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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.
I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.
Listen to it all below - quote is from 11 mins 20 seconds in.
The previous report from January 23rd, 2015 on a meeting with David Porter is here
All this points to a time ahead of stress and uncertainty for Anglicanism in the United States. ACI believes that the following elements, however, must be recognized and acted upon if this time ahead is to prove fruitful rather than simply destructive.
First, we must acknowledge that TEC as a national body is no longer recognizably “Anglican” in an Anglican-Communion sense. A broad range of commonly defining features of Anglican Communion churches – e.g. the Lambeth Quadrilateral, which makes Scripture the “rule and ultimate standard of faith”; the definition of Anglicanism specified in TEC’s own constitution and in 1930 Lambeth Conference Resolution 49 (i.e., “upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer”); other Lambeth resolutions including 1998 I.10; the Windsor Report and its moratoria that were subsequently adopted by all the Instruments of Communion; the framework of an Anglican Communion “Common Law” (as N. Doe and others have identified it), etc. — no longer exists in TEC.
Second, dioceses, bishops, priests, and laity who are currently members of TEC, but who do continue to hold their identity within the common Anglican elements noted above, need to set about, corporately and in a coordinated way, to work with the larger Anglican Communion for a way forward. That kind of work has, in the past, been subverted by a range of local and larger factors, including personal ones. Something different has to happen at this point, and both the American and Communion leadership concerned with this must work with a new consultative forthrightness and clarity.
Third, we believe that American Communion-minded Anglicans must formally call on Canterbury, and the Primates to respond to the need expressed above expeditiously and constructively. Past reticence, foot-dragging, deference to local politics, and simple failures to follow through are no longer viable ways forward.
Fourth, we urge friends and ecumenical partners to play a consultative, constructive and creative role in this process.
Insofar as TEC has claimed it has a life in the Anglican Communion it cares about, just to that degree it is necessary for the Anglican Communion to clarify what that might be, in the light of General Convention actions and the new self-understanding in NEC. General Convention has acted and declared its mind. What will the response of the Anglican Communion be?
Read it all, carefully
Today’s judgment brings to a close a process started on Aug. 30, 2013, when the Supreme Court of Texas ordered that the case, initially decided using a “deference” approach, return to the trial court and that the court reconsider the parties' claims, applying the Neutral Principles approach instead.
The trial court’s ruling now becomes appealable, and the TEC-affiliated plaintiffs have indicated their intention to ask the Second Court of Appeals for a review. In early August the court is expected to issue an order stating terms that will allow the TEC-affiliated congregation of All Saints’, Fort Worth, to remain in the property it now occupies during the duration of the appeal.
We give thanks for our many blessings, for God’s work among us, and for the Hope of Salvation that is within us. We are thankful, too, for the patient endurance of all those who have prayed and labored for this day, especially our legal team, their associates, and their families.
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The TEC parties have said they plan to appeal the final judgment to the Second Circuit Court of Appeal. However, any such appeal will be guided by the “neutral principles of law” announced by the Texas Supreme Court when it reversed Judge Chupp’s original judgment in their favor, based upon his belief that he was required by Texas law to defer to the “hierarchical” Episcopal Church. Under neutral principles, the Texas courts look solely to the documents establishing a party’s title: whose name is on the deeds, what trusts have been recorded, and what (if anything) the Church’s governing documents say about a diocese’s ability to amend its own constitution so as to remove its affiliation with the Episcopal Church.
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Take the time to read through it all (74 page pdf).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Conflicts TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Please remember Bishop John Ellison in your prayers: [George Conger] Border-crossing charges filed against British Bishop
Here are the links to posts that have been recently featured at the top of the blog or on topical issues.
