Posted by The_Elves

It's been a busy season for news from the Church of England. Below are just a few of the recent important stories about the CoE General Synod, the Women's Bishop vote, the Assisted Dying debate, the new Baptismal liturgy, and more..

You can find all CoE posts using the Church of England category link.
For more on Assisted Dying, check out the life ethics category or the ethics/moral theology category..
For more on women bishops, use the CoE bishops category

Links below are from the period July 7 - July 21. Some earlier stories of note may be found in our July 8: Other recent featured entries post.

Featured Entries:
July 18: Russian Orthodox Church Statement on Unilateral CofE Women Bishops Decision
July 14: May I Vote or Should I Go? Transcript CofE Synod Friday Afternoon Women Bishops
July 11: CofE General Synod 11th to 15th July 2014 Links
July 10: Papers for Business at Church of England General Synod which Begins Tomorrow

Assisted Dying:
([A Terrifying] Economist Leader) Most Western people favour assisted suicide, change the law
The assisted dying debate has been dominated by Christian voices – sadly in disagreement
Latest: House of Lords allows Assisted Dying Bill to proceed
Archbishop John Sentamu Speaks Against Assisted Dying bill today
(Guardian) Legalising assisted suicide is a mistake I learned from my wife’s death says Bishop Inge
(Telegraph) Follow the Assisted dying debate in the House of Lords—live
“Assisted Dying”: Archbp Welby signs faith leaders’ statement against Lord Falconer’s Bill
(Telegraph) Michael Nazir-Ali—Lord Carey’s judgment on assisted dying is un-Christian
Jeffrey Bishop—The Hard Work of Dying: Refusing the False Logic of Physician-Assisted Death
(Observer) Desmond Tutu: a dignified death is our right – I am in favour of assisted dying
(BBC) Assisted dying: The Church of England seeks inquiry
Peter Saunders—Why Lord Carey is so desperately wrong about legalising assisted suicide
(Bishop of Leeds) Nick Baines—Dying matters
(Church Times) Archbishop Welby and Lord Carey part ways on assisted dying
George Carey-Why I’ve changed my mind on assisted dying says a former Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop Justin Welby writes for The (London) Times arguing against the Assisted Dying Bill
A Pastoral Letter on the Assisted Dying Bill from the Bishop of Shrewsbury (Mark Davies)
(C of E) Malcolm Brown on Assisted Suicide—Is the choice to be killed the same as choosing a car ?
(Telegraph) Charles Moore—If ‘dying with dignity’ is legalised, soon it will be expected

Women Bishops
(The Tablet) Ruth Gledhill on the Women Bishops Vote in General Synod
Rod Thomas writes Reform members in response to the York General Synod
Statement by Forward in Faith North America
Interfax: Russian Church chagrined by Church of England vote allowing women to be bishops
(Church Times) General Synod delivers a confident vote for women bishops
Albert Mohler: ‘Get with the Program’ — The Church of England Votes to Ordain Women Bishops
[WATCH] We will behave like our hero the TEC Presiding Bishop - CofE women bishop hopefuls
(Ephraim Radner) What Women Bishops Mean For Christian Unity
A Pastoral Letter from the Council of Bishops of The Society on the Women Bishops Vote
(TLC) Key Moments in C of E Synod’s Debate on Women Bishops
(RC Church in Eng. and Wales) A Statement on Women Bishops and the C. of England
(Lambeth Palace PR) C of E approves women bishops
(BBC) Church of England General Synod backs women bishops
NCR: Church of England’s Impending Ordination of Women Bishops Poses Ecumenical Challenge
[John Bingham] Women Bishops: What are the issues?

Other Stories:
(CEN) Yes to new Baptismal service
Church Times’ Paul Handley talks to TEC’s Katharine Jefferts Schori, the only woman Primate
Bishop of Sheffield orders Welby Facilitated Conversations on Sexual Immorality in Communion/CofE
Lee Gatiss: What does ‘flourishing’ actually mean?
(RNS) Church of England kicks the devil out of baptism rite
Archbishop Justin Welby at Synod, speaking on the common good
Church of England Church Commissioners confirm Wonga exit
(Church Times) A Chaplain is blocked from new post after same-sex marriage

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Culture-WatchLife Ethics* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 21, 2014 at 5:43 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to the official line promulgated by ECUSA, "people may leave, but dioceses may not." ECUSA claims to be made up of 110 dioceses (actually, now 109 following the merger of Quincy into the Diocese of Chicago), but four of them are not true dioceses -- they are the rump groups set up by 815 to act as plaintiffs (or, in some cases, when they cannot organize fast enough, as defendants and counterclaimants) in the lawsuits brought to recover the bank accounts and real properties that belonged to the dioceses and their member parishes that voted to withdraw. Those rump groups, although each newly organized, have never formally been admitted as proper "dioceses" into union with General Convention, as required by ECUSA's own Constitution.

