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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Bishop Adams

Well, General Covention for the Diocese of CNY finished up without any serious fireworks. The proposal mentioned in my previous entry, was not defeated but referred to a committee for study, which was kind of defeating. The proposal was made by my friend The Rev. Doug Taylor-Weiss, Rector of Sts. Peter & John Church in Auburn, NY. Doug was our lone delegate of five to vote against the consecration of Gene Robinson.

The Rev. Byron Stuhlman said that the Windsor Report was given to the Primates for study and that before we as a Diocese act upon it, we should wait for a response from them. He is indeed correct, as the Report will be dissected at a February Primates meeting in Ireland. Byron motioned to refer the Resolution to a certain committee and that's probably the last we'll hear of that. ECUSA may be finished by the time it gets out of committee.

Don't you hate to see posturing at church meetings? One person offered a last minute resolution that was essentially incoherent, but rambled about not judging but allowing God to judge our personal preferences, and thanking Bishop Adams seeing Gene Robinson's attributes for the Episcopacy instead of his sexual orientation, blah, blah, blah, ... It was just inflamatory. So of course, a couple of conservative guys speak against it, even one who was sympathetic to the content spoke against it because it was poorly expressed and unhelpful. But then you see people from the liberal aisle jumping up behind the mic, negotiating how to keep this thing alive and counter their adversaries. So that motion got referred too. Disappointing to see such "factioning" (I just made a new word).

The Rt. Rev. Martìn Barahona and his wife were with us. Martìn is the Bishop of El Salvador and Primate of the Church in Central America. He read the gospel lesson in Spanish at the morning Eucharist. Most of the service was bi-lingual.

I've put Bishop Adams address to General Convention on my website (temporarily). It will be moved to the Diocesan website soon I hope.
Bishop Adams address to General Convention 2004.

The Rt. Rev. Gladstone "Skip" Adams
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of CNY

Friday, November 19, 2004

Diocese of CNY General Convention

Tonight was the first part of the General Convention (annual mtg) for the Episcopal Diocese of CNY. Since I am not an official ECUSA clergy, but am not really a lay person either as I have a pastoral position, Bishop Adams graciously has someone make a motion every year to give me voice in the mtg but no vote. He always makes me stand and says something nice to me. He's very gracious, classy and caring.

Tomorrow morning I am hoping to videotape the Bishop's address. I'll them make a .mov file and play back at Trinity and put on our website.

I was appalled this evening. Trinity has 3 delegates, all of whom I saw there during the registration process. 2 of them bailed on the mtg when it started. They handed their ballots to the 3rd member, who was stunned, and said something about a 'prior commitment'. Now of course they have only known about the meeting for the last year and signed up to participate about six months ago.

The church paid for their registration and hotel rooms but they just bailed. Incredible. Numerous procedural matters were voted upon tonight, as well as the various ballots for the various leadership positions in the Diocese but they couldn't stay. That really bugged me.

One interesting note: because of the wider problems in ECUSA stemming from the Gene Robinson incident, St. Andrew's of the Valley in Syracuse has not paid their assessment or pledge. The pledge is optional, but by canon law, the assessment is not. Therefore, they were invited to attend the meeting but denied any voice or vote. St. Andrew's is a charismatic, evangelical congregation. It appears as if they have cut ties with ECUSA.

There was also a resolution spelled out in detail in response to the Windsor Report. The resolutions asks Convention and Bishop to do just what the Windsor Report asks: express their regret for what they did in confirming Gene Robinson as Bishop, and for the circumstances it caused worldwide. As the Windsor Report does, the Resolution asks the Diocese & Bishop to separate itself from the Anglican Communion if it cannot abide with these choices. This should make for some interesting discussion tomorrow. I brought my trusty old Apple Newton, an original PDA, to play games but make me look busy in case I was bored. I may not need it.

