click on a date to see all the day's entries
About TitusOneNineOld Titusonenine site (Jan04-May07)
Kendall's e-mail (replace -at- with @)
"Elves" e-mail (blog admin)
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
Blog Tips & Info
Info to help you learn your way around the new blog, and posts where you can report problems or offer suggestionsMobile-friendly view (blog headlines): Click Here
Print-friendly view of all articles: Click Here
Recent Comments Page:
Registration & Login Help
Blog Tips Series
The above list is limited to "parent" categories. To see the entire category index and select specific sub-categories, click on "Full Category Index"
Full Category Index
Anglican / Episcopal RSS Feed
©2013 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.
TitusOneNine Links Page
I. Anglican / Episcopal Resources & Links
1. Important Documents
documents are in chronological order, most recent first
Also, don't miss:
2. Websites & Blogs
A. Official websites
B. Anglican / Episcopal News
C. Anglican / Episcopal Blogs
By no means exhaustive. Let us know what we've missed
Previous versions of Titusonenine:
NORTH AMERICAN ANGLICANS:
INTERNATIONAL ANGLICAN BLOGS & BLOGGERS
BLOGGING BISHOPS (US & Overseas)
II. General Resources & Links
YET more links coming soon...! including Non-Anglican links
Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has presided over the blessing of a same-sex union, according to an Arlington clergywoman.
Mother Leslie J. Hague, rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Arlington was joined in “holy union” with her partner, Katie Casteel, at Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring on November 23. The afternoon blessing ceremony followed Hague and Casteel’s civil marriage in nearby Washington, DC exactly one year before. Same-sex marriages are not recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Sunday Worship, available on Apple’s iPhone and iPad, offers full Bible readings for the main Sunday service, together with prayers, based on the Common Worship liturgies launched at the start of the millennium.
This follows two other apps published to support congregations in their prayer. An app for daily prayer reflections is already available and has been downloaded more than 50,000 times. There is also The Lectionary, which contains Bible readings for every service along with full details of feast days throughout the year and has been downloaded 9,000 times. The busiest day for downloads last year was the start of Lent, Ash Wednesday, in February when there were 416 downloads.
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Prayers for the Church of England
Advent Carol Service from St John's College, Cambridge from BBC Radio 3
We are the Earthly Holy Place - Dr Kendall Harmon's sermon from last week based on Philippians 3
Advent Daily Devotional from Trinity School for Ministry
Advent with Lent and Beyond
The live broadcast of Holy Eucharist from St Helena's, Beaufort, SC [pictured] today 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
Sermons are available here
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The singers are Quire Cleveland under the direction of Peter Bennett--KSH.
Lyrics:Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
What about what some call the greatest mission field, which is our own secularizing or secularized culture? What do we need to do to reach this increasingly pagan society? I think we need to say to one another that it’s not so secular as it looks. I believe that these so-called secular people are engaged in a quest for at least three things. The first is transcendence. It’s interesting in a so-called secular culture how many people are looking for something beyond. I find that a great challenge to the quality of our Christian worship. Does it offer people what they are instinctively looking for, which is transcendence, the reality of God?
The second is significance. Almost everybody is looking for his or her own personal identity. Who am I, where do I come from, where am I going to, what is it all about? That is a challenge to the quality of our Christian teaching. We need to teach people who they are. They don’t know who they are. We do. They are human beings made in the image of God, although that image has been defaced.
And third is their quest for community. Everywhere, people are looking for community, for relationships of love. This is a challenge to our fellowship. I’m very fond of 1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.” The invisibility of God is a great problem to people. The question is how has God solved the problem of his own invisibility? First, Christ has made the invisible God visible. That’s John’s Gospel 1:18: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
People say that’s wonderful, but it was 2,000 years ago. So in 1 John 4:12, he begins with exactly the same formula, nobody has ever seen God. But here John goes on, “If we love one another, God abides in us.” The same invisible God who once made himself visible in Jesus now makes himself visible in the Christian community, if we love one another. And all the verbal proclamation of the gospel is of little value unless it is made by a community of love.
These three things about our humanity are on our side in our evangelism, because people are looking for the very things we have to offer them.
You may find the whole article from which it comes there. I quoted this at the early morning service sermon this past Sunday--KSH.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology
Hymn books could soon be a thing of the past as churches switch to high-tech services with the words on giant screens, assisted by an iTunes app.
The fashion for ‘hands-free worship’ has led to a decline in book sales. But it is said to have improved the singing, as congregants look up at a screen instead of down at the page.
Some vicars also prefer screens because they are less likely to spread germs and are said to be environmentally friendly.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Science & Technology * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
An East End rector is entering the race for the Christmas No 1 as a rank outsider, taking on Lily Allen, Robbie Williams and the winner of The X Factor to challenge for the top slot in the charts.
