Archive for June, 2009


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 26 Comments

The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina finally issues a statement on the Frank Lombard situation:

Frank Lombard is a parishioner of a congregation in the diocese of North Carolina. It is the bishop’s policy that in matters such as these, clergy will cooperate fully with law enforcement and allow the judicial process to run its course. In keeping with this same policy, clergy will not comment on investigations which are still in progress. The bishops and clergy of this diocese are committed to making certain that all of our churches remain safe places where all may worship and serve God. The Church is providing pastoral care and spiritual guidance for all parishioners who have been affected by this painful situation.

A decent statement.   The person who alerted me to it felt the need to add this:

Greg Griffith et al (I guess that includes this journal) are capitalizing on the Lombard case to target the liberal Episcopal church for their own political reasons. It is unfortunate, TRAGIC that this type of awful crime happens, but there’s an awful lot of mud-slinging and homophobia happening when it is pretty evident upon honest reflection that pedophilia is a different issue from homosexuality.

And where might that mud-slinging be exactly?  Lombard is a homosexual; he admitted as much in the affidavit.  And I would love it if anyone can show me where I equated homosexuality and pedophilia.

The facts are these: it took someone in Episcopal Organization authority in North Carolina three days to acknowledge that an Episcopal vestryman seems to have been a monster.  That both Drudge and CNN picked up the story may have contributed to Bishop Curry’s sudden interest in this matter.

Will the Bishop pursue this any further?  Will Curry investigate why the web site of Lombard’s church, the Episcopal Church of the Advocate, desperately tried to rid itself of any association with Frank Lombard before deciding, for whatever reason, that that might not be such a good idea?


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Bonnie Anderson’s taking no chances:

The House of Deputies will be asked to consider meeting in two unusual sessions early in the 76th meeting of the General Convention to discuss Resolution B033 passed by the last convention.

“The purpose of this discussion will be to exchange information and viewpoints among the deputies, and to inform Legislative Committee #8 World Mission, to which committee all the resolutions relative to B033 have been assigned,” House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson wrote in a June 29 letter to deputies and first alternate deputies.

Anderson wrote that she believes the House of Deputies “will benefit by having an opportunity to discuss B033 apart from the context of legislative procedure” and noted that “many deputies have indicated their longing to discuss B033 together as a house.”

If the house accepts the proposal, the committee of the whole sessions will take place July 9 and 10, prior to when the world mission committee will hold its open hearing on proposed resolutions to rescind or supersede B033.

Which is interesting because the Presiding Bishop has gone on record as calling it unhelpful to revisit the issue at all.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has said she doesn’t think it’s helpful to revisit B033.

“It is far more helpful for us to say something significant about where we are in 2009. Conventions have passed resolutions in the past and they have rarely been revisited. New resolutions have been passed that state where the church is at that point,” Jefferts Schori told Episcopal News Service earlier this year.

It is “far more productive, I think, to have the hard conversations involved in claiming our current position and identity,” she said.

So what’s going on here?  Rescinding B033 is the last thing in the world TEO needs to do.  Better to do nothing to it at all, thus providing Dr. Williams with the perfect excuse to keep dithering around, while giving TEO bishops and priests the legal cover to ignore it which many GenCon resolutions are clearly intended to do. 

But that leaves out something very important.  The unforgivable sin in the Episcopal Organization is offending homosexuals.  Anything which they claim offends or even inconveniences them is far and away the worst of all human crimes and is not to be tolerated even for a moment.

Never mind the fact that B033 doesn’t directly mention them at all.  Never mind the fact that if B033 remains in place and the Convention plays out the way it’s going to, there will probably be another homosexual bishop or two before the end of the year, same-sex marriage liturgies will blossom from one end of the country to the other and all that will happen without any international Anglican cost to TEO whatsoever.