I'll say more in the coming days about tomorrow's meeting with budgets, resolutions, etc. Many Diocese around the country are suffering serious financial shortfalls, we'll see if that's true for CNY.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Tooth Fairy

The tooth fairy is coming tonight. Carter lost his first tooth. Lost isn't quite accurate. I yanked it out with my fingers. No trauma involved, just a clean jerk. He's beaming with pride. Losing a tooth is like a badge of honor. I'm not sure how much the Tooth Fairy is giving these days. A dollar or two? I forgot what I gave Katelyn. I think we'll go with two.


I have Hedgebuilders, which is a proxy server or filter to keep my kids safe on the net. It does a pretty good job, but I always monitor what they're doing anyways. I have 5 browsers: Safari, IE, Netscape, Mozilla and FireFox. The filter works with Safari, IE & Netscape but not with Mozilla and Firefox.

Safari has been my primary one, but occasionally I use Firefox when I want to visit "safe" sites or do Google searchses that the filter won't let me. Like, I can't search "OS X" at Google when Hedgebuilders is on — two out of those three letters are in the word sex and apparently that is too close.

I'm in Firefox right now and decided to do a little blogging. I had no idea that Blogger had such functionality that apparently Safari doesn't make use of. I do think Firefox is a little faster and now I just might not go back to Safari. I admit to being an Apple Computer junkie but I'm tired of hearing all these wild eyed Apple users talking about how cool Safari is.

This is not cool. In the pictures below, the first one shows Blogger in Safari and the second in Firefox. Notice the entire lack of functionality in Safari! I've had this blog for months now and this is the first I noticed this.



Black Friday

We're 9 days away from Black Friday. I can't wait. Hopefully, I will be buying a digital camera that day. All the picts on my web site have been taken with either the church's camera or my pop's. I want to get a 4M camera with a 10x optical zoom and manual settings ... possibly with the ability to use different lenses but that's a stretch. It's going to be Alyx and my Christmas present to each other (for some reason that sounds like bad English). Any recommendations?

I like that link for Black Friday. Shoppers start your engines.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Rule of St. Benedict

As my recently retired Rector cleaned out his office, I procured a booklet of The Rule of St. Benedict in English. Something about Benedictine spirituality I like. The discipline and structure of it is very appealing to one like myself whose life resists such structure. It's funny how I crave and detest discipline at the same time.

Here's an interesting little snippet:

Of Excommunication for Faults

If a brother is found stubborn or disobedient or proud or murmuring, or opposed to anything in the Holy Rule and a contemner of the commandments of his Superiors, let him be admonished by his Superiors once and again in secret, according to the command of our Lord (cf Mt 18:15-16). If he doth not amend let him be taken to task publicly before all. But if he doth not reform even then, and he understandeth what a penalty it is, let him be placed under excommunication; but if even then he remaineth obstinate let him undergo corporal punishment.

The following chapters also explains about the duration of excommunication, care of the excommunicated and restoration.

Imagine if that was applied in church. It seems to me that it is supposed to. But it appears there are very few churches who practice it and even fewer church members who might accept it. And this is true amongst evangelical groups who cling so tightly to a "high view of Scripture."

This leads me to a different rant ... we need to be very careful in trumpeting our a high view of Scripture. Often we have a high view of the Scriptures we like. We have a high view until it applies to us and our sin, then suddenly we have a low view of our church and need a new one.

Dr. Paul Livermore, who has been my professor, mentor & friend, once said, "You know those parts of the Bible you underline? The rest of it is the Bible too you know!"

Back to the Rule: notice the short catalog of seemingly innocuous sins. If a brother is found stubborn or disobedient or proud or murmuring, or opposed to anything in the Holy Rule and a contemner of the commandments of his Superiors ... All too often we just look past these types of "sins" as just personality quirks and say, "Well, that's just the way s/he is. S/He doesn't mean any harm."

I've actually been a part of a church like that. It's horrible. Of course this church didn't discipline one of their members who in a drunken rage put a hammer in his wife's head either but that's another story. They had other illnesses too.

What might church look like if we lovingly disciplined members? Would we accept it? What do you think the media might say?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Episcopal Clergy

Wasn't the story of V. Gene Robinson enough for Anglicans around the world to deal with: the practicing homosexual bishop?