The Rev Niall Weir, rector of St Paul’s in West Hackney, London, is hoping to repeat the success of his first and only Christmas chart hit to date, which earned £30,000 for his local community in 1991.
He has assembled a choir of 60 people, including the homeless, recovering drug addicts, vulnerable adults, pensioners and others who belong to the wide variety of charitable groups and organisations that use Stoke Newington church hall for their meetings.
Read it all from the [London] Times(requires subscription)
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Movies & Television Music Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
This Sunday we will be celebrating Christ the King Sunday (or "The Reign of Christ the King")! - It is the last Sunday after Pentecost and the last Sunday of the Christian year. It is also the Sunday just prior to our entering into the holy season of Advent.
The observance of Christ the King Sunday is really a relatively new celebration. It was originally instituted by Pius XI, Bishop of Rome, for celebration on the last Sunday of October. However, after Vatican II, it was moved to its current location on the Christian calendar.
Read it all.
Speaking to a group of reporters after the trial ended, he said he was surprised he walked out of the trial with the title of “Rev.”
“I gave them every excuse in the book to defrock me immediately but that did not happen,” he said. “I am still wondering what it means. I told them clearly that I can no longer be a silent supporter but now I feel I have to an outspoken advocate for all lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people.”
The 30-day suspension seems to be “time for me to change my mind,” he said. “I am here to tell you, I will not change my mind. I am what I am.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths) * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
a new survey has found that same-sex weddings differ in distinct ways from heterosexual nuptials, and that gay and lesbian couples also vary significantly from each other.
The survey, produced by Community Marketing & Insights, a gay research company, and The Gay Wedding Institute, questioned 916 same-sex couples in the United States who are married (57 percent), in a domestic partnership (19 percent), engaged (18 percent) or in a civil union (5 percent).
The survey found religious leaders officiated at just one in four same-sex marriages, and that only 12 percent of ceremonies were held in religious spaces.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths * Theology
Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan flocked to ruined churches on Sunday, kneeling in prayer under torn roofs as the Philippines faced an enormous rebuilding task from the storm that killed at least 3,681 people and displaced 4 million.
At Santo Niño Church, near the waterfront in the flattened city of Tacloban, birds flitted between the rafters overhead as women moved through the pews with collection plates. At the end of mass, the Roman Catholic congregation broke into applause.
Rosario Capidos, 55, sat crying in one row, hugging her nine-year-old grandson, Cyrich.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. * International News & Commentary Asia Philippines * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
One of the most beloved prayers in the Anglican tradition is called the Prayer of Humble Access, but some cherished words were omitted from the Anglican-use Mass, the Vatican-approved liturgy that allowed former Episcopalians and Anglicans to bring elements of their liturgical tradition with them into the Catholic Church.
Come the First Sunday of Advent, however, the missing words of Humble Access will be included in the new ordinariate-use Mass, no doubt gladdening the hearts of many former Episcopalians who recently have become Catholics through the ordinariate.
Read it all.
The prayers of parishioners at two cold and damp churches have been answered after the Diocese of Exeter agreed to trial re-heatable cushions on the pews.
One hundred cushions are being trialled in Broadclyst and South Tawton's Anglican churches for three months.
Designed for use by sports fans, the cushions are part of a campaign to cut carbon emissions and look at new heating systems for church buildings.
Read it all.
1. The bells of St Peter and Paul, Courteenhall in Northamptonshire - BBC Radio 4
2. Choral Evensong from Paisley Abbey - BBC Radio 3
3. Sunday Worship from from Bethany Baptist Church, Cardiff - BBC Radio 4
4. Holy Communion livestreamed from St Helena's Church, Beaufort, South Carolina at 10:15 am Eastern Time, 3:15 pm London Time
5. Choral Services from the Chapels of King's College, Cambridge
and Trinity College, Cambridge
and St John's College, Cambridge
and New College, Oxford
6. Sunday Hour - BBC Radio 2
7. Alpha From HTB
Watch How Does God Guide Us? - Paul Cowley live on November 6th at 7:30pm GMT [2:30pm EST]
Last Week's talk: How and Why do I Pray? - Alpha Video
SERMONS AND TALKS
8. Bishop Mouneer Anis - Peacemaker Conference Vimeo
9. The East African Revival - John Senyonyi - ATV Paul and the Faithfulness of God - Bishop Tom Wright - Wycliffe Hall Video
11. Various sermons available
All Souls, Langham Place
their 4,000 sermon searchable archive
St James the Less, Pimlico
Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham Alabama
Please join in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church today Sunday 3rd November, and in particular for Syria, Egypt, Kenya, Eritrea and Iran; and for the Diocese of South Carolina.