B033 was directed at homosexuals and therefore B033 must be completely and utterly repudiated regardless of what this might or might not do to TEO’s Anglican standing.  And that may be what Bonnie Anderson intends by this move.  Get everyone together in one room and communicate the individual cost to every single deputy even considering the idea of leaving B033 alone.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments

The Episcopalians want to drop a certain word from their lexicon:

In another proposed resolution, the standing commission recommends changing all references from “missionary” to “mission partner” in recognition of “the reality that when we engage in work overseas, we are learning just as much from those we encounter as we are able to teach.”

And since we have nothing whatsoever to tell them, why not?

Emphasizing “the reciprocal nature of mission work in the Anglican Communion today,” the report notes that the historical understanding of the term “missionaries” has caused tensions “with our brothers and sisters around the globe.”

I hope that your CRUSADE to change it succeeds.  I hope you pursue this with the same bravery and determination that the Knights Hospitallers displayed during the Siege of Malta and the Battle of Lepanto.

Mission partner, Copley said, is “a more accurate description of the role of mission personnel in the 21st century, with an emphasis on relationship building and the acknowledgement that we all mutually grow in our understanding of one another and of God when we nurture relationships with other parts of the body of Christ. The hope is that the change will help us all think about mission as being mutual and interdependent.”

What about people who aren’t yet a part of the Body of Christ?  Are you going to tell them about, you know…Jesus?  Or are you just going to splash a little water on them and figure they’re good?

The suggested name change, Alexander said, reflects the primary focus of the church’s work as being one of relationships. “As mission partners one is engaged in prayer, study, issues and projects together,” she said. “This is the crux of our ministry to one another.”

Not exactly the China Inland Mission, are they?

By being in partnership with others, Alexander added, “we are able to witness God’s love as we realize that our differences are minute compared to the numerous ways in which we are similar.”

After all, it’s not like we’re trying to get them to adopt the Christian religion or anything.  Hell, as far as we’re concerned, one religion’s pretty much the same as another.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 37 Comments

Homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson, who is a homosexual, was recently NOT in whatever it is that he’s supposed to be the homosexual bishop of(yeah, I know, homosexual dog bites homosexual man, homosexual water is homosexually wet, etc) and had the following homosexual comments about the formation of the Anglican Church in North America:

A new North American group claiming to embrace “traditional Anglican values” will not last long, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop has predicted.

Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly homosexual man living openly with a partner, whose 2003 consecration as bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire created a backlash among traditional believers within the U.S., church, told Ecumenical News International he does not believe the new Anglican grouping has long-term viability.

“A church that does not ordain women or openly gay people – I don’t see a future for that,” Robinson told ENI after delivering a sermon on 28 June at the First Presbyterian Church in New York City during the city’s annual gay pride festivities.

Roman Catholic Church?  Eastern Orthodoxy?  You’ve had good runs.  Lord knows, you’ve provided us all with some kick-ass art and hymns over the years.  But the future belongs to a “church” with more bishops than parishioners.  Suck it up and deal with it.



Posted by Christopher Johnson | Monday, June 29th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 33 Comments

Ladies and gentlemen, the perfect Episcopal storm:

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 76th General Convention direct the Executive Council to create a Strategic Planning Committee to support the Executive Council and the Church Center in their capacities as leaders of The Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the Committee be charged with using the best appropriate planning methods available, including futurists’ inputs with a ten-year time horizon, to develop a strategic plan, updated annually, that identifies and tracks the missional, financial, societal, cultural and other challenges and opportunities facing The Episcopal Church; considers alternative paths of action; recommends a path; defines measurable indicators of success of the selected direction and a specific timeline; details resources needed and proposes how those resources will be gathered; and be it further

Resolved, That the Committee report annually to the Executive Council and triennially to the General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, To ensure that the strategic plan will be a living document, the Committee shall revise and extend the plan every year and submit it for consideration and approval by Executive Council annually at its fall meeting and by the General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the Church Center Staff, Executive Council and the Joint Standing Committee on Program Budget and Finance shall use the strategic plan as a tool in the preparation of the triennial draft budget of The Episcopal Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the Committee consist of fourteen persons: the Presiding Officers; three other bishops, three ordained priests or deacons, and six lay persons all jointly appointed by the Presiding Officers, at least three and no more than six of whom will be members of Executive Council; and be it further