And one sees right away why: if ECUSA were to go through the formalities necessary to admit them as new dioceses, it would give away its argument that "dioceses cannot leave." Instead it has the rump groups pretend to be the ongoing original dioceses, and then has General Convention recognize them as such and seat their deputies.

Thus far, only two trial courts -- one in Pittsburgh, and the other in Fresno, California -- have been taken in by this ruse. Judges in Texas and in Illinois, meanwhile, have not. (A ruling is expected any day now from the Illinois Court of Appeals which will affirm a lower court's judgment that the [now Anglican] Diocese of Quincy properly amended its own governing documents so as to remove itself from ECUSA.)

And now ECUSA may have shot itself in the foot in South Carolina, as well. Let's have the Press Office of the Episcopal Diocese tell us what happened on Day 7 of the trial, with ECUSA and ECSC putting on their portion of the case...

Read it carefully and read all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

July 19, 2014 at 8:00 am - 9 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Here is a list of recently featured entries about the Diocese of SC Litigation
Latest news Diocese of SC and on Facebook and Twitter

July 6: A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Mark Lawrence Regarding the Upcoming Trial

Featured Articles
July 19: Diocese of South Carolina Trial—A.S. Haley’s Important Analysis of this weeks events
July 18: SC Trial Day 9—TEC Bishop Testifies Nothing in Governing Documents Says a Diocese Can’t Withdraw
July 18: SC Trial day 8-Judge Scolds TEC for Trying to Sneak “Expert Witnesses” into Trial…
July 17: SC Trial Day Seven: TEC Witness Admits Diocesan Constitution Trumps TEC’s
July 16: Trial Day 6: Bishop Lawrence Tried to Keep Diocese of S.C. “Intact and in TEC”
July 11: A.S. Haley—Falsehoods Being Spread in South Carolina

Lent & Beyond is posting daily prayers for the Diocese of South Carolina during this litigation process.

A.S. Haley is posting daily trial updates at StandFirm

Other Recent Related Articles:
July 19: New TEC Diocese in SC offers Reports from the trial in Dorchester County
July 15: Trial Day Five: Diocese of SC v. The Episcopal Church’s new diocese in SC
July 13: A Summerville, S.C. Journal Scene Article on the TEC Diocese in SC vs Diocese of SC trial
July 12: Day 4: Judge Asks Both Sides of Diocese of SC Case to Agree on Facts for Parish Witness Testimony
July 11: New TEC Diocese in SC offers Reports from the trial in the Circuit Court in Dorchester County
July 11: Day 3 Testimony of trial between new TEC diocese and Diocese of SC Explores Facts about Parishes
July 10: [Locusts and Wild Honey blog] Anglican conflict survival guide
July 10: Get Religion on recent stories on Anglican developments in South Carolina
July 10: Second Day of South Carolina Trial Includes Testimony from Treasurer
July 9: Local Paper Article on the New TEC Diocese’s Decision to Allow for Same-Sex Union Blessings
July 9: The Trial to Protect Diocese of South Carolina Assets Begins

More articles follow below...

You can find all T19 posts about the conflict in South Carolina using this link TEC Conflicts: South Carolina category. Two previous posts South Carolina Links and South Carolina Chronology provide a history of the conflict up until October 2013.

Read more...

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Polity & Canons* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* South Carolina

July 19, 2014 at 4:44 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Statement by Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations regarding the decision of the Church of England to allow women to serve as bishops

At the session that took place on the 14th of July 2014, the General Synod of the Church of England made a decision allowing women to serve as bishops. The Communication Service of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations is authorized to make the following statement in this regard:
The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.

Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.
In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.

The Russian Orthodox Church regrets to state that the decision allowing the elevation of women to episcopal dignity impedes considerably the dialogue between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, which has developed for many decades, and contributes for further deepening of divisions in the Christian world as a whole.

Read it all and also this and you can find the response of the Catholic Church in England and Wales here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

July 18, 2014 at 8:03 am - 10 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.