12. Topical Prayers - Church of England
13. International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church November 3rd
14,000 martyred for their faith each year, says Gospel for Asia - Christian Today
Pastor Samuel and Pastor Ugyen's Stories - GFA Video
Prayer for Persecuted Christians - Church of England
Kenya: Two pastors killed in Kenya - Christian Today
Eritrea: Christian woman dies in Eritrean jail, as prisoner of conscience - WWM
Iran: Iranian Christian flogged after drinking Communion wine
Iranians jailed for ‘house church’ attendance - WWM
14. Sunday Program - current affairs with Edward Stourton - BBC Radio 4
15. Food for Thought
Fresh Focus for IDOP: Where the Most Christians Live as Minorities - Christianity Today
Can the Coptic Church survive? The Christian casualties of Egypt's struggle with modernity - Paul Marshall - ABC Religion
An age when all faiths are equal - except Christianity - Lord Carey
16. Victoria: IDOP - VoM Video
17. Be Thou My Vision - St Peter's Antigua
When William Blake married his dear wife Catherine in 1782 at St Mary’s, Battersea, it was brand new, finished five years earlier, its 130ft copper spire painted a “warm stone colour”.
This steeple, on a bend of the river, is the most striking of the parish churches along the banks of the Thames in London. A friend of mine used to live in a houseboat moored by the church, once set in a metropolitan parish of 2,164 acres, later broken up into 17 smaller ones.
St Mary’s rightly figures on the cover of a marvellous new book. Or rather, two books, for these are volumes 49 and 50 of the monumental Survey of London, which began 113 years ago with the parish of Bromley by Bow. To have reached Volume 50 (Yale, £135 for the two volumes) is astonishing. The editors, Andrew Saint and Colin Thom, should be made dukes, at the least.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family
Whenever I plan a Maundy Thursday service, I get annoyed with the lectionary. Why isn’t the second reading 1 John 4? I get that Paul’s account of the words of institution for the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians is assigned to cover for the lack of an account in John’s Gospel. Still, the day is named for the New Commandment. Jesus, gearing up for the most terrifying experience he and his disciples will ever know, commands them to love one another. It’d be nice if 1 John’s gloss—that such love casts out fear—also made the cut.
This fairly arbitrary objection may be mine alone. But lots of us worship planners have pet frustrations with the Revised Common Lectionary (1992). My Facebook newsfeed—a place much like the wider world, if half the population went to seminary—attests to these regularly.
Why pair these readings? Why skip those verses? How will we survive an entire month on Jesus the long-winded bread of life? Does Christ’s appearance to Thomas really need to come up every Low Sunday (leaving young associate ministers—preaching while the senior pastor takes the week off—with thick files of sermons on doubt or woundedness or bodily resurrection)?
Read it all.
At 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, the doors shut out the disagreements about church law as United Methodists Joe Openshaw and Bobby Prince vowed to love each other for the rest of their lives in a wedding ceremony performed by retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert.
Before the wedding. television cameras from several news stations rolled outside Covenant Community United Church of Christ. The two men and Bishop Talbert faced questions about why, and what it would mean for them to disregard their denomination’s stance that the practice of homosexuality is not compatible with Christian teaching and that ordained clergy are forbidden to perform a same-sex marriage....
For Talbert, the answer to why and what lies ahead is more complicated.
“On May 4, 2012 (during the 2012 United Methodist General Conference), I declared that the church’s official position is wrong and evil …it no longer calls for our obedience.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths) * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The United Methodist Church’s highest court gathers for its semiannual meeting in Baltimore on Wednesday, as the denomination confronts a growing movement of defiant clergy members opposed to church doctrine on gays and unwilling to back down.
The Rev. Steve Heiss, of Binghamton, N.Y. Heiss must promise by Thursday (Oct. 24), that he will never again preside at a same-sex wedding or face a church trial that could lead to his loss of clergy credentials. He said he will refuse.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa. He will be tried Nov. 18-19 for officiating at the 2007 same-sex wedding of his son.
The Rev. Gordon Hutchings of Tacoma, Wash. He faces a complaint for presiding at a same-sex marriage in his state.
The Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy of New York. She faces a complaint of being a practicing lesbian.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Globalization Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths) * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Bishop Robert Paterson says without an injection of public funds - or a massive donation from private sources - many of the 45 Anglican churches will become un-usable within 20-30 years.
Some need expensive structural repairs and the bishop says smaller congregations simply won't be able to raise the funds needed to put things right.
Read and listen to it all.
First, I am an Anglican because it is biblical. I appreciate the great authority that Anglicanism gives to Scripture. Article 6 of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion states that the Bible is the ultimate and final authority in all matters of faith, and nothing should be taught as doctrine or necessary for salvation that is not clearly taught in Scripture. Moreover, I believe that Anglicanism rightly places Scripture at the very center of all its ministries (e.g., liturgy), devotion (e.g., Book of Common Prayer), and foundational documents. It wants to immerse God's people in the Scriptures.