Resolved, That the Presiding Bishop appoint three additional members from Church Center staff to serve on the Committee; and be it further

Resolved, That the work of the Committee be guided and supported by an external consultant; and be it further

Resolved, That there be one face-to-face meeting per year and up to two video teleconferences per year as needed; and be it further

Resolved, That minutes of the meetings of the Committee be distributed to the Presiding Officers, the Chief Operating Officer of The Episcopal Church Center, and Executive Council.

That sound you just heard was an entire forest screaming in anguished grief about all the reports that will be published that no one will ever read and will be out of date in three years anyway.  All this yammering and re-yammering and tree genocide is going to cost TEO mad jack. 

$219,000 for the Triennium to include:

Meetings: Three meetings where plan will be reviewed and revised at approximately $18,000 per meeting, for a total for the triennium of $54,000.

Five video teleconferences at $4000 per conference for a total for the triennium of $20,000.

Facilitator: $1,000 per day, for 2 days of one 3 day meeting per year, for a total for the triennium of $6,000.

Strategic Planning Consultant: $29,500 per year for first year, updating for years 2 and 3 at $17,250 per year for a total for the triennium of $64,000

Futurist Consultant: $25,000 per year for 3 years, for a total for the triennium of $75,000

Total request for triennium: $219,000

Is it JUST me or does all this seem a tad…pricey?  A committee of seventeen.  Three face-to-face meetings in three years at $18,000 a pop breaks down to just over $1,000 per person per meeting.

Two consultants.  And the one who’s going to be paid more than the other one is the one who’s going to do nothing but sit around and guess crap.

And…uh…$4,000 for a videoconference, Gracie?  Seems awfully steep since I’m assuming that most if not all these people own computers and can easily download any example they care to of all the VIDEOCONFERENCING FREEWARE OUT ON THE WEB!!

For crying out loud, TEO could sue a parish out of its meeting house for what this thing will cost.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, June 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 47 Comments

Quite apart from the horrific nature of the charges against him, there’s something about the Frank Lombard story that just isn’t sitting right.  A Raleigh News & Observer reporter went to talk to some of Lombard’s neighbors and got this strange response:

Neighbors of Lombard had nothing to say about him Saturday to a reporter who visited Eno Commons, a co-housing community in north Durham.

Residents ordered the reporter to leave the neighborhood, which emphasizes communal life.

A roadblock with a “no trespassing” sign and a Subaru greeted visitors Saturday to Indigo Creek Trail, a private street in the 22-home neighborhood.

Then there’s Lombard’s church, the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in Carrboro, North Carolina.  Greg Griffith has documented ECOTA’s frantic efforts to remove all traces of Lombard’s existence from their web site, efforts which seem to have begun almost the moment the story broke.

(Never let it be said that bloggers don’t do journalism.  Given Lombard’s homosexuality, this story will not receive the prominence that the Duke lacrosse team rape accusations did.  But assuming anyone wants to, the religion angle couldn’t be followed up at all had it not been for Greg’s stellar work.)

ECOTA’s reaction to all this is strange.  Granted, the church seems to be a small one.  And it should be noted that if the small church I attended woke up to the fact that one of its members was accused of Lombard’s crimes, my first response might not be all that rational.

But it doesn’t seem to be all that difficult to say, “We are horrified and appalled by these charges.  We certainly had no idea that Frank Lombard entertained such evil thoughts.

“While we remind everyone that in this country, one is innocent until proven guilty, if Frank Lombard is convicted, he deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

“Regardless of what happens, we will continue to pray for Frank.  Our God can redeem anyone.  We will also pray for the healing of those little boys and we urge everyone to do the same.”

