceremony.

The conflict between social pressure and the demands of right conscience can lead to the dilemma either of abandoning a profession or of compromising one’s convictions. Faced with that tension, despite the ruling of the Commission, we must remember that there is a middle path which opens up before workers who are faithful to their conscience. It is the path of conscientious objection, which ought to be respected by all, especially legislators.

Every person has the right to have their religious beliefs reasonably accommodated.

Each judgment emanating out of our various Human Rights Commissions seems to be more brazen and bizarre than the one that preceded it. However, for inane stupidity and gross miscarriage of justice our own Alberta Human Rights Tribunal deserves to take first prize for its treatment of Stephen Boissoin.

June 2008: The Alberta Human Rights Tribunal fined Stephen Boissoin, $5,000.

Section 30 of the Alberta Human Rights Act states: “Evidence may be given before a human rights panel in any manner that the panel considers appropriate, and the panel is not bound by the rules of law respecting evidence in judicial proceedings.” It would also seem that this panel is also not bound by reasonable argument or the elementary rules of logic but is free to skewer anyone not espousing and proclaiming politically correct views. Darren Lund, the complainant, said that Boissoin’s words in his 2002 letter to the Red Deer Advocate were hateful, and furthermore, an assault on a gay teenager three weeks later could be connected to them. No proof of either was presented.

Lori Andreachuk, the chairperson of the Tribunal, agreed that his words were “likely” to expose gays, “a vulnerable” group, to hatred due to their sexual orientation. No court in the land would connect the letter and the assault but this silly tribunal did.

Andreachuk acknowledged that “In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward…” However, she also wrote: “Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.” One might ask on what grounds?

She concluded that Boissoin “… shall pay to Dr. Lund an award for damages, jointly and severally, in the amount of $5,000.00.” Lund wasn’t the victim of any kind of discrimination and yet he is handsomely paid, and subsequently, feted as Gay Pride Parade Marshall in Calgary.

The tribunal effectively stripped Boissoin of his right to freedom of speech. “Mr. Boissoin ….. shall cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.” What is meant by “disparaging”? This is tantamount to ruling out honest debate and a plurality of views in the public sphere lest someone be offended by a differing viewpoint.

The tribunal decided to extract a further pound of flesh by way of public humiliation. “Mr. Boissoin and The Concerned Christian Coalition Inc. provide Dr. Lund with a written apology for the article in the Red Deer Advocate which was the subject of this complaint.” What happens if Lund is not satisfied with the apology?

Mr. Premier, we have talked enough about the inadequate provisions of and appointment to the Alberta Human Rights Tribunals, it is time to repeal Section 3(1)(b) of the Alberta Human Rights Act . (“No person shall publish, issue or display or cause to be published, issued or displayed before the public any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that is likely to expose a person or a class of persons to hatred or contempt because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income or family status of that person or class of persons.”) and to protect the rights of religious freedom. Every person has the right to make public statements and participate in public debate on religious grounds.

Sincerely yours,

F. B. Henry
Bishop of Calgary
July 6, 2008
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Posted: July 6, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=484
Categories: News, OpinionIn this article: bishops, Catholic
Transmis : 6 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=484
Catégorie : News, OpinionDans cet article : bishops, Catholic

English Anglicans to ordain women as bishops

 — July 9, 20089 juillet 2008

On Monday, the General Synod of the Church of England voted to proceed towards the ordination of women to the episcopate. The vote begins a process that is expected to take three years before a final synodal vote. The earliest ordination would likely be in five years. The fallout from the decision is expected much sooner, both at the Lambeth Conference in late July and in the ecumenical dialogues with Roman Catholics and the Orthodox.

The Church of England is not the first province in the Anglican Communion to make this decision. It does, however, come at a time of tension in the Anglican Communion. The Lambeth Conference meeting later this month will address numerous strains on the Communion, including those arising from the ordination of homosexuals and women, and the blessing of same-sex unions. Women’s ordination has been a controversial issue in the Communion since 1976 when the Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the USA decided to ordain women as priests. In the intervening years, many of the other provinces in the Communion have followed their path, including the Church of England in 1992. Once women were ordained as priests, questions were immediately asked about whether women would be ordained as bishops as well.
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Posted: July 9, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=485
Categories: NewsIn this article: Anglican, bishops, Catholic, Church of England, ordination, Vatican, Walter Kasper, women
Transmis : 9 juillet 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=485
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Anglican, bishops, Catholic, Church of England, ordination, Vatican, Walter Kasper, women

WEA Berlin Declaration on Jewish Evangelism

 — August 25, 200825 aoüt 2008

Berlin Declaration on the Uniqueness of Christ and Jewish Evangelism

World Evangelical Alliance Theological Commission issues statement on Jewish Evangelism

A declaration calling for “Renewed commitment to the task of Jewish evangelism” and “Recognition of the uniqueness of Christ as the crucified, resurrected and divine Messiah who alone can save from death and bring eternal life” has been issued by the WEA Theological Commission. “The Berlin Declaration on the Uniqueness of Christ and Jewish Evangelism in Europe Today” was developed by a task force of the Theological Commission at a consultation in Berlin, Germany August 18-22, 2008. The 1200 word statement also calls for reconciliation and unity amongst believers in Jesus, respect for religious conviction and liberty that allows frank discussion of religious claims and repentance from all expressions of anti-Semitism and all other forms of genocide, prejudice and discrimination.

The consultation, which was five years in planning, was called to address current concerns about the necessity and theological basis for Jewish evangelism especially in the setting of Germany and Europe as a whole. It involved 12 scholars from the Theological Commission, key seminaries and other organisations. It also included practitioners engaged in ministry amongst Jewish people, and Christians from Germany and Messianic Jews. A total of 13 papers were presented covering biblical, theological and practical matters which provided the background for the Declaration. A spokesman for the TC said that plans are in hand for the publication of the papers as an additional resource for those interested.

The Berlin Declaration 2008 follows in the wake of earlier documents produced by the WEA on Jewish evangelism. The first was the Willowbank Declaration of 1989 which was hailed at the time as a decisive statement and continues to be referred to as a landmark document. The second was a brief statement reinforcing the validity and importance of Jewish evangelism which appeared in the New York Times in 2008, with 54 signatures (and more endorsements later). TC Executive Director, Dr David Parker, said, “With the background of Willowbank and the NYT statement, it is our prayer that the Berlin Declaration 2008 will prove to be equally useful in supporting the work of taking the gospel “to the Jew first” and also the rest of the world. We believe the European setting of our statement is particularly significant.

We hope that this declaration will encourage many Christians to see the importance and biblical warrant for this important ministry. We would like to see the Berlin Declaration 2008 circulated as widely as possible amongst those who are engaged in and interested in this ministry.”
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Posted: August 25, 2008 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=486
Categories: NewsIn this article: Judaism, World Evangelical Alliance
Transmis : 25 aoüt 2008 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=486
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Judaism, World Evangelical Alliance

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