Second, I am an Anglican because it is historical. I appreciate Anglicanism's respect for the history and tradition of the Church. While its official conception took place in the mid-16th century, it still identifies itself with the catholic Church of the centuries prior to the Reformation. It seeks unity with the historic Church. As such, it receives and affirms the Apostle's, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds as authoritative summaries of what Scripture teaches and what the Church believes. Also, it follows the traditional church calendar and draws wisdom from many of the great theologians of the past (e.g., Article 29 mentions Saint Augustine).Read it all.
Please read this carefully and follow the directions so as not to be confused. You can find the links to the lectures here, BUT, and this is a very important but, the top lecture is not yet available and so what you see when you go immediately to the page is a big black screen with white writing saying "Lost Signal." DO NOT LET THIS DISCOURAGE YOU. Look at the black bar directly underneath the words "Thomas Cranmer and Contemporary Anglican Worship with Ashley Null." On the lefthand side of this bar you will see the word "Livestream," and on the right you will see "login" and then further right you will see the word "join." Immediately to the right of the word "join" you will see an arrow up sign with a toggle bar underneath. If you move this togglebar down the page you will begin to see links to six of Dr. Null's lectures which are available as of this time. Below this description I will also post a link to the first of his lectures--KSH.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Sacramental Theology Soteriology Theology: Scripture
The omission of the filioque clause in the draft text also spoke to the disproportionate number of Anglo-Catholic and philo-Orthodox bishops and organizations within the ACNA’s organizational structure.
Like the Episcopal Church, the ACNA’s appeared to be in thrall to enthusiasts. Special interest groups who are dedicated to a particular cause have often been able to press their agenda onto the wider church. Changing the Episcopal Church’s teaching on abortion, the Book of Common Prayer, women clergy and homosexuality was driven by dedicated special interest groups -- not by mass appeal.
The filioque controversy has been discussed within Anglican circles for about 125 years. However interest in this topic had been a highest among Anglo-Catholics who had sought to justify a non-Roman type of Catholicism by an appeal to the Eastern church.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship * Theology Christology The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Book of Common Prayer. In 1549, at the height of the English Reformation, a new prayer book was published containing versions of the liturgy in English. Generally believed to have been supervised by Thomas Cranmer, the Book of Common Prayer was at the centre of the decade of religious turmoil that followed, and disputes over its use were one of the major causes of the English Civil War in the 1640s. The book was revised several times before the celebrated final version was published in 1662. It is still in use in many churches today, and remains not just a liturgical text of great importance but a literary work of profound beauty and influence.
The guests are:
Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford
Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge
Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education, and Culture
Listen to it all (43 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
The Anglican Church in North America is pleased to announce the release of Texts for Common Prayer.
Included here are the Offices of Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, and the Holy Communion (Long Form and Short Form), as well as Supplemental Canticles for Worship. These are all the “working” forms approved by the College of Bishops for use in the Province. Also bound with these working texts is The Ordinal which has been adopted and authorized as The Ordinal of the Province.
Read it all and note the link for the FAQ.
The introduction of a new ordinariate-use liturgy for groups of former Anglicans is uniting some of their old traditions to the fullness of the Catholic Church.
The Vatican office responsible for adapting parts of the Anglican liturgy for use in the Catholic Church “has had the task of the scribe, trained for the Kingdom of heaven, the householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old,” said Msgr. Andrew Burnham.
The monsignor serves as assistant to the ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI
[This is the]...first in a series of annual events with Ashley Null, who is both the Theological Advisor for the Diocese of the Carolinas as well as the Senior Research Fellow for the Ridley Institute, the school of theology at St. Andrew’s.
The event begins Tuesday, October 15 at 8:30 a.m. with worship and concludes on October 16 at 5:00 p.m. Over the course of two days, Dr. Null will deliver eight lectures on Cranmer and Contemporary Anglican Worship. There will be ample time for discussion, questions, and networking over lunches and dinners (daily schedule).
The two-day seminar is also available via livestream....
Check it out courtesy of Saint Andrew's Mount Pleasant, S.C., and consider the livestream option..
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology Theology: Scripture
“Because of our unique witness and commitment to introducing our students to the historic English choral tradition, with its rich and varied approach to change-ringing, the gift of these magnificent bells will enhance our work and common life together,” said Canon Joseph A. Kucharski, professor of church music.
Change-ringing is common in England, where there are more than 5,000 towers, but there are fewer than 50 such towers in the United States.
Read it all.
A new text for the Catholic Mass which integrates centuries old Anglican prayers into the Roman Rite was officially introduced in a London church on Thursday.
The new liturgy, known as the Ordinariate Use, has been devised for the personal ordinariates – the structures set up by Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Pope, while preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican liturgical and pastoral traditions.