Say something like that and you’ve said all you really need to say.  Say nothing at all while frantically trying to hide the truth and people begin to think things.

UPDATE: ECOTA’s feeling the heat.  Lombard’s name has been put back on the vestry page, listed as “inactive.”


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Sunday, June 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 12 Comments

I guess you’re doing something right if Moody Onmydinnerjacket doesn’t like you:

In televised remarks to judiciary officials Saturday, Ahmadinejad struck back at Obama a day after the U.S. president praised protesters for showing “bravery in the face of brutality,” described violence against them as “outrageous” and said opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has “captured the imagination” of Iranians who want a more open society. Obama also dismissed Ahmadinejad’s demand for an apology for previous criticism and suggested that the Iranian leader apologize to the families of those who have been arrested, beaten or killed in the crackdown.

Noting that Obama has spoken of “reforms and changes,” Ahmadinejad asked, “Why did he interfere and comment in a way that disregards convention and courtesy?” He said Western leaders who made “insulting and irrelevant comments will be put on a fair trial” by Iran at international gatherings.

I think I speak for everyone in this country, Moody, when I say that we’ve got six words for you.  Bring it on, you little bitch.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, June 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Is the king dead?  Not yet, but he’s getting some serious competition.  These days, when it comes to knocking people down to get to a reporter or in front of a camera, Gene Robinson is frickin’ J. D. Salinger compared to Southeast Florida’s Leo Frade:

Father Alberto Cutie and Ruhama Canellis were married Friday night in an hour-long Episcopal service that Episcopal Bishop Leo Frade said was a “beautiful ceremony in the richest Episcopal tradition.” Frade officiated the service and told CBS4 it brought a smile to his face. Frade spoke one-on-one with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench after the ceremony

“What can I say,” said Frade, “They are in love.” Frade said, “We welcome them into our church, as we welcome everyone who wants to join us. We are a very open group, and remember, we Episcopalians don’t bite.” Frade and Cutie have been friends for nearly a decade and both are Cuban-American.

It’s not clear where Cutié and his new bride were heading for a honeymoon.

I’m guessing Leo knows.  He’s probably staying in the next hotel room over and running errands for the happy couple.  Trips to the ice machine and such.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Saturday, June 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 43 Comments

Greg Griffith alerts me to the story of a monster:

A Duke University official has been charged in federal court with offering his 5-year-old adopted son up for sex. Frank Lombard, associate director at the university’s Global Health Institute, was arrested Wednesday in Raleigh, the FBI said.

An unidentified informant who already faces child porn charges in a different child sex case pointed investigators to Lombard, according to court documents. The informant told investigators he had met Lombard on the Internet four years ago. The informant described in graphic detail how he allegedly observed Lombard molesting an African-American child on four occasions over an Internet video chat service called ICUii.

The informant said, according to court papers, that Lombard, who is white, said that he lived in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina and that the child was one of two adopted African-Americans in his custody.

Lombard allegedly used the adult Internet service to conduct his video chats. According to an affidavit in support of the arrest warrant, the Internet service indicated that Lombard’s profile “stated he was interested in “perv fam fun,” a reference to “incestuous child molestation.” The service also told investigators that a customer service complaint had been sent to the company in January 2007. A customer who had chatted with Lombard complained to the company that Lombard said he was “into incest” and had adopted two African-American children, court records said.

A Washington, D.C., police detective who was investigating the case set up undercover chats with someone matching Lombard’s description during which the detective says he was invited to fly to Raleigh to have sex with the person’s 5- year-old adopted child. In his affidavit, Det. Timothy Palchak wrote that he engaged in a chat with someone using the screen name “FL” who provided nude pictures of himself. The pictures matched Lombard’s North Carolina driver’s license photo, according to the affidavit.

During the chats, according to the affidavit, “FL” told undercover investigators that he had himself molested his child, whom he adopted as an infant, and that he had allowed others to molest his child. “FL” stated that “the abuse of the child was easier when the child was too young to talk or know what was happening, but that he had drugged the child with Benadryl during the molestation,” Palchak wrote in his affidavit.  

