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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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An unusual miracle recorded in Eadmer of Canterbury's Life of St Dunstan, written in the early years of the twelfth century:
[Dunstan], while setting up his hospices at suitable intervals in his villages which were far afield from Canterbury, built a wooden church at Mayfield, just as he had in the locations of his other hospices. And while he was dedicating it and walking around it according to ritual he noticed that it was not aligned with the rising of the sun at the equinox; it is related that while passing near it he pushed it slightly with his shoulder and immediately changed it from its former orientation into direct alignment with the East where he wanted it. No one doubts that he could do this easily unless there exists someone who doubts the words of Christ our Lord in which he promises to those who have faith like a mustard seed that they can move even a mountain with their words.
Read it all and don't miss the diagram on the first day of Fall 2016.
Sermon from 1 Timothy 2:1-7 & Luke 16:1-13. QUESTIONS for Small Groups: (1) In 1 Timothy 2:1, Paul mentions various types of prayer (supplication, intercession, thanksgiving)...when you pray, what type of prayer do you typically default to? (2) What are some practical ways that you can grow in your prayer life? (3) Jesus is the Mediator for ALL people. Is there anyone you have considered beyond the reach of God's love? How can you pray for that person and reach out to them? (4) If a stranger asked you, "Is the Christian faith inclusive or exclusive, how would you answer?
You can listen directly there or download it here.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics Spirituality/Prayer * South Carolina * Theology Christology Theology: Scripture
Declines in Episcopal Church membership continue a downward spiral that began in the early 2000s. Updated statistics made available this week by the Episcopal Church Office of Research show a denomination continuing a gradual, uninterrupted decline in 2015. The U.S.-based denomination shed 37,669 members in 2015, a decline of -2.1 percent, while attendance declined -20,631, down -3.4 percent. A net 43 parishes closed, bringing the denominational total to 6,510 congregations.
The pattern is consistent with past years, in which dioceses in New England, the Rust Belt and predominantly rural areas post sharp declines, while dioceses in the South either retain their numbers or decline at a more gradual rate.
Episcopal Church officials, including former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori — who completed a nine-year term in office in late 2015 — have predicted that decline would level off after years of internal dispute and the departure of dioceses, congregations and individual members. While there were no major congregational departures in 2015, the denomination still exceeded its baseline rate of decline of approximately 28,000 members a year by a substantial margin. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has struck an optimistic tone, encouraging the church to embrace its role in “the Jesus Movement” even as he seeks to address a workplace culture marked by “fear, mistrust and resentment” at the church’s national headquarters.
Read it all.
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Changing Attitude have welcomed the establishment of a Reflection Group under the leadership of Right Reverend Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. Whilst expressing disappointment that a group tasked with reflecting on issues of human sexuality does not appear to include any openly gay people, we recognise that this simply reflects the reality within the church’s leadership - that LGBT people are invisible, our voices often silenced, and our experiences unheard. We welcome the opportunities which have arisen as part of the Shared Conversations to included the lived experience, deep conviction and prophetic witness of gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and we recognise the enormously costly nature of the contribution many people have made to that process.
The Reflection Group must now consider the Church’s steps into the future. In doing so, they will be called to listen carefully to all they have heard during the Shared Conversations. We call upon them to lead the House of Bishops towards a future that celebrates the gifts of all God's people including the LGBTI members of the Church of England and embodies the radical equality to which we are called in Christ.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The problems noted earlier in relation to Stott and evangelicals may have seemed minor details or differences in subjective interpretation but they are in fact signs of one of the book’s most fundamental weaknesses: regular basic inaccuracies. This is perhaps not surprising given the original print run had to be recalled because it contained at least one error so serious that it had to be removed to prevent a libel action. Nevertheless, the number and range of errors is astonishing. We are told that the Blair government (elected in 1997) passed legislation “in the early 1990s” (110), that a bishop saw events in 2007 as “God’s commentary on same-sex marriage” (128, although same-sex marriage was not introduced to Parliament until 2013) and that David Hope was Archbishop of York (149) when he described his sexuality as a “grey area” (although it was several months before that appointment when he was Bishop of London). In one place there is even the appearance of careful research when it is claimed that “the electors of the diocese of New Hampshire came to choose a new bishop in the summer of 2003 – five years to the day after resolution I.10 was carried at Lambeth” (170) but the claim is false. The authors seem to have confused his election by the diocese – which was in July, although they explicitly date it to August – with its confirmation by the General Convention. In the short space of two pages (200-201) we find a crude caricature of the Anglican Covenant, a claim that FOCA later became GAFCON (when it was GAFCON that launched the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans) and a description of the decision in 1992 not to secure women bishops at the same time as women priests as an “odd half-measure…dreamt up as a way to respect the ‘integrity’ of the different sides in the battle” when it was much more a matter of realpolitik – given how hard it proved to secure a 2/3 majority even for women priests (as described in chpt 5, p. 86) to have included women bishops in the legislation as well would have been to ensure its defeat. Given such recurrent lapses of memory or poor research on matters of public record, the many often entertaining and scurrilous but unverifiable vignettes of personal experience frequently used to illustrate and support their picture of the CofE need to be taken with a very large pinch of salt.