The Mass, at the church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, was celebrated by the leader – or Ordinary – of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Monsignor Keith Newton. It was offered in honour of the patron of the Ordinariate, Blessed John Henry Newman, whose feast was on October 9.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Sacramental Theology Eucharist
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for all who believe in Him; to whom with thee, O Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, be ascribed all honour and glory, dominion and power, now and for evermore.
Listen to it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Music * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. England / UK
"I walked in Wednesday night for a prayer meeting and the chairs were there, and they were beautiful," she says. "I thought, 'Nancy Shane, even at 68 years old, young woman, you can change.' "
She isn't the only churchgoer being asked to take a stand on new Sunday seating arrangements. Pews have been part of the Western world's religious landscape for centuries, but now a growing number of churches in the U.S. and U.K. are opting for chairs, sometimes chairs equipped with kneelers.
At bottom: churches want to trim remodeling costs, maximize space flexibility with stackable seating, or create a more approachable atmosphere to draw in unchurched young people.
Read it all.
Please bow your heads and let us begin as we should always begin, in prayer.
Heavenly Father and Gracious God remind us of who you are and of whose we are and of the message that you have entrusted to us. We are gathered for such a time as this and we need to be recentered, we need to be refocused, we need to have our call furthered clarified, and so Lord we need a word from you. Gracious God take my lips and speak through them, take our minds and think through them, take our wills and mold them and shape them according to your purposes. And take our hearts and set them on fire with love for your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
In the stories General Eisenhower used to tell about his associates in the military and the government, he had one favorite above all the others. He indulged in it frequently at the expense of one of his chief aides, whose name was named George Allen. George Allen had the distinct misfortune, the dubious distinction of having played in the record-setting football game with the most lopsided score of all time. The score was 222 to 0. It was a game between Georgia Tech and Cumberland played in the 1916 season. And, yes you guessed it; George Allen played quarter back on the losing side. After about three quarters of the game, when the score had begun to mount into the hundreds and the team was dramatically demoralized, there came an amazing moment, in one of the few plays where Cumberland actually had the ball, when the ball was snapped back to Allen and he missed it and fumbled the ball. The opposing linemen came charging in, and suddenly the ball was trickling around the backfield and B. F. “Bird’ Paty, who later became a prominent attorney, was looking at the ball and he looked up past the ball and there was Allen, who was shouting, “Pick it up! Pick it up!” And Paty looked at the ball, and looked at Allen and then he looked at the charging linemen and he looked back at Allen and said, “You pick it up! You dropped it!”
My dear brothers and sisters I want to begin this afternoon by being so bold as to say that we have dropped the ball. I believe as passionately as I know how to state that we live in a time and a church under judgment. The book you need to center yourself on brothers and sisters is the book of Jeremiah, and the theme of judgment hardly ever mentioned in the contemporary western church when it is unfolded in the midst of God’s working with his people you see it quickly doing three things: It does cutting, it hurts and we heard abundant evidence of that today. Secondly it sets out confusion, tremendous confusion. Read and think about the book of Jeremiah sometime and think about how confusing it was for the people on the ground. Do I listen to Jeremiah or do I listen to Hananiah? Do I stay in Jerusalem or do I go to Babylon. Maybe I ought to think about going to Egypt. It becomes so confusing for Jeremiah himself at one point in Jeremiah 20 that he doesn’t even know to his own instincts and he almost internally self-destructs. But my dear brothers and sisters, a time of judgment is not only a time of cutting, though it is that, it is not only a time of confusion, though it is that, it is also a time of clarification.
And so the purpose of this talk this afternoon for just a few moments is to center us in our common faith and mission as we begin this 48-hour journey together. One of the things I delight in saying about my hero CS Lewis is that he had an instinct for the center. He knew how to distinguish between penultimate things and ultimate things and I need to say something to us as orthodox Anglicans. My dear brothers and sisters, we’ve not always done as well in making that distinction as we need to. We’ve got to learn to give those things that, even if they are precious to us, if they are not the ultimate things. We’ve got to recover an instinct for the center of whom we are, and the center of the message we are called to proclaim. Are you all with me?
So let’s think about Anglican essentials this afternoon. What is the center of who we are?
Number 1. All my points begin with the letter C, that is to help me in case I lose my place.
The first C is catholic; we are catholic, small C. What, Kendall Harmon was forced to think very deeply, what in its essence does it mean to be a catholic Christian, because that, I believe, is what we are.