Greg has the affidavit for the arrest warrant available here but I warn you that it is very graphic.  Griffith also discovered something else.

What makes this story more than something to mention in passing, is that there is a Frank Lombard, with a Duke email address, on the vestry of the Episcopal Church of the Advocate in nearby Carrboro, North Carolina (listed here as a “gay friendly” church)… who is involved in anti-racism efforts.

I’m not trying to score moral points at the expense of the Episcopalians and neither should you.  Search your own hearts.  You know what evil has resided there in the past or resides there still.  Certainly nothing to this extent but all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

We all know or know of perfectly fine people whose children turned out to be criminals.  And this Lombard could have been a member of any church.  There have been numerous monsters in pews and in front of them all over the Christian spectrum, from liberal churches to conservative ones, and there will no doubt be many more. 

We live in a fallen world.

But what do you do if you discover that someone you prayed with, took Holy Communion with, sat in vestry meetings with, drank coffee after the service with or attended church social functions with turned out to be a Frank Lombard? 

Do you and your fellow parishioners think long and hard about what you’ve been preaching and proclaiming to this fallen world?  Do you issue a statement expressing your horror?  Do you tell the world that from now on, your number one priority, to the exclusion of everything else, is the healing and security of those little boys?

Or do you fall all over yourselves to pretend that your Frank Lombard never existed?

11:38 am: The Episcopal Church of the Advocate is busy erasing all traces of Lombard from their web site. Minutes ago they pulled Lombard’s name from the vestry listing at their site. Fortunately, Google has this cached version available, and we’ve archived this screen capture on our server. Calls to the church during this time have gone directly to voice Our cached version is here.

11:46 am: The Episcopal Church of the Advocate has also pulled the “Who’s Who” PDF from their server, previously located here. Our cached version is here.

UPDATE: The Church of the Advocate doesn’t get it.

June 28, 8:28 am: The Episcopal Church of the Advocate has altered the newsletter PDF referenced above. Their altered version is found here on their web site. We saved the original version and cached it here.

UPDATE: The church is feeling the heat.  Lombard’s name’s back on the vestry page.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, June 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 12 Comments

I’ve got two words for you.  Up yours.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Friday, June 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 39 Comments

The 12 people who were saddened when they got to the end of whatever the hell her last one was have a spring in their steps these days because Katharine Jefferts Schori has a new book coming out.  Someone named Martha Baker from some Episcopal outlet or other here in town likes it.  WAY too much:

In her latest book, Katharine Jefferts Schori serves as both Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt for us. Like FDR, she was elected our president: that is, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. As such, she has a mission, a focus. Like Eleanor, she is our eyes and ears, going abroad and about when we can’t, taking words and bringing back gifts. She has compiled her words and gifts into a highly commendable book, Gospel in the Global Village.

Like Willie Mays, she’s done stuff in San Francisco.  Like Sacajawea, she blazed a trail for some white guys to follow.  Like William Lyon Mackenzie King, she would have been elected our Prime Minister if we had been Canadian. 

Like Sheryl Crow, she’s written words that people listen to when they can’t listen to something interesting or meaningful.  Like Count Chocula, she would be the symbol of our church if our church provided chocolate-flavored breakfast cereal instead of bread during the Eucharist.

If I were you, I’d bail out right now because believe it or not, this thing gets worse.

What a great and true title for a book that anthologizes talks, sermons, webcasts and meditations Jefferts Schori has given around the world over the two years since her election. She opened her address in Salisbury, England, last summer with a positively Pauline salutation: “I bring you greetings from Episcopalians,” followed by names of our homes, including Haiti, Micronesia and six countries of Europe.

WAY worse.