+ Bp Mouneer Anis’s statement regarding the US Supreme Court Ruling for same-sex marriage (July 10, 2015)
+ Church of Uganda’s response to TEC’s General Convention and USA Supreme Court decision (July 7, 2015)
+ Reform: Response to the US Episcopal Church Resolution on Marriage (July 7, 2015)
+ GAFCON Primates’ Council: TEC decision ‘a mistake with serious consequences’ (July 6, 2015)
+ Statement from the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas (July 5, 2015)
+ Statement by the Central American and Communion Partner Bishops (July 2, 2015)
+ Global South Statement on TEC marriage vote—“we are deeply grieved again” (July 2, 2015)
+ (Wash Post) TEC approves religious weddings for same-sex couples after controversial debate (July 2, 2015)
+ A.S. Haley—TEC Bishops Bless Blasphemy at General Convention (July 1, 2015)
+ AU 190 - Canterbury not happy with TEC Same-sex Marriage Actions (June 30, 2015)
+ Archbishop of Canterbury response to US Episcopal Church Resolution on Marriage (June 30, 2015)
+ Bp Dan Martins reports on the TEC HOB Marriage Decision (June 30, 2015)
+ [ACI] Mark McCall: Good Order And The Re-Definition of Marriage (June 22, 2015)
Top of the pile
+ Statement from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans (July 17, 2015)
+ Talks from the International Catholic Congress of Anglicans - Fort Worth July 13th to 17th (July 14, 2015)
+ CofE General Synod 10th to 13th July 2015 Links (July 10, 2015)
+ Reform Statement on the Archbishop of York (July 9, 2015)
+ Reply Brief Filed by Diocese of South Carolina in SC Supreme Court (July 6, 2015)
This vaccine, developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, and called rVSV-ZEBOV, smuggles one of the Ebola virus’s coat proteins into a person’s body in a Trojan horse called a vesicular stomatitis virus. This is a horse and cattle virus, and does not cause human illness, but its presence is enough to activate the immune system. This then learns to recognise and react to the Ebola coat protein—and thus, the vaccine’s inventors hope, to clobber Ebola, should it arrive in the vaccinated person’s body.
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This world is indeed a dangerous place — Jesus told us that it would be so. With the rise of both militant Islam and the velocity of secularization in the West, Christians cannot afford to remain silent and cease proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. In times like this we must follow the example of men and women like William Carey, John Paton, Bill Wallace, Lottie Moon, and Hudson Taylor. We must remember the words of Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
This is, as the late Carl F.H. Henry advised, a time for evangelical demonstration. Our words of support for the missionary cause are meaningless if we do not produce a new generation of bold, courageous, and committed Christian missionaries. Let us make our convictions clear and commitments firm, even in the face of hostility and danger. Evangelical Christians must take our stand for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone has made atonement for our sins. In a day of hostility and danger, we must point to the only gospel that offers salvation.
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What is it that allows these church plants to fly?
I think a lot of people are unchurched, but there are also a lot of people who are ‘de-churched’. They’ve got a faith of some kind, but they’re looking for a church where they feel at home...There are quite a few people who like to have a relaxed, informal style. They like contemporary worship, a message that hopefully is practical for their life, and somewhere they can receive prayer and community. And it seems that those people are coming back to church.
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He was Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge for 27 years from 1956. When I read New Testament studies as a postgraduate there in 1979-1980, he gave me a small, inspiring grant to study the Catholic, Orthodox, and Reformed churches in Yugoslavia during the summer vacation.
I begin by considering his obituaries and his writing of history, and then will remember his own words on secularization and on the role of friendship in scholarship
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Yet this is the messaging service which could soon be banned by the British government because its use of encryption makes it too private for the security services to access. That at least was the story repeated in several newspapers in recent weeks, and frequently denied by Downing Street.
But this morning even the Financial Times seemed to back it up. In an article about the battle between governments and corporations over access to encrypted messages it says this: "David Cameron, UK prime minister, has proposed a complete ban on strong encryption 'to ensure that terrorists do not have a safe space in which to communicate'."
WhatsApp is just one of the services that uses strong encryption for their messages, along with Apple's iMessage and Skype's internet calls. Both the US and UK governments have expressed growing concerns that criminals and terrorists are making use of such services to communicate, knowing that they are completely private.
So does the prime minister really want to ban them?
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Totally understand that.
So you’re tempted to do what many leaders have done. Instead of bringing about the deep or radical change you know needs to happen, you decide to introduce change incrementally.
Rather than remove the furniture you know needs to go, you move it an inch a week, hoping nobody will notice.
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Finance Statistics 2013 contains information provided by parishes in their annual finance returns.
In the autumn of 2008 the recession hit the economy. For the charitable sector as a whole there was a noticeable decline in income . Parishes were protected during 2009-13 by the dedicated giving of donors, and donor income has increased at the same rate since 2007. However, the increase in donations has not matched the rate of inflation (Tables 3 and 4).