It means first of all that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. It means there is such a thing, to use Thomas Oden’s wonderful phrase, as a history of the Holy Spirit. So that when I did my doctorate at Oxford in the early 1990s and I studied the whole history of western Christian eschatology there came a moment when I confronted Augustine for the first time in earnest since college and I read the whole City of God and I sat there at Latimer House in Oxford with my pitiful little heater in the freezing cold temperatures, and I wept. Because I realized the Augustine had simply leveled every single book I had read in the last ten years, in the first three chapters. No wonder CS Lewis said he read three old books for every new one. At the end of City of God Augustine says, speaking of heaven, these wonderful words:
“There we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise. This is what shall be in the end without end.” Did you get that? “There we shall rest and see, see and love, love and praise.” Do you know that is the finest summary in the smallest amount of words of heaven I have found anywhere? We have to drink deeply from the tradition that has been handed on to us, and unapologetically.
Sunday is the 300th anniversary of the birthday of Jonathan Edwards so permit a word about the man who is called America’s theologian.
George Marsden, who is the finest church historian in my estimation writing right now, has just released a brand new book on Jonathan Edwards called Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University Press).
And writing about Edwards and his theology he says this:
“It is precisely because of the 20th century’s experience of human horror that Jonathan Edwards’ thinking on hell (yes you heard me use that word) cannot be so easily dismissed. Marsden goes on, Edwards believed (listen carefully to these words) that each person is “by nature incredibly short-sighted, self-absorbed, and blinded by pride.” Only a traumatic jolt could burst the bonds of self-absorption. Therefore the verbal violence of hellfire and damnation “was a gift of God to awaken people who were blindly sleepwalking to their doom.”
Interesting themes, heaven and hell, Augustine and Jonathan Edwards, we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. That is part of what it means to be a catholic. But there is more.
Second part of being catholic, it seems to me, is to believe in order. I found myself thinking about that simple gesture that happens in so many courtrooms. Order in court.
It seems to me what catholics are constantly saying to the church is “Order in the church, order in our worship, for crying out loud.” You ought to be able to follow the service. CS Lewis has a wonderful essay were he describes how the priests are always messing with the service and there is no structure that is predictable so that the liturgy can be vehicle instead of an obstacle to worship. Order in worship is important. It is amazing to me, thinking particularly about General Convention but also the general life of the Episcopal Church that since Thomas Cranmer gave us the Book of Common Prayer we have almost gone completely full circle and we are back to the very liturgical situation that he set out to reform namely there were too many liturgies running around and there wasn’t any order so he wrote a bookof COMMON PRAYER.
And yes order in the church so there is a certain way that we go about our business: bishops, priests, deacons, vestries, canons, there is a way that God set up the church.
And most importantly in our time order in the way we make decisions. Which means that to be a catholic Christian means that the more important the decision the more widely you consult, more people need to be involved, themore important the international leadership is involved. Hello, that is what is means to be a catholic Christian.
Finally to be a catholic doesn’t just mean those seven sacraments or seven sacramental acts or however you want to delineate them. It means more than that. To be a catholic means to think sacramentally. I found myself going back to that wonderful minor classic of Harry Blamires The Christian Mind. Listen to this summary that he gives of what it means to be Christian.
“The Christian mind thinks sacramentally. The Christian Faith presents a sacramental view of life. It shows life’s positive richness as derivative from the supernatural. It teaches us that to create beauty or to experience beauty, to recognize truth or to discover truth, to receive love or to give love, is to come in contact with realities that express the Divine Nature. At a time when Christianity is so widely misrepresented as life rejecting rather than life affirming [does that sound familiar to anyone?], it is urgently necessary to right the balance. In denouncing excesses of sensuality, Christians are apt to give the impression that their religion rejects the physical and would tame the enterprising pursuit of vital experience.”
And we don’t do it. There I was watching the opening sequence of The West Wing where President of the United States, Jeb Bartlett, has his daughter gone and kidnapped. He is in massive crisis. And what does this secular program do with a country and a president in crisis but it ends the first show of this season with the President of the United States with his hands open and a priest placing a wafer in those hands. Because he needed to have a sense of contact with the supernatural.
That is part of what it means to be a catholic Christian. Ya’ll with me? Stand on the shoulders of those who came before, a sense of order in the church and to think sacramentally.
I want everybody here who defines themselves as an Anglo-Catholic to please stand up. God bless you all.
That’s right, you heard it hear first, charismatic.
I had the distinct fortune of having my roommate in college be a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Darien Conn. And believe it or not, we used to drive from Bowdoin College five hours one way and go to two Sunday morning worship services and the Sunday night worship service and then drive all the way back to Maine. And the one thing about that parish that I remember above all others was that when you walked in people were there to worship God for whom He was in the beauty of holiness and it was astounding to see people do that. And that is my image of what the church should be.
Worth-ship is what the word means. To give God the worth He is due for the glory of who He is. I find myself thinking of that interesting play “Equus.” That interesting play “Equus where Anthony Perkins played Martin Dysart the doctor in the Broadway version when it first came out. The story of a boy who has a bizarre form of mental disturbance where he is obsessed with horses and this secular psychologist named Martin Dysart who is working like crazy with the boy who does nothing but talk about and dream about horses reaches this amazing moment in his life where he actually begins to envy the boy even though he is profoundly aware that the boy is deeply disturbed. Because Martin Dysart the secular psychologist, realizes that the boy has something outside of himself that is beckoning him and that he has to bow down to and Martin Dysart the secular psychologist has nothing.