Read more...

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

July 22, 2014 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

he divorce statistics for modern Western societies are catastrophic. They show that marriage is no longer regarded as a new, independent reality transcending the individuality of the spouses, a reality that, at the very least, cannot be dissolved by the will of one partner alone. But can it be dissolved by the consent of both parties, or by the will of a synod or a pope? The answer must be no, for as Jesus himself explicitly declares, man cannot put asunder what God himself has joined together. Such is the teaching of the Catholic Church.

The Christian understanding of the good life claims to be valid for all human beings. Yet even Jesus’s disciples were shocked by their Master’s words: Wouldn’t it be better, then, they replied, not to marry at all? The astonishment of the disciples underscores the contrast between the Christian way of life and the way of life dominant in the world. Whe­ther it wants to or not, the Church in the West is on its way to becoming a counterculture, and its future now depends chiefly on whether it is able, as the salt of the earth, to keep its savor and not be trampled underfoot by men.

The beauty of the Church’s teaching can shine forth only when it’s not watered down. The temptation to dilute doctrine is reinforced nowadays by an unsettling fact: Catholics are divorcing almost as frequently as their secular counterparts. Something has clearly gone wrong. It’s against all reason to think that all civilly divorced and remarried Catholics began their first marriages firmly convinced of its indissolubility and then fundamentally reversed themselves along the way. It’s more reasonable to assume that they entered into matrimony without clearly realizing what they were doing in the first place: burning their bridges behind them for all time (which is to say until death), so that the very idea of a second marriage simply did not exist for them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyMenPsychologyWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySacramental Theology

July 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"As many as 1 in 5 of the people in the top half of the tax credit range might actually end up having income that puts them out of the tax credit range, which means whopping bills at tax time," Brandes said. "We're talking about millions of people here."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his weekly Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis mourned the fleeing of the last Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, who were told by ISIS forces last week to either convert, pay the Jizya tax or leave.

“They are persecuted; our brothers are persecuted, they are driven out, they have to leave their houses without having the possibility of taking anything with them,” Pope Francis voiced in his July 20 Angelus address.

“I want to express my closeness and my constant prayer to these families and these people,” he continued. “Dear brothers and sisters who are so persecuted, I know how much you suffer, I know that you are stripped of everything. I am with you in the faith of the one who has conquered evil!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis Other FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 21, 2014 at 11:01 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

We can read, weep and pray, or read, weep, pray and do something, for these are our brothers and sisters in Christ

And ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State is marking their homes. And it's not for a passover.

Nor is it a smiley face. It is the circled Arabic letter 'n', signifying 'Nasarah' (Christian). Once the dhimmi occupants are so identified and labelled, they can more easily be taxed (jizya), forced to convert to Islam, harassed to leave or be summarily executed by the Islamic State which now owns their property.

Read it all

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq

July 21, 2014 at 9:39 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written to the Rt Revd Ezekiel Kondo who was enthroned yesterday as Archbishop of the new Internal Province of Sudan.

Archbishop Justin was represented at the service at All Saints Cathedral, Khartoum, by the Chair of the Sudan Church Association, the Ven Michael Paget-Wilkes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan

July 21, 2014 at 9:32 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The summer festival season is well and truly underway. This weekend sees the turn of Latitude Festival in Suffolk, one of the biggest of the year. It is also regarded as one of the safest with just 19 thefts reported in 2013. This hasn’t always been the case though. In 2010 Latitude hit the headlines for all of the wrong reasons when two rapes were reported including one gang rape. Women talked of being afraid of going out alone at night.

The turnaround in reputation has been in part due to an atheist police officer and a bunch of local Christians – including some from my own church. This is how it happened.

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions

July 21, 2014 at 8:50 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

1 Chronicles 29:16 (NIV)
Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

Our Father in heaven,
You are the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You work through the generations and for the generations. You search every heart and understand every desire and every thought. You have the power to help and to overthrow.
This trial is in your hands. The church assets in dispute are in Your hands. Bless this day in court for the establishment of Your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
1 Chronicles 28:9, 2 Chronicles 25:8

Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here. We are grateful to Lent and Beyond for these daily prayers.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

July 21, 2014 at 8:26 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday condemned the Islamic State extremist group’s actions targeting Christians in territory it controls, saying they reveal the threat the jihadists pose to the minority community’s “centuries-old heritage.”