The past ten years saw income exceed expenditure every year until 2008, with a maximum surplus of £60 million in 2007. This was followed by three years where expenditure was greater than income, with a maximum deficit of £21 million in 2010. Parishes have responded well in curtailing expenditure, with the result that in 2013 there was a surplus of £33 million (Table 1).
Read it all [pdf] and the ever optimistic blurb from the CofE Press Office is here and here [pdf]. CofE Statistics for Mission in 2013 may be found here [pdf]
It is no surprise that Two Ways Ministries, named after the internationally successful gospel tract Two Ways to Live that Mr Jensen authored in 1978, has a dual purpose.
“Its aim is to raise up a new generation of gospel-centred preachers through training ministry workers, and to model preaching in churches and conferences, both local and international,” Mr Jensen said.
The former bishop of Wollongong, Al Stewart, is a preaching consultant in the new ministry.
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The four-day training includes the following topics:
Ministry, The Call, History of the Anglican Church, Structure of the Church, Nature of the Church: Catholic and Reformed, Anglican Way of Theology, Anglican Worship, and The Church and Contemporary Issues.
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“Whatever the real figures the scale is enormous. From Syria, Iraq, Iran and Egypt to North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos, from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, from Cuba, Colombia and Mexico to Eritrea, Nigeria and Sudan, Christians face serious violations of religious freedom,” Alton said. Persecution ranged from murder, rape and torture to repressive laws, discrimination and social exclusion.
One consequence was “a form of religio-ethnic cleansing of Christian communities”, said John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), a Catholic campaign group that monitors persecution. “The persecution of Christians is at a level we’ve not seen for many, many years and the main impact is the migration of Christian people. There are huge swaths of the world which are now experiencing a very sharp decline in the number of Christians.”
In the past 15 months, a number of egregious attacks have highlighted the targeting of Christians by Islamic extremists in the Middle East and Africa. They include:
Read it all and there is more information linked here
Thank you so much for mobilising prayers and strong financial support towards the relief work in Nepal over the last 3 months. You have given the people in one of the worse hit areas a sense of hope in the midst of this very trying time.
I am pleased to inform you that through ACROSS, our partners, and the Deanery of Nepal we have, over the last 3 months, sent 7 medical teams (from ACROSS & St John's St Margaret's Church) to Kathmandu and the district of Dhading (Tawal, Choke & Laba village); as well as contributed 2,000 tarpaulins and 1,700 bundles of zinc sheets for temporary shelters for 3,700 families; 500 blankets; 1.5 tonnes of used clothing; water filtration devices and 20 tonnes of rice and food supplies. I wish to also highlight that in the midst of this crisis and relief work, Bishop Rennis travelled to Nepal to ordain 3 local pastors to the Diaconate in Kathmandu.
While it was reported that "Nepal is on the mend" (Straits Times, 25 July 2015), many are in fact still living in temporary shelters and children are attending classes in make shift shelters. This state of living conditions is made even more difficult with the current monsoons which has already caused multiple landslides and flooding. With 530,000 homes and 4,300 schools destroyed in the country, the rebuilding work ahead of us is mammoth. But with God nothing is impossible.
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The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, backed the two Bills, saying that it was necessary to expand the part played by the military. A doctrine of “collective self-defence” was used — even though opinion polls showed that more than half the Japanese public opposed them.
The Anglican Church in Japan, Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK), added its support to the protests in a public letter to Mr Abe, calling for the immediate withdrawal of the new Bills, which have still to pass through the upper house of Japan’s parliament.
In the letter, bishops and other church leaders wrote:...
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"I can spot an old Etonian a mile oﬀ ," I venture, "and your deﬁning characteristic is precisely that kind of phoney diﬃdence."
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'St Peter’s is one of Brighton’s iconic buildings, so when it was due to close there was a huge public outcry and 6,500 people signed the petition to keep it open.
The building is incredible, but it’s also a nightmare because it’s crumbling. I remember giving sermons wearing hard hats. We didn’t have any heating for four winters, so people used to come to church in a hat carrying a hot-water bottle.