In an amazing moment he says in a soliloquy on the stage, “Without worship we shrink!”
And that is part of the message of the charismatic movement to the contemporary church. Worship, brothers and sisters, is a priority. To meet God for who He is.
More than just worship from the charismatic movement. Power.
If I learned anything from three-hundred-plus Terry Fullum tapes in the early 1980s I learned that Holy Spirit was the power of God to be unleashed on His people and in His world. So that in the early 1980’s when Mount St. Helens in the Cascade Range of Washington exploded with what is probably the most visible indication of something called natural power that many of us in the modern world has ever seen. At 8.32 a.m. the explosion ripped 1,300 feet off the mountain, with a force of ten million tons of TNT, or roughly equal to five hundred Hiroshimas. Sixty people were killed, most by a blast of 300-degree heat traveling at two hundred miles an hour. Some were killed as far as sixteen miles away from the original blast. The blast also leveled those incredible 150-foot Douglas firs, as far as seventeen miles away. A total of 3.2 billion board feet of lumber were destroyed in that explosion, enough lumber to build 200,000 three-bedroom homes. That’s natural power. And what the charismatic movement importantly reminds us that we need to center ourselves in this afternoon is that the power of God that resurrected His Son Jesus Christ which is far more potent than Mount St. Helens and far more powerful is the power that rests in each one of us and in His church. Do you believe that with me?
Just one quick story about the power of the Holy Spirit of all places at General Convention. Thank you for praying for us, thank you for praying for me. It was the case that the Spirit was working and certainly one of the low points was the night of August 5th when the vote came down and I was a complete mess in many many ways and very upset not least because the bishops went overtime and so the bishops were in session after the House of Deputies were no longer in session and I was commissioned to read a speech in the House of Deputies as Bob Duncan was going to read a speech in the House of Bishops repudiating the action but since the bishops went overtime the bishops made their statement but in deputies I didn’t make my statement and I was not pleased about this. I said, “Lord, what are you doing? We worked on the statement, this isn’t working out.” And I had to make the statement the next day. You know what Jesus says in John 3 about the Holy Spirit. He says the Holy Spirit blows where He wills.
And so we were trying to figure out when Gene Robinson on Wednesday was going to be introduced. And John Guernsey and I are standing there at the computer and Jim Simons calls and says he is going to be introduced right as the session begins. So we work like crazy on the statement. Then Jim Simons calls right back and says no he isn’t going to be introduced so we slow down our pace and then he calls back and says yes he is going to be introduced. And we start changing our pace again. And then he calls back and says no he’s not and then finally one more change and yes he is! And so Guernsey changes it for the 400 thousandth time in the computer and I literally rip the page off the printer and I run across the street to get in there and sure enough Gene Robinson is introduced, and I have to read the statement. The whole time this has been happening I have been praying the night before and that morning and I had one overriding impression that was bothering my spirit very deeply. The overriding impression, brothers and sisters, was this, when we had the debate in deputies on same-sex unions and on the confirmation of Gene Robinson, and you need to hear this, no one, not a single person who argued for the change and the innovation brought into the debate a perspective of those beyond our shores.
And so there I was with my prepared text and I thought, what the hay, the Spirit blows where He wills, and so I spoke from the heart and I inserted a section in the speech that wasn’t in the text. I could just imagine Guernsey’s response in the back. The Enforcer [nickname for John Guernsey] was not happy. But the Holy Spirit had other plans. I spoke this point into the microphone and then sat down. And one person from Texas stood up and then the next thing that happened was one of the really amazing moments in Minneapolis for me personally. We had a deputy stand up from Honduras and he stood up with a translator and very slowly, because each phrase had to be translated, with this wonderful cadence he said, “I am a servant of God, in Honduras, and I am charge of 52 missions, and because of what this convention has done my entire ministry has been [and I quote him directly] has been washed down the drain.” And it was as if he confirmed exactly the point I made, only it wasn’t in my speech. The Holy Spirit did one of those things that the Holy Spirit is so good at doing. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit blows where He wills in your lives right now? That’s what it means to be a charismatic Christian.
First, catholic. Second, charismatic. Third, canonical.
All right, I should have said evangelical but it had to start with a “c”. You knew it was going to come to the Bible eventually.
I do need to say a few things about the Bible although I know that John Yates is going to say a whole lot more. My dear brothers and sisters, I am so proud this afternoon to say to you that we are people who be lieve in theauthority of the Bible.