Jefferts Schori’s sermons provide an overview of what’s going on in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and, as such, this book would serve well for inquirers’ classes. She lights the big picture but also offers a peek behind the scenes, such as when she spoke in Cuddesdon, England, last summer to female priests, waiting still for the chance to be a bishop like her. Because of her vantage, Jefferts Schori can observe the works of Davids in a world of Goliaths: “As I travel around this church, I am continually amazed and delighted to discover the ways in which we are all connected.”

Martha, for the love of God, please stop.

The words in this anthology are profound, inspiring, generous, spot-on and learned. Jefferts Schori often defines them: for example, “‘promise’ means literally ‘a sending forth.'” She often reiterates “shalom” and “health” and “reconciliation” because they inform her agenda. Also on the agenda are the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, spelled out particularly in a talk in South Africa titled “The Church as Prophetic Witness.” She cheerleads both laity and clergy, and she supports science and religion as a practitioner in both fields.

Please, Martha, you’re just embarrassing yourself.

She comforts (“Hope gives people the courage to change”) and she afflicts (“… if we look back at our history, we’ll see that resistance is more often a sign of death’s finality than of resurrection”). She writes firmly – for example, this from a webcast in 2007 reviewing recent anxiety-producing actions by primates in the Anglican Communion: “…it is our very intensity about [these issues] that is preventing a life-giving resolution.”

Okay, what the hell does that even mean?

Often, she recommends humor as a reflection of the “playful reality of God.” And she practices what she preaches: She describes Archbishop Desmond Tutu as “chief Anglican prophet and imp.” Her 2007 address on reconciliation at the Desmond Tutu Center in New York is courageous and profound.

Martha, I’ve been patient up to now but I’m going to have to insist that you stop RIGHT NOW!!

Gospel in the Global Village is a blessed education from Katharine Jefferts Schori, our presiding bishop and our eyes and ears.

I’m guessing that this moved to the top of the stack as soon as Mrs. Schori saw it.  The good news is that Martha Baker can safely remove her lips from Mrs. Schori’s feet now.  Or from wherever else they happen to be.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, June 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized | Comments Off on GO EASY ON THE NEW GUY

I don’t know how long this will be allowed to remain active but for news from inside Iran in English, check out Tehran Broadcast.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Thursday, June 25th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 34 Comments

Those of you who heading out to Anaheim next month might be interested in this:

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will make a presentation addressing the world’s economic crisis during a panel discussion broadcast live over the internet on July 8, the opening night of General Convention in Anaheim, Calif.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, will be hosts for the event, to be called “Christian Faithfulness in the Global Economic Crisis.” The forum is scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time.

Other special GenCon events include:

Is the Elizabethan Settlement Still Relevant to the Modern Anglican Church? – A panel discussion featuring St. Louis Cardinals first-baseman Albert Pujols, Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and professional wrestler Triple H, moderated by a life-sized photograph of Jim Naughton.

The Great Episcopal Chili Cook-OffIt’ll be a hot time in the old Anaheim town tonight as Katharine Jefferts Schori and George Wayne Smith go head-to-head in the finals of the Episcopal Church’s first-ever chili competition.  Beer is free.

Zzzzzzzzzz – The aesthetics of the 1979 Anglican liturgies are critiqued by Iggy Pop, Motorhead’s Lemmy and whatever’s left of Jim Morrison.

Pray Around Here Much? – Blogger Christopher Johnson shares some of his most successful pick-up lines.

Fly-Fishing 101 – by Sister Joan Chittister

Oriental Cooking for the Sodium-Conscious – John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, cooks some great-tasting Chinese, Japanese and Thai dishes that won’t drive your blood pressure through the roof.  First come, first deliciously served

The Federal League: Baseball’s Missed Opportunity – Bishops Geralyn Wolf and Mary Gray-Reeves present a history of the short-lived professional baseball league.

Chris Chelios on the Lake Poets – The former NHL star assesses the works of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey.