The comments from Nouri al-Maliki come a day after the expiration of a deadline imposed by the Islamic State group calling on Christians in the militant-held city of Mosul to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death. Most Christians opted to flee to the nearby self-ruled Kurdish region or other areas protected by Kurdish security forces.

“What is being done by the Daesh terrorist gang against our Christian citizens in Ninevah province, and their aggression against the churches and houses of worship in the areas under their control, reveals beyond any doubt the extremist criminal and terrorist nature of this group,” al-Maliki said in a statement released by his office, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 21, 2014 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A simplified baptism service could soon be rolled out across the Church of England, in a move away from the ‘wordy’ traditional liturgy. The Additional Texts for Holy Baptism was before Synod for First Consideration, having been changed since it was introduced by the Diocese of Liverpool, following criticisms of it ‘dumbing down’ the service. The Bishop of Sodor and Man moved the motion, explaining the need stemming from the ‘wordy and complex’ nature of the current provision. It is now to be considered by the Revision Committee. The new text shortens the service by omitting elements that are not obligatory. “When a child is brought for baptism he or she comes with empty hands,” Robert Paterson said, “Simply the most precious thing in God’s sight is a child of his creation.” Feedback from families who have taken part in baptism show they remember the symbols of the service more than words. “This is a specific request to draft liturgy to meet pastoral need,” he continued. The Group believed the word ‘submit’, seen in the current text, ‘seemed to some like bullying’. All of these texts in their authorised form would be additional, not to replace Common Worship texts, the Bishop promised, and is subject to yet more synodical processes. He alluded to the backlash over the absence of the devil in the new baptism service. “We all know that, for many people, the devil has been turned into a cartoon-like character of no particular malevolence. “We have no quarrel with standing up to the devil: the problem is helping people with little doctrinal appreciation to understand what we mean by affirming that the devil is a defeated power.” The press was heavily criticised by many speakers in the debate highlighting the omission of the devil and sin from the first trial draft. “Wherever possible, the final ‘Commission’ should be expressed simply and directly, eye-to-eye, and not read from a prepared text.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church Life* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptism

July 21, 2014 at 7:30 am - 5 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to Frederick Dalcho's An historical account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South-Carolina how many Diocesan Conventions did South Carolina have BEFORE the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1789?

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

July 21, 2014 at 7:18 am - 7 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lord Carrington of Fulham (Con): My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer. With some young British Muslims being radicalised, does she agree that it is very important that they are taught at a very young age, either in school or elsewhere, to understand the similarities between all religions, in particular the shared values of the Abrahamic religions, so they can understand that Christianity and Judaism are not the enemies of Islam? Can she suggest the best way to make this come about?

Baroness Warsi: My Lords, it is important that all people, especially young people, have an understanding of the diverse communities in which we live, including different faith communities. My noble friend may be heartened to know from surveys, including a DCLG survey from a few years ago, that 90% of Muslims agreed that people from different backgrounds get on well, as opposed to 87% of the general population; 89% of Muslims agreed that it is possible to fully belong to Britain and maintain a religious identity, compared to 72% of the general population; and 74% of Muslims believe that there should be more mixing between different communities and different ethnic and religious groups, compared to 71% of the general public.

Lord Patel of Bradford (Lab): My Lords, will the Minister say what plans the Government have to work with the media to encourage them to stop publishing demonising articles about whole communities because of the actions of a handful of terrorists?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslam

July 21, 2014 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The new legislation is simpler and based on Christian understandings of trust. Crucially, it includes a commitment for diocesan bishops to abide by five guiding principles, to take proper care of and provide oversight for dissenters, with recourse to an independent reviewer, or ombudsman, to resolve disputes. This was a concept introduced to steering-group discussions by Dr Philip Giddings, the leading conservative Evangelical, who specialised in politics and the work of the Parliamentary Ombudsman. His speech to synod, where he committed himself to vote in favour, coming as it did early in the debate, was influential in securing the result.

Even the Catholic group seemed happy, relatively speaking, with the result. Canon Simon Killwick, the chairman, remained deeply concerned for the wider unity of the whole Church but “pleased that the spirit of reconciliation continued to be displayed during the debate”. Archbishop Bernard Longley, chairman of dialogue and unity for the Catholic bishops, reiterated the goal of full ecclesial communion and acknowledged that the decision “sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us”. He affirmed the progress made in recent decades.

