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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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The live service from St Helena's, Beaufort, SC has ended but the service will be available to listen to each Sunday at 10:15 am Eastern Time [3:15 pm London Time] here
What is the future for Iraq's Christians? - Canon Andrew White Interview
Mosul Christian: Thanks for Changing Your #WeAreN Photo - Christianity Today
Sunday Service from the Buxton Festival with Mozart’s Missa Brevis in B flat
Prayer for South Carolina
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources
When asked if he had planned to lead the diocese out of TEC, he said, “Absolutely not.” He explained that no one had ever asked him to lead the diocese out and said it only decided to leave after TEC had taken steps to remove him as bishop – violating its own process for doing that.
The bishop also contradicted testimony from earlier in the week, in which TEC witnesses claimed that the denomination has supreme authority over its dioceses and congregations. The bishop said that he shared the opinion of 14 other bishops that TEC has no actual authority over its member dioceses.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina * Theology
 A review of the evidence presented in this case, including testimony from Dr. Mullin, the Church's own witness, does not clearly demonstrate the existence of a hierarchical relationship between the Diocese and the Church. Indeed, the Church's authority is not readily ascertainable without an impermissible investigation into matters of polity. Moreover, the central matter underlying the parties' dispute is: "who owns the disputed property." Determining whether the Diocese could leave the Church or identifying the leaders of the continuing diocese is unnecessary for purposes of answering that question. Again, such determinations would necessarily involve an extensive inquiry into church polity. With regard to the issue of the disputed property, however, we agree with the trial court it can be resolved by applying neutral principles of law.
 An examination of the evidence reveals nothing to demonstrate an express trust, an implied trust, or any other interest vested in the Church. As stated, neither the deed nor the Discretionary Agency Agreement provides for an express trust in favor of the Church. Further, our review of the Diocese's constitution and canons does not suggest diocesan assets were ever impliedly held in trust for the Church. After Jones, the Church adopted a trust canon (Title I.7.4, referred to by the parties as the Dennis Canon). That canon provides parish property is held in trust for the Diocese and Church and restricts a parish's ability to dispose of its property. However, it appears undisputed the Church's canons do not contain similar language with respect to diocesan property being held in favor of the Church. In addition, Bonner testified the Dennis Canon does not apply to property owned by a diocese. Our review of the record reveals nothing to suggest the opposite conclusion. Accordingly, the trial court's findings in this regard are not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
 In sum, the evidence presented demonstrates title to the funds and real property lies with the Diocese. Following our review of the record, we cannot say the trial court's findings were arbitrary, unreasonable, or not otherwise based on the evidence. Nor can we say the opposite conclusion is clearly apparent in this case. As a result, the court did not err in finding in favor of the Diocese. We commend the trial court for its detailed order, which we found quite helpful in reviewing this matter.
 For the reasons stated, we affirm the trial court's judgment and deny the Church's motion to substitute party.
 Affirmed; motion denied.
Read it all [pdf] [h/t Stand Firm]
Note: An article with important background to today's decision is here.
UPDATE: Don't miss Allan Haley's analysis of this decision at Anglican Curmudgeon
Latest news Diocese of SC and on Facebook and Twitter
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
July 6: A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Mark Lawrence Regarding the Upcoming Trial
July 26: South Carolina Diocesan Trial Day 14—Drama Ends with the Testimony of Bishop Mark Lawrence
July 25: Diocese of South Carolina Trial—Jeremy Bonner gives an account of Yesterday’s proceedings
July 24: Trial Day 13: Expert in Religious History Allen Guelzo Testifies TEC Holds No Control Over Dioceses
July 24: Diocese of SC Day 12: TEC Uses Bishop vonRosenberg to Claim Dioceses Can’t Leave
July 23: Diocese of SC Trial Day 11-TEC Spends Day Making Arguments Judge Rules Irrelevant
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.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Polity & Canons * Admin Featured (Sticky) * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina
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.
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 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
A local religious leader and mayor was also abducted from the same town.
Separately, at least five people in northern Nigeria were killed in a blast - residents suspect Boko Haram.
Boko Haram has stepped up cross-border attacks into Cameroon in recent weeks, as the army was deployed to the region.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Cameroon Nigeria
The Most Rev Justin Welby acknowledged that the vote at the General Synod earlier this month would be a “further difficulty” on the tortuous road towards eventual unity between the two churches which formally separated in the 16th Century.
But in a letter to the Pope and other global church leaders including leading orthodox patriarchs, he asked for prayers for the Church of England, telling them: “We need each other.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Women * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Francis * Theology
We know already that asserting one kind of belief shapes one’s willingness to commit to another. Benoit Monin, a professor of organizational behavior and psychology at Stanford, and his colleagues have found that when people do something that affirms their lack of prejudice, like disagreeing with blatant racism or expressing willingness, in a laboratory experiment, to hire a black person instead of a white one, that reasonable moral action seems to license them later to express views that seem racist. Seeing yourself as morally reasonable might allow you to make morally risky choices.
