Firings, attempted lockout in Anglican New Westminster diocese
Remember New Westminster? That was the Anglican diocese that looked to be Ground Zero in the possible breakup of the Anglican Communion—before the Episcopal Church USA confirmed Gene Robinson to be the church's first openly gay bishop, that is. Regular visitors to our site and subscribers to our print magazine may remember "Why I Walked," by New Westminster member J.I. Packer, on his disapproval of the diocese's provision for blessing same-sex unions.

Sunday, notes The Province of Vancouver, "the rift within the Anglican church over same-sex unions escalated." New Westminster bishop Michael Ingham sent a diocesan employee and an archdeacon to services at the orthodox St. Martin's Anglican Church, where they announced that the diocese was removing the two elected parish trustees, three wardens, and church committee members.

One day earlier, while orthodox clergy and laity met in Vancouver with orthodox Anglican leaders from around the world, diocesan officials sent an employee and a locksmith over to change the locks on the church doors and offices.

"The locksmith was blocked in his actions when a group of concerned and angry parishioners, including the two trustees, arrived at the church and asked the locksmith to change the locks back," reports conservative Anglican journalist David Virtue.

The rector of St. Martin's resigned in protest after the same-sex blessings vote, and the parish has been one of ten (among 80 in the diocese) to refuse to pay their assessment to the diocese. In July, 59.79 percent of the parish members voted to move the congregation from Ingham's oversight to that of Bishop Terry Buckle. But the parish wardens said the vote did not meet a 60 percent criterion, and Ingham says he still has control over the church.

"It's basically a way of pressuring the church to toe the line with the diocese," Chris Hawley, spokesman for the orthodox Anglican Communion in New Westminster, told The Province. "It's a political move to try and make sure that the church does not accept Bishop Buckle."

Or other churches, says Virtue: "The action by Ingham yesterday sent alarm bells through the other nine parishes in conflict with the bishop, prompting one of the rectors to urge the other parishes to activate alarm systems and have parishioners ready to stand guard around the clock."

Canadian Broadcasting Company's The Early Edition has audio of an interview in which diocesan chancellor George Cadman does quite a bit of spinning … very … slowly.

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Expect more news and links later today (and in the coming days) from Classical Anglican Net News, which is run by orthodox Anglicans in Canada.

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More on the Anglican Church:

  • African cleric breaks ranks on gay issue | 'Arrogant' leaders must focus on priorities: peace, hunger and HIV (The Guardian, London)

  • Also: African divisions over gay bishop | A South African church leader has accused other African archbishops of arrogance over the issue of homosexuality (BBC, video)

  • Anglican Divide Shows Signs of Deepening | Just how mad are Episcopalians over the ordination of a homosexual bishop? A meeting next month of the dissenters needs a bigger building (Family News in Focus)

  • In sign of possible split, congregations cut Episcopal funds | The Rev. Canon Mike Malone of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina said that since last month's General Convention in Minneapolis, ten local churches have asked the diocese not to give any of their money to the Episcopal Church. Several other churches already had stopped supporting the denomination, so now 15 of the 76 churches and missions in the diocese are having the diocese redirect their money, Malone said (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  • Confirmation—and now confrontation | Bishop Stephen Jecko of Jacksonville temporarily has cut off his diocese's funds to the national Episcopal Church, the first salvo over the church's confirmation last month of an openly gay bishop (The Miami Herald)

  • Zahl seeks answer to gay bishop issue | "I want to persuade the commission to make some kind of formal statement on behalf of Anglican tradition and theology," said Paul Zahl, dean of Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham. "I'm not confident such a statement will emerge." (The Birmingham News)

  • Anglican Church kicks against gay priests | The Right Reverend Robert G A Okine, Archbishop and Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa of the Anglican Church, has said that the action of the Episcopal Anglican Church of USA in endorsing the election of a gay priest as Bishop contravenes traditional Anglican norms and practice, which are based on Scripture, tradition and reason (GNA, Ghana)

  • Gay clergy, Christendom, and God | The standard deviation of Christendom in general from the scriptural position over the ages is monumentally bewildering (Akin Owolabi, This Day, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Should churches follow their denomination's stance on homosexuality? | Readers respond (The Washington Post)

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  • San Diego's Episcopal bishop plans to retire | Gethin B. Hughes said his announcement was unrelated to the approval by the national church's General Convention in Minneapolis of the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson (Los Angeles Times)

Alabama tax vote:

  • Alabamians' taxing life with Riley | Residents are up in arms over the GOP governor's solution to a budget shortfall: reform the tax system. The measure goes to voters today (Los Angeles Times)

  • Christians push for radical tax reform | While the activity of the Ten Commandments judge, Roy Moore, has been the flash-point issue regarding church and state in Alabama politics, in the long run it is probably less important than one coming to resolution Tuesday (Leo Sandon, Tallahassee Democrat, Fla.)