I think this is a visual aid for the wider work. The local churches all said that when the building looks like it’s closed and dying on its feet, that sends out the message to Brighton that that’s what God is like as well. But equally if you could do the opposite – open it up, fix it up – then that would send out the message: ‘Wow, the Church is alive and God is on the move.’
When we began, we were about 30, including children: our family and about three other families. If you’re going to attract other people to come, there needs to be a certain group for them to come into, and it’s quite hard to do that with less than 30.
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Our Province is discussing this matter – under the methodology of Indaba – in all instances of the Church. Our new Prayer Book already contemplates a change of language, stabilishing the gender neutrality that is a significant step of inclusivity. This change do not requires us to celebrate matrimony between people of same sex, but we’re open to the future and new pastoral requirements from our time.
We see with joy changing processes in the churches of Canada and Scotland. We see with joy advances in discussion of the theme in the churches of England, Wales, Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.
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On a 100-degree day in Salt Lake City, the crowd of 75 at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center got a taste of what a new network of theologians might produce.
Beyond making peace with persecutors, the Church also has a God-given mission to stand with those who suffer the brunt of unjust systems, both economic and political, said the Most Rev. Francisco De Assis da Silva, Primate of Brazil.
“The charisma is to be beside, aside, or on the side of the people who are suffering too much from unjust structures in politics and in economics,” Archbishop da Silva said. He said a theology of liberation has weakened over time in Latin America as a more conservative, confessional theology gained traction in recent decades. But the time is right for another shift in theological discourse, in his view.
“We have a unique opportunity to change from a confessional position to a more engaged, a more incarnational, theological reflection,” da Silva said.
For his part, Kings said the Anglican Communion’s calling “is to be Catholic, evangelical, and ecumenical.” In practice, that involves the disciplines of meeting together as Anglicans. It also involves remembering how the Church, like the Trinity, is inherently interconnected.
Bishop Kings quoted from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s foreword to Living Reconciliation: “I am eager to encourage each of us to take full account of the way in which decisions of one province echo around the world. The impact of their echoes is something to which we must listen in the course of our decision-making, if we are not to narrow our horizons and reject the breadth of our global family.”
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This neglect stands in striking contrast to the many scholarly and public events in Britain that marked the 2007 bicentennial of that country's banning of the slave trade. There were historical conferences, museum exhibits, even a high-budget film, "Amazing Grace," about William Wilberforce, the leader of the parliamentary crusade that resulted in abolition.
What explains this divergence? Throughout the 1780s, the horrors of the Middle Passage were widely publicized on both sides of the Atlantic, and by 1792 the British Parliament stood on the verge of banning the trade. But when war broke out with revolutionary France, the idea was shelved. Final prohibition came in 1807, and it proved a major step toward the abolition of slavery in the empire.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
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Simon Reynolds, 50, took more than £16,500 handed over to All Saints Church in Darton, Barnsley, for weddings, funerals and churchyard memorials.
Reynolds left Sheffield Crown Court on Thursday lunchtime after the jury went out to consider its verdicts on four counts of theft against him.
He never returned and a Europe-wide search began, with police involving Interpol and senior clergy appealing for the vicar to come back.
Alasdair Cambell, defending, told the judge that his client first went to his Sheffield hotel before travelling to Manchester Airport.
The barrister said Reynolds then meant to go Dublin but, in a state of stress, booked a flight to Dusseldorf instead, where he stayed with a friend.
Mr Campbell said this friend drove him back to his home in Farnham in Surrey, and the defendant then made his way to meet police in Sheffield.
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"It's visibly different from what it looked like in 2012. You can see all of those individual layers of iron. And that's something nobody has seen since the Monitor sank more than 150 years ago."
At 120 tons, the Monitor's famous revolving turret is the largest metal marine artifact ever recovered from the ocean, and the past decade of treatment at The Mariner's Museum in the world's biggest metal conservation lab is expected take another 15 years, Krop said.
During most of that time, the 9-foot-tall cylinder will be immersed in its tank and visible only through the clear treatment solution.
But over the next two weeks, museum visitors will be able to peer into the drained interior from an elevated observation platform as the conservation team inspects the turret and plans for an upcoming treatment campaign.
Read and watch it all
Filed under: * General Interest
The Communist party says the removals are for "the sake of safety and beauty," according to one government official.
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