So perhaps rejecting the extreme position (I don’t believe in that) might make a less extreme, but still uncertain, commitment seem more plausible. Indeed, you can make a case that this is why heresy is so important. “What people do not believe is often more clearly articulated than what they do believe,” the sociologist Lester R. Kurtz wrote in 1983, “and it is through battles with heresies and heretics that orthodoxy is most sharply delineated.” The sociologists would explain that if this is true, it is because people unite most profoundly in opposition to a common enemy.
Read it all from the NY Times Op-ed.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * South Carolina * Theology Christology Theology: Scripture
Canon White, on a weekend visit to the UK where he visited churches including the Chiswick Christian Centre and The Church of the Ascension in Balham, said numbers in St George's Baghdad had decreased from 6,500 to 1,000.
Many fled to Mosul, across the river Tigris from the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh. Now they have been forced by ISIS to flee Mosul also, most escaping to Kurdistan.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Read it all.
Minutes after the opposition Congress and an independent legislator staged a walked out demanding a clarification from Co-operation Minister Deepak Dhavalikar for his Thursday's comments that India would become a Hindu nation if everyone supported Modi, Deputy Chief Minister Francis D'Souza dropped another bombshell, saying India was always a Hindu country and that he was Christian Hindu.
"India is a Hindu country. It is Hindustan. All Indians in Hindustan are Hindus, including I, am a Christian Hindu," D'Souza, one of the seniormost minority members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa, told reporters in the assembly complex.
The 'Hindu nation' comments have found backers amongst Hindu right wing groups, but have also been the target of criticism from other politicians as well as civil society commentators on the social media.
Read it all.
Around 100 members of West Hamilton Anglican Parish left the Rifle Range Road church last week under the Rev Michael Hewat and his wife Kimberley Hewat's leadership. The departure came following months of discussion of a controversial motion passed in May by the General Synod of the Anglican Church in New Zealand and Polynesia.
The motion aimed to establish a working group to recommended a process and structure which included a "yet-to-be-developed liturgy for blessing right ordered same-gender relationships".
The Hewats, supported by 95 per cent of the congregation who attended a special meeting this month, opposed the motion on the grounds that it was contrary to the teachings of the Bible.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Russia’s aggressive militarism and expansionism are a threat to more than just Ukraine; they are a threat to Europe, to the rule of law and to the values that bind Western nations. Canada will not stand idly by in the face of this threat.
That is why we have taken a strong stand, imposing a broad range of sanctions against those entities and individuals responsible for the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Since the start of the crisis in Ukraine, Canada has imposed sanctions on nearly 150 individuals and entities. Earlier this week we broadened our approach, announcing economic sanctions against key sectors of the Russian economy.
Read it all.
Read or watch and listen to it all.
And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house as the sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.
Our Father in heaven,
We lift up the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina–the parishes, the litigation teams, and the bishops. May they seek You and dedicate themselves to become households of faith, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord, a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Amen.
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 prayers which during this time will be weekly we understand.
The rising death toll in the Gaza Strip conflict propelled U.S. and European diplomats huddled in Paris to call for an extension of a 12-hour humanitarian truce Saturday that had afforded both sides a brief respite from the nearly three-week-old conflict.
Late Saturday, Israel approved a 24-hour extension of the truce but said it would retaliate if Hamas prevented its forces from continuing to destroy tunnel networks through which the militants have attempted to infiltrate Israel. Hamas fighters, though, resumed firing rockets and mortar rounds into Israel.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Middle East Israel The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle
In an apology published late Friday night, editor Ben Smith acknowledged that one of the site’s most prolific writers, Benny Johnson, had plagiarized the work of others 40 times in some 500 articles and posts. Johnson has been fired, Smith said.
Johnson’s plagiarism began coming to light on Wednesday after Twitter users and a blog called “Our Bad Media” began reporting instances in which he took other’s work without crediting his sources.
Read it all.
Got a promotion? Your spouse could respond actively or passively, constructively or destructively. The best would be active/constructive: “I know you’ve worked so hard for this! Let’s celebrate.” The worst would be active/destructive: “Wow, do you really think you can handle this extra responsibility?” Somewhere in between are a “[yawn] That’s nice, dear,” or worse, “Did you pick up my dry cleaning?”
Celebrating each other’s triumphs is a no-brainer for Atherton and Bert Drenth, a 58-year-old health care company owner and a 60-year-old service rep for hospital lab equipment in Guelph, Ontario. The couple agree that they have been “each other’s best cheerleaders,” throughout their marriage. When Bert gave Atherton the news, for example, that he’d landed a great new job, she told him, “All your hard work, integrity, reliability, and attention to detail really paid off. I am so proud of you.”