Read it all.
Anglican Bishops in Nigeria on Wednesday appealed to the Niger Delta militants to stop the bombing of the oil facilities in their region, saying that shutting down the economy will not address their grievances.
They appealed to the militants to sheath the swords and give peace a chance in the interest of all Nigerians.
Delivering his opening address at the ongoing Church of Nigeria Standing Committee holding in Awka, the Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev'd. Nicholas Okoh, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to convene a roundtable meeting between the government and them in order to address their grievances.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Culture-Watch Violence * Economics, Politics Economy Energy, Natural Resources Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
It's been  years since Hugo tore into the Lowcountry, its eye passing just north of Charleston Harbor and leaving an indelible scar on the lives of the people who lived it.
If a storm that powerful made landfall today just south of Hugo's path, at Kiawah Island, the buzz saw of its worst, north-side winds would shear nearly all of the Charleston metro area and the storm surge would submerge the barrier islands.
According to an experimental Hazus computer model run by a College of Charleston team, a landfall just south of the city from a Hugo-scale hurricane could tear up nearly half the homes in the region and destroy tens of thousands of them. Tens of thousands of people would be homeless, at least temporarily, and thousands forced to shelters. Businesses and jobs could come to a standstill, and the loss to the economy alone could be far more than $2 billion.
Read it all.
The Rev. Kevin Robertson was among three priests elected suffragan bishops at a synod of the diocese of Toronto, Saturday, September 17. Photo: Diocese of Toronto
A gay man living with a male partner is among three priests to have been elected suffragan bishops in the diocese of Toronto this weekend.
On Saturday, September 17, members of an electoral synod elected the Rev. Riscylla Walsh Shaw, Canon Kevin Robertson and Canon Jenny Andison as suffragan, or assistant, bishops. Each will be responsible for one of the diocese’s four episcopal areas: York-Scarborough, York-Credit Valley, Trent-Durham and York-Simcoe. Archbishop Colin Johnson, diocesan bishop, will decide which bishop will serve in each area. Bishop Peter Fenty is currently the bishop responsible for York-Simcoe.
Canon Kevin Robertson, incumbent at Christ Church, Deer Park in Toronto, was elected on the fourth ballot of the second election. According to an article on the diocese of Toronto website, Robertson, who lives with his male partner, said it was a “historic day.” He said he believed he was the first openly gay and partnered bishop-elect in the diocese and perhaps even in the entire Anglican Church of Canada.
His election, Robertson said, together with this summer’s provisional vote at General Synod to allow same-sex marriages, showed a growing acceptance of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people in the church.
Read it all. You can read more about the Suffragan Bishop-elect there.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
On May 3, 1817, he conducted the first...[Episcopal] service in Columbus at the Buckeye House hotel.
Four days later, he preached again at the High Street home of storekeeper Lincoln Goodale. “Some of those who came were merely curious. Others believed that God’s inerrant providence brought them to that spot. All listened with reverence as Chase intoned the service from the Book of Common Prayer and preached to them,” Lisa M. Klein wrote in her 2003 history of Trinity Episcopal Church, Be It Remembered.
Read it all.
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the pioneer and perfecter of our faith We give thee heartfelt thanks for the pioneering spirit of thy servant Philander Chase, and for his zeal in opening new frontiers for the ministry of thy Church. Grant us grace to minister in Christ's name in every place, led by bold witnesses to the Gospel of the Prince of Peace, even Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Blessed Lord, who putteth down the mighty from their seat and exaltest those of low degree: Save us, we beseech thee, from pride and vainglory, from self-seeking and false ambition. Give us a humble and contrite spirit, that we may think less of ourselves, more of others, and most of all of thee, who art our mighty God and Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit we ascribe all praise and glory, now and for evermore.
And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to pronounce the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, mastered all of them, and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; and fear fell upon them all; and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. Many also of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all; and they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew and prevailed mightily.
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