The Bread of Life Without Crumbs

The nuns who have traditionally made communion wafers are threatened by Polish, and, worse, American competition.

The New York Times ran a remarkable story about a Rhode Island bakery which has captured 80% of the market for communion wafers in the US, Canada, and even here and Australia. The Cavanagh company’s wafers are truly ecumenical. They are praised by Anglicans, Lutherans and Methodists as well as Roman Catholics. They can be snapped theatrically without crumbs. And 850m of them were sold last year. The cunning thing, though, is their marketing strategy: in Catholic dioceses, they sell to monasteries and convents, which then sell them on to the churches, keeping an income without the industry. I do not think St Benedict would have approved. His rule established that monks should spend a third of their waking hours in prayer, a third in study, and a third in manual labour. The hard work of baking was part of its attraction.

In this country, the manufacture of Catholic communion hosts is largely the responsibility of the contemplative orders. Some of the convents here are already selling on the Polish wafers, according to Sister Mary Bernadette, who has the improbable job of press officer for the Association of British Contemplatives. And this is probably the least inflammatory solution to the French crisis. If it were discovered that an American firm were muscling into the supply of French communion wafers, the riots against McDonalds would look like a tea party in a convent of contemplatives.

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Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Inexcusable Irreverence and Ingratitude (1)

They are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.”  Romans 1:20-21

This first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans is a dreadful portion of the Word of God. I should hardly like to read it all through aloud; it is not intended to be so used. Read it at home, and be startled at the awful vices of the Gentile world. Unmentionable crimes were the common pleasures of those wicked ages; but the chapter is also a striking picture of heathenism at the present time. After a missionary had gone into a certain part of Hindostan, and had given away New Testaments, a Hindoo waited upon him, and asked him this question: “Did you not write that first chapter in the Epistle to the Romans after you came here?” “No,” replied the missionary, “I did not write it at all; it has been there nearly two thousand years.” The Hindoo said, “Well, if it has not been written since you came here, all I can say is, that it might have been so written, for it is a fearfully true description of the sin of India.” It is also much more true, even of London, than some of us would like to know. Even here are committed those vices, the very mention of which would make the cheek of modesty to crimson. However, I am not going to talk about Hindoos; they are a long way off. I am not going to speak about the ancient Romans; they lived a couple of thousand years ago. I am going to speak about ourselves, and about some persons here whom my text admirably fits. I fear that I am speaking to some who are “without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.”

I. The first charge against those who are mentioned in my text is, WANT OF REVERENCE. “They knew God,” but “they glorified him not as God.” They knew that there was a God; they never denied his existence; but they had no reverence for his name, they did not render him the homage to which he is entitled, they did not glorify him as God.

Of many this is still true in this form, they never think of God. they go from year to year without any practical thought of God. Not only is he not in their words, but he is not in their thoughts. As the Psalmist puts it, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not at all in his thoughts.” The marginal reading is very expressive: “All his thoughts are, There is no God.” Whether there is a God, or not, makes no practical difference to the wicked; they have so little esteem for him that, perhaps, if we could prove that there were no God, they would feel easier in their conscience. There must be something very wrong with you when you would rather that there were no God. “Well,” says one, “I do not care much whether there is a God or not; I am an agnostic. “Oh!” I said, “that is a Greek word, is it not? And the equivalent Latin word is ‘Ignoramus’.” Somehow, he did not like the Latin nearly as much as the Greek. Oh, dear friends, I could not bear to be an “ignoramus” or an “agnostic” about God! I must have a God; I cannot do without him. He is to me as necessary as food to my body, and air to my lungs. The sad thing is, that many, who believe that there is a God, yet glorify him not as God, for they do not even give him a thought. I appeal to some here, whether that is not true. You go from the beginning of the week to the end of it without reflecting upon God at all. You could do as well without God as with him. Is not that the case? And must there not be something very terrible in the condition of your heart when, as a creature, you can do without a thought of your Creator, when he that has nourished you, and brought you up, is nothing to you, one of whom you never think?

These people, further, have no right conceptions of God. The true conception of God is that he is all in all. If God is anything, we ought to make him everything; you cannot put God in the second place. He is Almighty, All-wise, All-gracious, knowing everything, being in every place, constantly present, the emanations of his power found in every part of the universe. God is infinitely glorious; and unless we treat him as such, we have not treated him as he ought to be treated. If there be a king, and he is set to open the door or do menial work, he is not honoured as a king should be. Shall the great God be made a lackey for our lusts? Shall we put God aside, and say to him, “When I have a more convenient season, I will send for thee: when I have more money, I will attend to religion,” or, “When I can be religious, and not lose anything by it, then I will seek thee”? Dost thou treat God so?” Oh, beware, this is high treason against the King of kings! Wrong ideas of God, grovelling thoughts of God, come under the censure of the text, “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God.”