But then we have Charles Bennison, supposedly a Bishop, saying that Jesus was just a sinner who knew himself to be forgiven. He also said, we wrote the Bible once we can write it again.

Of course there has always been our favorite heretic John Spong, also a supposed Bishop, claiming that Jesus was not the son of God but a liberal economic reformer.

Now we have had stories of priests being Druids. Although true, they at least repented with seeming sincerity.

Today's story is of a Denver church hiriing an Muslim Imam to be on staff for their "Abraham Initiative". It's hard to even believe these stories are true. But they are. I know it sounds whacked but check it out for yourself:
  • Virtuosity
  • Royal Ranger's Code

    When we were in Ohio pastoring First Covenant Church of Willoughby Hills, our church did not have a midweek kids program, so my kids began attending the AOG church's Royal Rangers & Missionnettes program. They loved it. It literally brought tears to my eyes that within the first month they were memorizing Scripture. I was thrilled.

    Royal Rangers & Missionettes is like Cub Scouts for Christian kids. They have uniforms and work toward badges, etc.

    The Episcopal Church is not exactly the place to have your kids discipled these days, partly because of theology but even more so, discipleship ministries for kids are paltry. They get about 45 minutes on Sunday morning and that's it. It's really an after thought.

    So within the past 2 months, Alyx found out a friend was taking her kids to the Royal Rangers program at New Life Church in Depauville . It's out in the middle of nowhere ... truly "in the sticks" as the saying goes. About 20 minutes from our house in Black River.

    Again, my kids LOVE IT! I stayed home last night with Benjamin, who was sick, while Alyx took Katelyn, Carter & Nicky with her. They came home and Carter just burst through the door like a hurricane ... beaming, bursting with exuberance, re-enacting and retelling his whole evening. He thinks he looks so handsome in his red Royal Rangers shirt with a yellow bolo.

    And then he started to tell me the Ranger Code. Apparently they have a little cadence with the way they repeat it together at church. He shouts it out to me like he was part of a military drill team, and he's got it almost memorized. Shoot — I've almost got it memorized as he told it to me or read it to me about 8x before I put him in bed. Thank God OBEDIENCE is part of the code. That came in handy to get him ready and into bed.

    He's saying this over and over. And he believes it. And he's excited about it. He's memorizing Scripture, being taught solid Christian values for his character, and he is eager to be godly! I hear him repeat The Code, see his tender heart and I just know he is going to grow up to be a man after God's own heart. I'm thrilled.

    Below is The Code & J.B. Beaver the mascot, who Carter calls "BJ Beaver" ... I know ... I'm working on it.


    A Royal Ranger is ...
    ALERT: He is mentally, physically and spiritually alert.
    CLEAN: He is clean in body, mind and speach.
    HONEST: He does not lie, cheat or steal.
    COURAGEOUS: He is brave in spite of danger, criticism or threats.
    LOYAL: He is faithful to his church, family, outpost and friends.
    COURTEOUS: He is polite, kind and thoughtful.
    OBEDIENT: He obeys his parents, leaders and those in authority.
    SPIRITUAL: He prays, reads the Bible and witnesses..


    Benjamin is in Sprouts and proudly wears his vest all over town. He has memorized his verse: "This is the house of the Lord God." Katelyn just rattled off her verse from Psalm 139:14. They love their programs too.

    Today I am thanking God for the Assemblies of God Church. What a religious mutt I am: Ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church, serving in the Episcopal Church, whose children are being discipled by the Assemblies of God. Thank you Lord.

    Wednesday, November 03, 2004

    Winter is coming early ...

    It's 8:54 pm and noticed frost when I came in the house. So I went around to the back porch. The thermometer reads 26 F degrees. One outlying area had a dusting of snow, and there was a brief snow squall over Watertown this morning but it didn't stick.

    Predictions are calling for a nastly winter. Y'all'll probably hear me cussing up storm about that! I hate being cold and so God sends me to Watertown. Feels like punishment not discipline.