ELCA Advocacy Offices Buy Indulgences: We learned from an ELCA News Service Press release that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Washington Office, ELCA Corporate Social Responsibility, Pittsburgh, and Lutheran Office for World Community, New York, have purchased carbon offset credits to mitigate their carbon emissions accumulated through air travel.
Mary Minette, ELCA director for environmental education and advocacy, said:
"Our offices have been working to reduce our carbon footprints by turning off lights and power strips when we're not in our offices, for example. But short of turning off all electricity and ceasing to travel, it's very difficult to eliminate your carbon emissions entirely. Since the advocacy staff travels extensively, we've purchased offset credits to balance those carbon emissions. The credits will go toward renewable energy projects, thus reducing the overall amount of power generated by burning fossil fuels."
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Two Presbyterians Arrested in Annual Fort Benning Protest: In a Dec. 10 article by Evan Silverstein the Presbyterian News Service reports that at least two Presbyterians are among 11 demonstrators facing federal charges after being arrested for crossing onto the U.S. Army's Fort Benning in Georgia to protest a controversial training school for Latin American military officers.
The Rev. Chris Lieberman, 54, of Albuquerque, NM, and Le Anne Clausen, 29, of Chicago, both face up to six months in federal prison and fines of up to $5,000 for trespassing on military property during the peaceful demonstration Nov. 18.
Federal court hearings for the two are scheduled for Jan. 28.
The demonstrators were at Fort Benning near Columbus, GA, to protest the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA).
The event marked the 18th anniversary of protests at Fort Benning demanding the training facility be closed.
Federal authorities said the 11 protesters were arrested when they went onto the military base during this year's rally organized by School of the Americas Watch (SOAW).
More than 100 Presbyterians are believed to have taken part in the demonstration, which involved as many as 20,000 protesters from around the country.
The two Presbyterians arrested were among at least 50 participants from the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF), which has long opposed the military training facility.
The PPF is an affinity group of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) committed to nonviolence and peacemaking. It receives no funding from the denomination but occasionally works collaboratively with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program on matters of common concern.
Lieberman, a member of Santa Fe Presbytery, is co-pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church.
Clausen is a student in her final year at Chicago Theological Seminary. She was raised Lutheran but now is a Presbyterian candidate for ordination. She is coordinator of SeminaryAction and the Center for Faith and Peacemaking in Chicago's Hyde Park.
The protest has been held on a November weekend since 1990. It marks the anniversary of the Nov. 16, 1989, slayings of six priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter in El Salvador. Eighteen of the 26 soldiers involved had attended the School of the Americas, SOA Watch organizers say.
The PC(USA) General Assembly passed a resolution in 1994 calling for the closing of the school.
There has been no word yet on the number of Lutherans who participated in the protest.
Anglican Strategy for Inclusion: Anglicans from around the world met near Chicago December 5-7 to build international coalitions and develop a strategy for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Christians in the life of the church. Sinfully Delicious: You'll be the envy of everyone in your lectionary study group, and your Fair Trade Coffee will be sinfully delicious because you're drinking it from the Official LutheranConfessions.com MUG! Be the Life of the Party:
Meeting at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, the 50-member group known as the Chicago Consultation
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Sinfully Delicious: You'll be the envy of everyone in your lectionary study group, and your Fair Trade Coffee will be sinfully delicious because you're drinking it from the Official LutheranConfessions.com MUG!
Be the Life of the Party:
Pr. Sophie is all a-Twitter. Again.
Pr. Sophie's Tweets:
Hot Dish Hotline: "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." What have you seen or heard that other people really need to know about? Use the Hot Dish Hotline to submit your item online.
urged leaders of the Episcopal Church to permit the blessing of same-gender relationships and to remove barriers that keep gay candidates from being elected as bishops, according to a news release from the group.
"We are asking our church and our communion to see what God has created and know that it is good," said the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Chicago, co-convener of the Consultation.
The Consultation also called upon Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to invite New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson as a full participant to the 2008 Lambeth Conference.
Diocese of San Joaquin Votes to Leave the Episcopal Church: At its annual convention the Diocese of San Joaquin voted to disassociate from The Episcopal Church and accepted an invitation from Archbishop Gregory Venables to affiliate with the Province of the Southern Cone of South America. The results, by orders were: 70-12 clergy and 103-10 vote in the lay order to effectively remove all references to the Episcopal Church from its constitution and describe the diocese as "a constituent member of the Anglican Communion and in full communion with the See of Canterbury." The vote reaffirmed a first vote at the December 2, 2006 convention in which a more than two-thirds majority voted in favor of the constitutional amendments.
Bishop Frank Lyons of Bolivia read a statement from Archbishop Gregory Venables, "Welcome Home. And welcome back into full fellowship in the Anglican Communion."
(To the best of our knowledge, the Anglican Communion has not disfellowshipped the Episcopal Church.)
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori commented:
"The Episcopal Church receives with sadness the news that some members of this church have made a decision to leave this church. We deeply regret their unwillingness or inability to live within the historical Anglican understanding of comprehensiveness. We wish them to know of our prayers for them and their journey. The Episcopal Church will continue in the Diocese of San Joaquin, albeit with new leadership."
The central California-based diocese represents about 8,500 Episcopalians in 47 congregations, at least five of whom San Joaquin Bishop John-David Schofield predicted will opt to remain with the Episcopal Church.
Is Tip of Iceberg: Our friends at Word Alone were quick to respond to the decision of the San Joaquin Diocese.
The Episcopal Church in America is being torn by disputes over ordination of a non-celibate bishop, much as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is dealing with controversy over rules and guidelines regarding ordination and ministry, especially the ones requiring ministers to remain celibate if they consider themselves to be homosexuals.
The real dispute in both denominations is over the authority of the Bible.
Actually, we disagree. By and large, Christians don't dispute the authority of the Bible, they dispute what the Bible says or, more to the point, what the Bible means. Everyone who appeals to the Bible interprets it, and interpretations differ. It doesn't follow that the Bible is any less authoritative for those who interpret it differently.
Baby Got Book: Via the Hotdish Hotline an anonymous source sent us a link to a video of Baby Got Book, a rap song by Dan Smith (AKA Southpaw). Dan Smith is lead minister for Momentum Christian Church in Garfield, OH. The Momentum Church declares itself to be "A church for people who hate going to church."
Lyrics to Baby Got Book include:
I like big Bibles and I can not lie
You Christian brothers can't deny
That when a girl walks in with a KJV
And a bookmark in Proverbs
You get stoked
Got her name engraved
So you know that girl is saved
It looks like one of those large ones
With plenty o' space in the margins
Oh baby, I wanna read witcha
Cause your Bible's got pictures
We get the distinct feeling that Holy has come to mean something different from what we were taught in confirmation.
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