Whatever the theological and ecclesiological disagreements that remain, for the established Church to have once again rejected women bishops could well have spelled disaster for Christian mission in Britain. The signals from Rome and Canterbury give every ­appearance of grace in action – surely a prophecy of interesting times to come.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

July 21, 2014 at 6:00 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The U.S. leveled its most-explicit allegations yet of Russia's involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and subsequent efforts to conceal evidence, and European leaders threatened broad new sanctions against Moscow, marking a turning point in the standoff between the West and the Kremlin.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday warned Russian President Vladimir Putin "for the last time" to accede to Western demands to disarm pro-Russian separatists and stabilize Ukraine.

Officials in Europe, meanwhile, departed from their initially muted reaction as anger grew across the continent over the attack that left 298 people dead and the chaos at the crash area in eastern Ukraine. Reports that bodies were being handled haphazardly and that separatist guards on the scene were drunk have caused fury in European countries where victims came from, including the Netherlands.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchTravelViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 21, 2014 at 5:45 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last Tuesday, on the front page of The Daily Telegraph of London, which I buy like thousands of other dementia-fearers because of the kindly crossword, I saw the face of a young woman at the General Synod at York with a bright teardrop sliding down her cheek. I thought, Oh dear! More misery. Newspapers now are only frigates of misery.

But the gleaming teardrop was not for sorrow; it was for joy! This girl, in an ecclesiastical, once exclusively male, dog collar, was weeping for joy because the synod, which governs the Church of England, had at last decided to allow women to become bishops.

Not that there are not some tough preliminaries. The dog collar has to be earned. And more. But starting next year, if all goes well, a female Anglican priest will be able to become even an archbishop should she believe she is called to do the job.

And she doesn’t even have to look like a male bishop.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

July 21, 2014 at 5:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

GONZALEZ: It's a scene that captured the attention of the country and world. Anti-immigrant protestors blocking buses filled with undocumented Central American migrant children, some adults, from reaching a border patrol station in the southern California community of Murrieta.

The children aboard the buses were just some of the more than 52,000 minors, many of them unaccompanied by adults, who have been detained by immigration authorities since October. It's the largest influx of asylum seekers into the U.S. since 1980.

There are so many migrant children arriving, temporary immigration holding facilities along the border have been filled to capacity, and the children have been flown to other parts of the country, for shelter and care at military bases and other facilities. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of migrants, the government has turned to faith communities for help.

Read or watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Mexico* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 21, 2014 at 5:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The arguments against assisted suicide are strongly held. Many people object on moral or religious grounds, while some doctors say that it conflicts with their oath to “do no harm”. Opponents add that vulnerable people may feel pressure to spare their carers the burden—or, worse, may be bullied into choosing suicide. And there is a broader argument that allowing assisted suicide in some cases will create a slippery slope, with ever more people being allowed (or forced) to take their own lives, even for trivial reasons.

But the arguments in favour are more compelling. In a pluralistic society, the views of one religion should not be imposed on everybody. Those with a genuine moral objection to assisted suicide need not participate. What a doctor sees as harm a patient may see as relief; and anyway it is no longer standard for medical students to take the Hippocratic oath. The hardest argument concerns vulnerable people: they may indeed feel pressure, but that is simply a reason to set up a robust system of counselling and psychiatric assessment, requiring the agreement of several doctors that a patient is in their right mind and proceeding voluntarily.

It is also true that as some countries relax their restrictions on assisted suicide, the practice will become more common and there will probably be pressure for other restrictions to be removed. But there is nothing unusual in this. Moral absolutes are rare. When faced with dilemmas societies draw boundaries and carve out exceptions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKEurope* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 21, 2014 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

1 The French don’t care about affairs. Extramarital affairs are widely viewed as morally unacceptable around the world, with one notable exception: France. Only 47% of the French said having an extramarital affair was morally unacceptable in our 2013 survey, while four-in-ten thought it was not a moral issue, and 12% said it was actually morally acceptable. France was the only country out of the 40 we surveyed where less than half of respondents described infidelity as unacceptable. This laissez-faire attitude also extends to premarital sex: only 6% of the French view it as morally unacceptable.

2 The French work less and vacation more than most others. People in France work 1,479 hours a year, much less than the OECD average of 1,765 hours and the U.S. average of 1,790 hours. France also has the most generous amount of paid vacation among 21 of the world’s wealthiest nations, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingMarriage & FamilySexuality* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 21, 2014 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Grant, O blessed Lord, that thy Church in this our day may hear anew thy call to launch out into the deep in the service of thy glorious gospel; that souls for whom thou hast died may be won for thee, to the increase of thy kingdom and the glory of thy holy name.