Making Love Last – Relationship advice from Northern California Bishop Barry Beisner

Details and locations to be announced.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 31 Comments

Lend TEO a couple of bob till Thursday.  It’s absolutely skint:

Income during the 2010-2012 triennium could be $9 million less than forecast last January, when a draft churchwide budget was approved, according to the chair of the Episcopal Church’s budgetary committee.

But TEO’s expectin’ a postal order.

Pan Adams-McCaslin, chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance (PB&F), said in a June 24 interview that diocesan commitments during the next three years could be an estimated $7.7 million less and interest on the church’s endowment funds is projected to be $1.3 million less.

And it can pay ya back as soon as it comes.

The diocesan figure is an estimate based on an on-going survey of bishops and diocesan financial officers, she said. They have been asked how realistic it is to assume that they could fulfill the Executive Council’s predicted one percent increase in diocesan income in 2010 and two percent increases in both 2011 and 2012.

Say goodbye to four-star beachfront hotels in Puerto Rico. 

In addition, Adams-McCaslin pointed out, there are certain expenses (known as the corporate and canonical side of the budget) that have to be funded, such as the offices of the Presiding Bishop and House of Deputies president and the General Convention office, which aids the church’s committees, commissions, agencies and boards in carrying out the convention’s mandates during the triennium.

Say hello to Motel 6’s in Rockford, Illinois.

Kurt Barnes, Episcopal Church treasurer, told ENS that “church center staff have not formally been asked to submit adjusted budget requests.”

He noted that PB&F previously asked church center department heads how they would adjust their activities if the available funds were 50 percent less than in the draft budget. 

During that exercise, Adams-McCaslin said, “some people came back with some really creative ways” of how they would do their work.

Assuming TEO can get the scratch together and some of you people agree to double up and share beds.

At convention PB&F will hold three open hearings: one on budget priorities on July 7 and hearings on spending and revenue decisions on July 9 and 10.

Outside of those hearings, the committee meets in open sessions daily at convention to craft a proposed budget, which must be approved by both houses. Adams-McCaslin said that PB&F will spend time early on in its Anaheim meetings discussing how it will do its work and make its decisions, and how it will operate in the economic realities facing the church.

“We’re trying to say, what programs can we fund at a churchwide level that will serve the entire church, while recognizing what we know are many worthwhile programs that may be better done locally,” she said.

Yessiree Bob, TEO’s in fine shape.  Move along, nothing to see here.


Posted by Christopher Johnson | Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 57 Comments

The inside strategy, 2003-2009:

In numerous conversations, Kendall and I have felt that the strategizing and networking to pass or defeat resolutions, for most of us in the conservative or reasserting cause, is no longer anything for which we have passion or, for that matter, any hope of success—even if we should attempt it. The cause of biblical orthodoxy within TEC is no longer a realistic thing to strive for through the councils of TEC. Politically speaking, we have lost the day. Those of us who are going from South Carolina go to bear witness—to speak the truth as we have received it, and with love (as St. Paul enjoins us). But the days of strategizing with others who may align sympathetically with us to win some political victory through resolutions on the floor of the HOD or HOB is, at least for now, a thing of the past. We are too small and insignificant of a “party.” Too many have been, or have felt, driven out of our Church. Along with these facts, I fear that the ecclesial-political operatives of General Convention seem too determined to ignore the prevalent teaching of Scripture and the Church, as well as the mind of the larger Communion, but we shall see. I do not state this as one who is disheartened by it. It is just a reality that needs to be recognized and admitted—call it “reality therapy” if you will. It is my conviction that Kendall’s time and energy can be better directed by working in his new role as Anglican Communion Development Coordinator. Just for your information, the Chairman of the Anglican Communion Development Committee is Fr. Bob Lawrence (no relation to me, as you know). Other deanery representatives are Frs. Chris Royer, Michael Hub, Michael Clarkson, Paul Fuener, and Charlie Walton.

