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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009: The Anglican Year of Living Dangerously

by David Virtue

It was a year that Anglican leaders might well breathe a sigh of relief has passed.

It was a year of turmoil and upheaval that included two resolutions on sexuality passed at The Episcopal Church's 76th annual General Convention that promise to further isolate The Episcopal Church from the Anglican mainstream. It was the year the birth took place of a new Anglican province on North American soil; a lesbian was elected bishop in an ultra-liberal Episcopal diocese; litigation increased over property in the US and Canada; a pope offered a "safe haven" for traditionalist Anglicans across the world; and a Covenant was finalized that many believe holds little promise of keeping an increasingly feuding and fractured communion together.

Queen Elizabeth II made famous the phrase "annus horribilis" to describe her own personal travails in 1992. Dr. Rowan Williams might well echo those two words as he looks back on the year that has passed from the walls of Lambeth Palace. His personal cry might well be, "Nevertheless, let this cup pass from me...."

The Anglican Communion followed the bell curve of a worldwide economic recession with its own spiritual and ecclesiastical recession. The Episcopal Church's $141 million budget (down some $23 million and possibly more), described by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as "death", was reflected in church program and budget cuts that saw 37 of its 180 staff eliminated. If TEC were a publicly traded company, it would be a penny stock bearing in mind that its 109 dioceses failed to show any growth (with the notable exception of South Carolina) with diocese after diocese reporting lost income, closing parishes and aging congregants. Some experienced added legal costs fighting to retain properties.

With no discernible gospel to proclaim, there seems little likelihood that the lost ground will ever be made up. Couple that with the increasing flight of mega evangelical parishes from both liberal and orthodox dioceses, the church seems bent on isolating and destroying the very wing that can make it grow. Millions of dollars were racked up in legal fees as orthodox parishes from coast to coast fled their revisionist task masters, at the same time pushing their ownership claims from local courts to ever higher courts in the hopes they might be vindicated...  Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.