C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Excerpt from sermon “Inexcusable Irreverence and Ingratitude” delivered on Sunday, July 13, 1890.

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Lesbian Suffragan Bishop Rev Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool

Revd Canon Mary Glasspool

A controversial priest who has a lesbian partner has so far received more than half the votes she needs to be consecrated as an assistant bishop.

And the 120-day consent process began just a month ago.

The Rev Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool has 29 consents to become bishop suffragan, according to a recent report by the Diocese of Los Angeles. She needs 56 to be confirmed as the second openly homosexual bishop in The Episcopal Church.

“Throughout her 30 years of ordained ministry, the Rev Mary Glasspool has been faithful and consistent to the ministry, doctrine and teaching of the Episcopal Church,” Bishop Nathan Baxter of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania wrote in a pastoral letter indicating his consent.

“On the matter of her sexuality and life-style, the Rev Glasspool is faithful to the spirit and prayerfully determined direction of our church,” he noted. “For 18 years, she and her partner have lived in witness to the marks the church has expected of all persons in committed intimate relationships (including traditional marriage): fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and holy love.”

Glasspool has been with her partner, Becki Sander, since 1988. Her election in December to the office of bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles has caused another uproar across The Episcopal Church, six years after it consecrated its first openly gay bishop, V Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

The election came just months after The Episcopal Church’s top legislative body approved a resolution declaring the denomination’s ordination process open to all individuals, which some say includes practicing homosexuals.

Glasspool, who first came out to the national body 30 years ago, says “it’s time for our wonderful church to move on and be the inclusive Church we say we are.”

But conservative Anglicans say giving consent to her election would confirm that The Episcopal Church has abandoned biblically-based Christianity. Others who advocate for the full inclusion of gays and lesbians, meanwhile, are choosing to withhold their approval.

The Rev Herman Hollerith IV, bishop of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, announced his decision to deny consent to the election of Glasspool.

Though he acknowledges her as an experienced, faithful priest with strong leadership skills, Hollerith believes her ordination would have “a serious negative impact on our relationship with the wider Anglican Communion.”

In fact, her ordination “may very well strain – to the breaking point – those bonds of affection which we have come to value with others, even with those who may agree with us”, he stated.

Sometimes, he said, “it is necessary to practice restraint for the sake of preserving and maintaining relationships.”

Since the 2003 consecration of Robinson, relationships between The Episcopal Church and much of the Anglican Communion have been strained or impaired, in some cases. Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, who is considered the spiritual leader of the worldwide communion, on Tuesday appealed for Anglicans to resolve divisions over homosexuality, noting that they were causing “chaos.”

Anglican bishops throughout the global body have reaffirmed a moratorium on the consecration of bishops living in a same gender union. Just after Glasspool’s election, the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion called for “gracious restraint in respect of actions that endanger the unity” of the global body.

by Lillie Kwon

February 14, 2010

Christian Post

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Gay Marriage Approval Death Knell for Anglican Unity

Anglican Bishop Gene Robinson

Bishops in the US dealt a death blow to hopes for unity in the worldwide Anglican Church when they approved in principle services for same-sex partnerships. The decision will finally split the Communion between Bible-based conservative evangelicals and liberal modernisers.

The bishops at the Episcopal General Convention voted by 104 to 30 to “collect and develop theological resources and liturgies” for blessing same-sex relationships, to be considered at the next convention in 2012.

The resolution notes the growing number of states that allow gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, and gives bishops in those regions discretion to provide a “generous pastoral response” to couples in local parishes. It was passed on Wednesday [July 15, 2009] hours after the Episcopal Church voted on Tuesday [July 14, 2009] to allow the consecration of gay bishops. The motion passed by 99 to 45 among the bishops and by 72 per cent to 28 per cent among church deputies, made up of clergy and laity.

The decisions on gay consecrations and same-sex blessings end the uneasy truce agreed after the consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson (pictured left) as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.

In a closed session at Anaheim, an ad hoc committee of bishops had been asked to study the resolution to find ways to keep the Episcopal Church within the bounds of the Anglican Communion while also allowing for same-sex blessings. However, Bishop Mark Lawrence, a conservative from South Carolina, said that an accommodation would not work. “I’m not interested in tweaking this,” he said. “It’s not the train that’s the problem — it’s the direction it’s going.”

At the start of the convention last week, Dr Williams said in a sermon to delegates: “I hope and pray that there won’t be decisions in the coming days that could push us farther apart.” At the General Synod in York at the weekend, he told friends he was confident that Episcopal Church leaders would take his concerns seriously.

Lambeth Palace declined to comment as the decisions taken by the Episcopal Church’s leaders showed that they saw no reason to place the concerns of the “mother Church” in England above the demands of their own worshippers.

Source: The Times (July 17, 2009)

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