  • Preachers slow to embrace Riley plan from pulpit | Despite the claims of supporters who say changing Alabama's tax code is the Christian thing to do, polls show lagging support for the plan leading up to the vote on Tuesday (Associated Press)

  • Alabama vote roils alliances and stirs moral quandaries | Tuesday's sweeping tax measure goes beyond ledgers, striking at the core of the state's identity itself (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Ministers around Alabama make final sermons on plan | Ministers stood in pulpits around Alabama four years ago to rally opposition against a lottery proposal that ultimately died in a statewide vote. Some of the same clergy spoke out Sunday on another referendum, this time urging their charges to vote "yes" on Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax plan (Mobile Register, Ala.)

  • Crusading for higher taxes in Alabama | The great American tax taboo is being doubted in the most unlikely place (BBC)

Roy Moore and the Ten Commandments:

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  • Lore shapes the 'Tablets' | A lot of what Americans think they know abut the Ten Commandments may not be true—or at least it's at odds with ancient tradition (Jeffrey Weiss, The Dallas Morning News)

  • A monumental story | Why has this story has bulked so large both on the air and in the papers for the past two weeks? (Eric Burns, Fox News)

  • Roy Moore v. Roger Williams: Two visions of America | In his Ten Commandments crusade in Alabama, Judge Moore says he's not trying to impose religion on anyone — but his actions show otherwise (Charles Haynes, First Amendment Center)

  • Read two tablets and call me in the morning | Little did Moses know, when he brought down the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, that he would cause so much trouble in Alabama (Art Buchwald, The Washington Post)

  • Laws aside, that's one ugly sculpture | This is what all the wailing, shouting and police action was about—5,280 pounds of igneous ugly (Mark Lane, News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla.)

  • 'A lot of good ol' Alabama politics' | Former Supreme Court Justice Terry Butts is representing Chief Justice Roy Moore on charges that Moore violated judicial ethics during the battle over his Ten Commandments monument (Mobile Register)

Politics and law:

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  • Politics is no place for religion | I think now is as good a time as any to remove all religious invocations and benedictions from our public meetings (Lolis Eric Elie, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

  • Strip club owner goes after county monument | Darrel Russelburg said he didn't notice the Ten Commandments on the lawn of the Gibson County Courthouse until he was walking to court to face charges of abetting public indecency recently (Princeton Daily Clarion, Ind.)

  • House approves vouchers for D.C. | U.S. would pay tuition for 1,300 students (The Washington Post)

Persecution and religious liberty:

Life ethics:

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Church life:

  • Amazing grace | Christ CornerStone Church has used a compelling pitch to lure members of the community to its front doors: free stuff (The Washington Post)

  • Worshipers rise | Churches shift stance from kneeling (The Washington Post)

  • Signs of hope in a secular age | The International Church Council Project is the organizational result of evangelicalism's 25-year process to affirm historical biblical inerrancy and the Bible's historical interpretation on today's heresies. (Tom Terry, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • National Baptist Convention will have impacts | One feature of this year's convention will be to focus on economics and to improve networking among African-Americans. Another session has been set aside to look at health problems peculiar to the black community (The Kansas City Star)

Pastoral life:

  • Reading habits for clergy lack some diversity | America's clergy are reading a broad range of theologians, Bible scholars and inspirational writers, at times crossing over liberal-conservative and Protestant-Catholic divides to share spiritual writers from different traditions. What they do not put at the top of their reading lists, according to a national survey, are women and black writers. (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

  • New senior pastor brings 'right stuff' | Craig Barnes arrived in Pittsburgh last year as the Meneilly Professor of Leadership and Ministry at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He will continue his teaching duties on a reduced schedule while assuming a full-time ministry at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

  • He lived to preach—that day, on Job | The Rev. Don Brown, 58, had come late to ministry, leaving the hotel industry and arriving at First Baptist 11 years ago with an energy that drove everything he did in life (Ken Garfield, The Charlotte Observer)

  • Life lessons lead to church role | New lay minister has no formal seminary training but knows the congregation well (Los Angeles Times)

  • New pastor has law enforcement background | Congregation hires private investigator to lead church (The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Calif.)

Surveys and polls:

  • Surveys show opinions of religious and nonreligious folk | Pollsters are finding that Americans' attitudes toward religion, politics, and morals are shifting (David Yount, Scripps Howard News Service)

  • Shock poll on UK's faith | Yoga is taking over from God for many people; Britons are abandoning churches in droves, replacing traditional religion with activities that focus on themselves (The Sun, U.K.)

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Clergy abuse:

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