Bishop Justin Welby (Bishop of Durham) About to be Named Next Archbishop of Canterbury?

Ruth Gledhill:

Speculation grew tonight that the Bishop of Durham Justin Welby is about to be  unveiled as the next Archbishop of Canterbury after a leading bookmaker  suspended betting on the race.

Ladbrokes closed the book on Canterbury after a flurry of substantial bets on  Bishop Welby, an evangelical and former businessman, were placed in a few  hours.

The bookmaker then tweeted: “Money suggests that @Bishopofdurham has got the  job.”

That’s if the bookies are to go by…



Bishopess Katharine Jefferts Schori Finds Theological Opponents Guilty of Misconduct


A 3-member Reference Panel led by U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has found that a prima facie case of misconduct can be made against nine serving and retired bishops of the Episcopal Church for voicing public disagreement with her view of church polity.

Bishops Peter Beckwith, Maurice Benitez, John W. Howe, Paul Lambert, William Love, Bruce MacPherson, Daniel Martins, Edward L. Salmon, Jr, and James Stanton were told on 19 Oct 2012 a reference panel consisting of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori, her aide Bishop Clayton Matthews, and the retired Bishop of Upper South Carolina and chair of the church’s disciplinary board Dorsey Henderson had found there was merit in the charges brought against them for having dissented from her view of the nature of the church’s hierarchy by testifying in court or having submitted an amicus brief to a court.

The Reference Panel recommended the accused bishops pursue “conciliation” with their accusers. Conciliation is not defined, however, in the canons.

In his email to the accused informing them of the panel’s decision, Bishop Matthews said that “after obtaining the agreement of the complainants, we will include in the process some representatives from the House of Bishops, in the spirit of our closed sessions, appointed by The Presiding Bishop.  After some research for potential persons to serve as a Conciliator, I will meet on October 29th with the person, who we hope will serve as the Conciliator. I hope following this meeting, a schedule for proceeding will be forth coming.”

Under the Title IV disciplinary canons adopted in 2009, an intake officer must first determine if the offense described in the complaint warrants action. As intake officer for the House of Bishops, Bishop Matthews held that held that having endorsed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme court that defends one view of Episcopal Church history and canon law, or in the case of Bishops Beckwith, MacPherson and Salmon, for having testified to their views of church polity in a case involving the secession of the Diocese of Quincy, the nine bisohps violated the canons.

Bishop Matthews then referred his findings to the panel, of which he is one of three members, and which was led by the presiding bishop whose views on church polity were the subject of the dispute, for determination of guilt.

Canon lawyer Allan Haley said the system adopted by the Episcopal Church to try political dissent was absurd. “No man shall be judge of his own cause is a maxim of law from the time of Solomon,” he said. In this case the presiding bishop and her staff are the investigators, prosecutor, judge and jury.

This “reeks of the kangaroo courts of rough justice of the mining claim” of the old West, he said.

One of the nine accused told CEN he has yet to be told what it was about his actions that violated the canons.  Is it the “issue” or “expressing the issue in court” he said.

If it is the issue, the bishop noted the position set forth in their brief was identical to that put forward in 2009 in the Bishops Statement on Polity.  If it was stating this belief in court, “what is illegitimate about that,” he asked.

Canon law experts note the prosecution of the nine bishops was politically motivated, as the actions for which they are accused are not considered “triable” when done by bishops who endorsed the party line.

Canon IV.19.of Title IV states: “No member of the Church, whether lay or ordained, may seek to have the Constitution and Canons of the Church interpreted by a secular court, or resort to a secular court to address a dispute arising under the Constitution and Canons, or for any purpose of delay, hindrance, review or otherwise affecting any proceeding under this Title.”

If the nine are being charged with violating this canon, the question need be asked why the Bishops of Texas, Southwest Texas, Northwest Texas and the Rio Grande have not been brought up on charges also, one bishop told CEN.

In the case of Masterson, et al. v. Diocese of Northwest Texas, No. 11-0332, the Rt Rev. Andrew Doyle, the Rt. Rev. Garry Lillebridge, the Rt. Rev. Michael Vono and the Rt. Rev. C. Wallis Ohl, Jr., filed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme Court that endorsed the three-tier hierarchy concept favored by attorneys for the presiding bishop’s office.

One commentator asked “why it is OK for some bishops or dioceses and TEC itself to seek to have the courts interpret the C&Cs, but when others specifically advise the courts that they cannot get embroiled in these issues, it is a canonical offense.”



South Africa Launches New Mandela Bank Notes

Reuters reports:

South Africa immortalised former president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday in a set of new banknotes bearing the image of the anti-apartheid leader, who remains a rare unifying force in a country still scarred by its racially divided past.

The government announced the new notes earlier this year on the 22nd anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison after serving 27 years for his opposition to white-minority rule.

The 94-year-old, who became South Africa’s first black president in 1994, rarely appears in public now but is still revered both at home and abroad and held up as a symbol of freedom, human rights and democracy.

Popularly known by his clan name “Madiba”, Mandela has lent his name to roads, buildings and universities, and a giant bronze statue of him in Johannesburg’s swanky Sandton City mall is a daily attraction for tourists.

“Madiba does represent something special not just in South Africa but in the world,” Reserve Bank Governor Gill Marcus said after using the new notes for the first time at her neighbourhood fruit market in Pretoria.

“He is really an extraordinary man and this is a way in which we pay tribute to him.”

The notes also feature South Africa’s “big five” wild animals – rhino, elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard.

The new notes will be used in conjunction with the existing currency, which will be gradually phased out, Marcus said.


Bible Archaeology

Ancient Cedar Beams Being Burnt on Temple Mount

Arutz Sheva reports:

A group of Jews that ascended the Temple Mount Sunday were shocked to see that ancient beams of wood that had apparently been used during the period of the Holy Temple were being used as firewood by Arabs on the Mount, and off it. Archaeologists have dated the wood as far back as the First Temple period, and appear to be among the celebrated “Cedars of Lebanon” mentioned in the Tanach.

The wood, consisting of giant beams, first appeared at the end of the 1930s, when the Al-Aqsa mosque which currently occupies the Temple Mount was refurbished. The beams had been used in the roof structure of the mosque, and already at that time they were said to be thousands of years old by archaeologists – preserved only because they had been used in the building. Some of the beams were dated to the first Temple period, others to Roman times, and at least one beam was found to have Byzantine-era designs etched on it…

Now, many of the beams have been placed at what appears to be a dumping ground next to the Golden Gate of the Old City, apparently for the use of local Arabs as firewood. Jewish groups that visited the Mount saw the beams being moved, but reported that the Arabs forbade them to take photos of the activity. Officials of the Archaeology Authority, who are responsible for the safety of these ancient beams, are nowhere to be seen…

More here.