Read it all.
For Afghans, the elections are broadly perceived as their last chance before the bulk of foreign troops leave and global development commitment drops even further. Nevertheless, even though Afghans have traditionally proved adept at compromise, the voting abuses may have gone too far. People went to the polls to have their say. To have their vote turned into a shared coalition government primarily because of corruption and abuse of the voting process may only be sending the message that there is no point in democracy.
Yet this does not mean the West should abandon Afghanistan. The last time the West lost interest was after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. This led to a ruthless civil war during the early 1990s followed by the rise of the Taliban supported by Al Qaeda, Pakistan, and even the United States. By the time Washington understood what was happening, it was too late.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General War in Afghanistan * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Asia Afghanistan * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
We owe thanks to the Monuments Men and curators of our culture for rescuing and preserving treasures that would otherwise have vanished from view. But what of the civilization that produced these great works? Are we heading for a future in which our sacred objects will survive essentially as museum pieces? We need not only to preserve the past but also to reanimate it, to let it inform our prayer and thought, and thus to reanimate ourselves by recovering what is good and beautiful in our tradition.
Read it all.
"The authorities contacted us a long, long time ago about this individual, saying that they were concerned about him and just kind of warning us," Aasim Rashid, a spokesman for the association, said in an interview Friday. His group is the largest Sunni Muslim organization in the province, representing about 80,000 Sunnis.
Yusufzai, 25, had attended the Al-Salaam mosque in Burnaby before leaving Canada in January, but Rashid said he was not a member. RCMP allege he left the country to join an group of Islamist fighters and charged him on July 17 with acting "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * Economics, Politics Terrorism * International News & Commentary Canada * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
The ruling over the ownership of money and endowments as well as the property of parishes and missions was handed down Thursday in Springfield by the Illinois 4th District Appellate Court.
Locally, members of the Trinity Anglican Church in Rock Island celebrated the decision.
Read it all.
The move marks the clearest signal to date that Europe is prepared to change its cautious approach towards the Kremlin over the Ukraine crisis.
In a letter sent late on Friday to Europe’s prime ministers, Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, said the sanctions package – which is directed at Russia’s financial, energy and defence industries – “strikes the right balance”.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending The Banking System/Sector Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Europe Russia Ukraine * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Many roads were barely passable, and almost quiet. Women did not wail. The men looked stunned. Their neighborhoods were reduced to ugly piles of gray dust, shattered cement block and twisted rebar.
Huge bomb craters marked the spot where on Friday four-story apartment blocks stood. On some streets, it seemed as if every house was either riddled with bullet holes or shrapnel spray, charred by flames, or leveled.
The scale of the damage from Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire was the worst seen in 19 days. Much of the damage witnessed Saturday occurred in the past 24 to 48 hours, as diplomats debated the terms of a possible truce.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Middle East Israel The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
[Bp Mark] Lawrence later told reporters “I’m hopeful and will continue to pray for Judge Goodstein and guidance as she rules on this.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Conflicts * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina * Theology
The man died after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday, in the first Ebola case in Africa's most populous country.
Surveillance has been stepped up at all "airports, seaports and land borders", says Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu.
Since February, more than 660 people have died of Ebola in West Africa - the world's deadliest outbreak to date.
Read it all.
--The Pastor's Prayer Book
Shalil Abdullah, the Sudanese minister for guidance and religious endowments, made the announcement on July 12, sparking criticism from top Christian clerics who warned of shrinking worship space in the mainly Muslim and Arab north.
After South Sudan’s independence in 2011, many Christians moved to the newly formed country, which has a large Christian population. But a sizable number remained.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Sudan --North Sudan --South Sudan * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
She knew then that the wedding of her fellow Boulder residents would be just a little different from the ones she had attended in the past.
The Meisels and Melshenker nuptials looked as if their inspiration had come not from the pages of Martha Stewart Weddings but from High Times. All of the floral arrangements, including the bride’s bouquet, contained a variety of white flowers mixed with marijuana buds and leaves. Mr. Melshenker and his groomsmen wore boutonnieres crafted out of twine and marijuana buds, and Mr. Melshenker’s three dogs, who were also in attendance, wore collars made of cannabis buds, eucalyptus leaves and pink ribbons.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Drugs/Drug Addiction Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Young Adults * Economics, Politics Politics in General State Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
This presents the Jewish community (and others too) with an unprecedented challenge—but also, perhaps, with a unique opportunity. I believe that Jewish institutions and their rabbis should actively encourage non-Jewish family members in our midst to take the next step and formally commit to Judaism.
To some this may seem a surprising idea. It is well known that Judaism has not been a proselytizing faith. Historically, Jewish authorities were wary of potential converts. The rabbis sought to make sure that converts were motivated solely by devotion to the God of Israel and the desire to join the people of Israel. Conversion purely for the sake of marriage was disallowed.
Read it all.
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