--Frank Colquhoun

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

July 21, 2014 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

--Romans 13:8-14

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

July 21, 2014 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in the past 48 hours, open-source intelligence – and information gathered by national intelligence agencies – has built up a compelling body of evidence that seems to point to what – and who – shot down the Malaysia Airlines jet and its 298 innocent passengers over eastern Ukraine.

It suggests pro-Russian separatists and Russian military personnel shot down MH17, by mistake, with a Buk-M1 surface-to-air missile launcher from near the towns of Snizhne and Torez, according to briefings given by Ukrainian and US intelligence officials at the weekend.

The officials say the missile system was probably supplied by Russia and smuggled across the border into eastern Ukraine in recent weeks.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesTravel* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeRussiaUkraine* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

July 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm - 6 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seventy Palestinians were killed Sunday in a heavy bombardment of a Gaza neighborhood and 13 Israeli soldiers were slain in the most intense day of fighting in Israel’s current offensive against Hamas fighters, officials said. The Hamas military also announced that its fighters had captured an Israeli soldier.

Abu Obaida, a spokesman for the Al Qassam Brigades, appeared on Hamas TV to announce the soldier had been taken prisoner. Minutes later, there were fireworks and shouts of “God is great!” from loud speakers.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army was investigating the claim.

Read it all and join in as we continue to pray for peace.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli Struggle* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A woman in her late 20s came to see me recently because her back hurt. She works at a child care center in town where she picks up babies and small children all day long.

She felt a twinge in her lower back when hoisting a fussy kid. The pain was bad enough that she went home from work early and was laid out on the couch until she came to see me the next day.

In my office she told me she had "done some damage" to her back. She was worried. She didn't want to end up like her father, who'd left his factory job in his mid-50s on disability after suffering what she called permanent damage to his back.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetHealth & MedicinePsychologyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Canada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

July 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Merrick shares, “What I found helpful is to read those people who are being discussed and try and understand what they’re saying,” for two reasons:

You become a better thinker by honing your argument.
You become a more generous, thoughtful thinker.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

July 20, 2014 at 3:15 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[On Friday]...hundreds of locals flocked to St James in West Hampstead to celebrate the post office's grand opening.

Father Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who made the decision to mix consumerism with spiritualism, said: "We're bringing a service to the local community which is an expression of Christian love.

"The local post office closed and there was nowhere else for a new one to go.

"An awful lot of hard work has gone on to make it happen, but it was worth it - God has provided."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

July 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tommy Underwood wasn’t even born when Billy Graham made his preaching debut in Florida, yet the Putnam County native easily recalls stories of the fledgling minister. The one about Billy Graham’s first sermon, for instance, was a particular favorite of Underwood’s late father, and, during a recent visit to the Billy Graham Library, Underwood shared the tale.

It was Easter weekend in 1937 when Billy Graham accompanied his college dean Rev. John Minder on a trip north of Tampa to Palatka, Florida. Tommy Underwood’s father, Cecil, greeted them and asked Minder if he would preach the upcoming weekend at nearby Bostwick Baptist Church. Minder declined and volunteered Billy Graham, much to the 18-year-old’s bewilderment. With knees knocking and four borrowed sermons to fall back on, Billy Graham delivered one after another in front of the 40 or so parishioners.

He concluded his first career sermon eight minutes later.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

July 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rory McIlroy had to work a little harder, sweat a little more. No matter. Just like his other two majors, this Open Championship was never really in doubt.

Staked to a six-shot lead going into the final round, McIlroy turned back brief challenges with key birdies around the turn and a majestic drive at just the right moment to close with a 1-under 71 and complete a wire-to-wire victory at Royal Liverpool.

In another major lacking drama over the final hour, what brought the Open Championship to life was the potential of its champion.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSportsYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

July 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Have you ever heard a sermon about body image?

Aside from the occasional side comment, I've never heard body image given substantial treatment from the pulpit or serious attention from leaders in the church, which is surprising since body image is not a marginal issue in our culture.

Statistics vary, but research shows that somewhere between 80 percent and 90 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. Although the percentage of women with severe eating disorders is between 0.5 percent and 3.7 percent, roughly 3 out of 4 engage in some form of disordered eating.