As I stated in my Bishop’s Address at our Diocesan Convention in March, I see little reward or benefit in expending our resources and energies in unfruitful expeditions trying to stem the tide of revisionism in The Episcopal Church. Certainly I ask those who are intercessors to pray that God would “stay the hand of the revisionists” at General Convention. And we who attend will, under God, carry out our roles in faithful witness to the truth as we have received it in Holy Scripture and in the traditions of the Church. But the creative thrust of the diocese—beyond the gospel imperative to preach the gospel, make disciples, and plant churches as missionary outposts of the Kingdom of God—needs to be elsewhere than in political machinations of the General Convention. As I’ve stated before, God has called us to help shape the future of Anglicanism through mutually enriching missional relationships and through inter-diocesan, inter-provincial accountability. Certainly, Kendall as our Canon Theologian will monitor the developments at General Convention 2009, but I believe it is in keeping with our declared vision as a diocese to focus on what we believe God is calling us to do, not on the strategies and battles he called us to engage in yesterday.

Before I conclude, let me address an issue that I find is sometimes confusing to many within the diocese, as well as those who are watching us in the reappraiser wing of North American Anglicanism, specifically in what is called “The Inside Strategy.” Among the writers and bloggers of North American Anglicanism there has emerged what some call the inside and the outside strategy in battling with heterodox teaching and practice in the Church. Some who were once Episcopalians have left because they were convinced that anything resembling orthodox belief and practice was lost. Many of these are now gathering at the ACNA convention. They are sometimes referred to as engaging in the outside strategy. That is, in the cause of orthodoxy in North American Anglicanism they have left previously official churches, such as the Anglican Church of Canada and The Episcopal Church in the United States. According to this understanding it is believed the best way to revive or reform Anglicanism in North America is to work outside the established churches of the Anglican Communion. In distinction from those outside there are those who remain within TEC and the Anglican Church in Canada. Since they are staying, but still hold to the same understanding of the faith as those who have left, it is assumed by some that they must be carrying out an inside strategy of reformation. We in South Carolina are then said to be carrying out such an agenda—battling for orthodoxy, seeking to win back the day in The Episcopal Church in some maneuvering of ecclesiastical politics. While some within the Church may indeed be doing this, it is certainly not my intent. The stakes at present are much higher than what is happening in Episcopalianism or the continuing Anglican bodies in North America.

If we could be said to be carrying out an “Inside Strategy” it is not towards TEC: it is toward the Anglican Communion. Put simply, we remain inside the structures of the Communion to help shape the emerging Anglicanism of the 21st Century so long as we are able. It is ironic that as one of the few dioceses of The Episcopal Church with documented growth in every significant metric of measurement—membership, average Sunday attendance (ASA), spiritual vitality, finances, missional relationships through the last decade—we can influence the developments within global Anglicanism more effectively than we can influence our own Church! When conferences are held for bishops and leaders in TEC about growth and reaching new generations, why are experts brought in from non-Anglican sources and the prior architect of growth in the one diocese in TEC that has documented growth, Bishop Salmon, is not invited to speak? Why are the rectors in this diocese who have so clearly effectively reached their communities with the gospel never once referenced or consulted? Even the Presiding Bishop had to revise her statement that no diocese in TEC had seen growth, when documentation was cited that South Carolina had seen significant decadal growth. But, irony aside, getting back to my main point, our “Inside Strategy” is not to tilt at windmills in Quixotic fashion thinking we can turn back the clock to some prior age; it is to help shape the future that is emerging in global Anglicanism from within the Communion.

Not to get all tautological on you, Bishop Lawrence, but if you’re still in it, you’re still in it.  If General Convention is going to go off the deep end anyway, why waste time attending it at all?  If there is nothing more to be fought for from within the rotting, putrescent carcass that is the Episcopal Organization, then why delay the inevitable?

You know what the liberals think of you and your diocese.  And South Carolina cannot “help shape the future that is emerging in global Anglicanism from within the Communion” and remain associated with the Episcopal Organization because “the future that is emerging in global Anglicanism” wants nothing to do with the Episcopalians.  So what is the point of hanging around any longer?

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