And in 2013, women had more than 10.3 million surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, signifying a 471 percent increase since 1997. The top procedures were breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck, breast lift, and eyelid surgery.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

July 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

James Garner, the US star of hit TV series The Rockford Files and Maverick and films including The Great Escape, has died aged 86.

Garner had suffered ill health since a severe stroke in 2008.

"Mr Garner died of natural causes," the West LA Division of the Los Angeles Police Department told the BBC, adding he died on Saturday and his body has been released to his family.

His publicist confirmed to the BBC that he died at home.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMovies & Television* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

July 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm - 7 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rodney Durham stopped working in 1991, declared bankruptcy and lives on Social Security. Nonetheless, Wells Fargo lent him $15,197 to buy a used Mitsubishi sedan.

“I am not sure how I got the loan,” Mr. Durham, age 60, said.

Mr. Durham’s application said that he made $35,000 as a technician at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, N.Y., according to a copy of the loan document. But he says he told the dealer he hadn’t worked at the hospital for more than three decades. Now, after months of Wells Fargo pressing him over missed payments, the bank has repossessed his car.

This is the face of the new subprime boom. Mr. Durham is one of millions of Americans with shoddy credit who are easily obtaining auto loans from used-car dealers, including some who fabricate or ignore borrowers’ abilities to repay.

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Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You will have been saddened, but probably not surprised, by the General Synod’s vote last Monday on women bishops. This was the logical outcome of the decision in 1993 to enable women to be ordained to the presbyterate in the Church of England. That decision prompted the formation of Reform and since then we have actively sought to urge the Church to reform herself under the authority of the Word of God.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

July 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

July 20, 2014 at 6:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is one of those beautiful Sunday mornings England seems to do so well: sunlight streams across wet grass and the air is filled with the busy chatter of sparrows and the sweet, milky smell of the calves across the way. In hundreds of churches people will be gathering, as we ourselves will gather, to sing the praises of God, ask his intercession and celebrate his sacraments. It is a world away from the horrors of war and exile; but war and exile is precisely what many people are experiencing. There are over 50 million refugees in the world today, and yesterday their number was increased as Christians fled Mosul, Iraq, and those who could, fled northern Gaza.

I find it heartbreaking that we as a nation are standing by as the ancient heartlands of Christianity are ripped apart and destroyed....

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesCoptic ChurchOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

July 20, 2014 at 6:05 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Up until yesterday for someone who has little love for what I consider to be a deeply flawed bill, it’s been pretty depressing following the coverage. The pro-assisted dying lobby are a slick and well oiled machine and it’s most vociferous cheerleaders have been out in force to bang the battered right-to-die drum. In contrast the voices of opposition, at least in the secular mainstream media, have been few and far between. Having spent some time attempting to record as many articles as possible from the papers and the BBC over he last week that have either had an opinion piece or an item on an individual or group with a partisan view, the results have been stark. There have been 34 pieces with strongly held views in favour of assisted dying and only 8 against. In the last day and a bit at least there has been a noticeable increase in the voices opposing the bill. This is partly because the BBC has produced various interviews, being very careful to finally balance their coverage and also because the Guardian somewhat surprisingly came out strongly against the bill and also published a powerful piece by the Bishop of Worcester whose wife died of cancer in April. Andrew Lloyd Webber has also revealed that he contacted Dignitas whilst struggling with depression last year seeking to end his life, but now believes that taking such action would have been “stupid and ridiculous”.

It’s not that those in favour have more to talk about, it’s more that the same things have been said more frequently. Predictably, so much of this talk has been emotive and far less has been focused on the mechanics of what assisted dying would look like in practice. ComRes have published a poll today that finds that although 73 per cent of the public back assisted dying in principle, this dwindles to 43% when they are presented with (mostly empirical) arguments against it. Doctors who need to be listened to and considered more than any other group still overwhelmingly oppose assisted dying, but you probably wouldn’t know it from the coverage in the last few weeks.

Having trawled the internet it has become apparent that much of what has been driving the media coverage has been the religious aspect.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMediaReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

July 20, 2014 at 5:50 am - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who hast called us out of the bondage of sin into the perfect freedom of thy children: Grant us grace that we may yield ourselves unto thee as alive from the dead, and our bodily members as servants of righteousness; that we may have our fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Henry Alford

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

July 20, 2014 at 5:25 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

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