I can do no better this afternoon than to quote to you the 1958 Lambeth Conference statement which I believe every Anglican needs to memorize, that’s how important I think it is. Listen to what the 1958 Lambeth Conferencesaid about the Holy Scriptures:
“The Church [they wrote] is not ‘over’ the Holy Scriptures, but ‘under’ them, in the sense that the process of canonization was not one whereby the Church conferred authority on the books but one whereby the Church acknowledged them to possess authority. And why? The books were recognized as giving the witness of the Apostles to the life, teaching, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and the interpretation by the Apostles of these events.” [Listen to this last phrase.] “To that apostolic authority the Church must ever bow.”
Now I need to say to you that the authority of the Bible needs to be understood by us a Christians as personal authority. It is a certain kind of authority. It is an authority that is personal, and I can’t do better than one of my heroes, Austin Farrer, who was the warden of Keble College in Oxford where I had a chance to study. He’s given the perfect illustration of what it means for every Christian every day to pick up the Bible. What’s supposed to be in my mind when I hear a sermon from this document, when I hear an adult education class on this document or when I read this document? What am I supposed to think that I’m doing? Listen to what Austin Farrer says:
“What is the bible like? Like a letter which a soldier wrote to his wife about the disposition of his affairs and the care of his children in case he should chance to be killed. And the next day he was shot, and died, and the letter was torn and stained with his blood. Her friends said to the woman: the letter is of no binding force; it is not a legal will, and it is so injured by the facts of the writers own death that you cannot ever prove what it means. But the lady said: I know the man, and I am satisfied I can see what he means. And I shall do it because it is what he wanted me to do, and because he died the next day.”
That’s what it means to read the Bible. It means to read a personal letter from God stained with his own blood. Is that your perspective, when you preach from it?
Something else about the Bible, not just the Bibles authority and not just that its personal authority, but that we as Anglican Christians actually believe not only in the authority of the Bible, but the importance of loving the Bible. I like this first psalm; it says something really amazing about the godly person. It says that the man of God and the woman of God is blessed who not only meditates on God’s law but delights in it. And the word that is used in Hebrew haphats means to have emotional delight in. It’s the word of a wife delighting in her husband, or a husband delighting in his wife. We’re to have a delight of scripture. We’re to love it, not simply to read it although we should and not simply to be under its authority although we should, we need to love it, to care about it, and to steward it.
My own hero Charles Simeon (1759-1836) preached his way through the Bible and taught his congregation of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge, England not only that the Bible was authoritative but it was something to be loved. He once said this: “I love the simplicity of the Scriptures, I wish to receive and inculcate every truth precisely in the way and to the extent that it is set forth in the inspired Volume. Were this the habit of alldivines, there would soon be an end of most of the controversies that have agitated and divided the Church of Christ.”
Do we love the Bible, brothers and sisters? Love the Bible.
So what have I said so far? I said we’re catholics, I said we’re
charismatics, and I said we’re canonical. And I said we are under judgment. And I find myself gravitating to that fascinating verse, in Jeremiah: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, [in Jeremiah 29] plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” With these bases what is to be our focus as Anglicans as we go forward into the unknown future that God has for us. What is to keep the main thing the main thing mean for us in this time.
It means three more C’s.
First of all Christ. I’ve got to say that, I’m sorry! But it is about
Jesus. It is about the unsearchable riches of Christ and since we are in year B can I just remind you in passing of the sheer power for a moment of Mark’ Gospel. He is trying to portray a Jesus Christ who comes into people’s lives in power and who makes an authoritative claim. You remember the way that Mark unfolds the story at the end of chapter 4. That amazing scene where he stills the storm. They say who is this that at peace be still he says. And they say who is this of ye of little faith and so Mark wants to convey to his readers that the Jesus whom he is portraying has authority over the natural world. And then chapter 5 begins and you have that amazing scene with the Gerasene demoniac who is out there gashing himself among the tombs. And he suddenly because of the power of Christ is placed in his right mind. Jesus who has power not only over the natural world but over evil. And then the story goes on and Mark has that wonderful scene where Jairus has this sick daughter and Jesus is supposed to go and on his way, you remember what happens, the woman with the issue of blood comes up and touches the hem of Jesus’ garment and she is healed. Mark gives us a Jesus who has power over sickness. And now we have Jesus who has power over the natural world, and over the demonic world and over the evil world and over sickness. What is the last story in Mark Chapter 5? He goes to Jairus’ daughter’s house and she is dead, forget it, it’s over. He says it is not over that she is just sleeping and he gets everyone out of the room except the family and he says to the little girl, “Talitha cumi, “I say to you little girl arise,” and it’s the Jesus who has power over death.
This is the Jesus, brothers and sisters, that we need to unapologetically proclaim. The Jesus who makes a powerful claim, power over nature, power over the demonic, power over sickness and power the last great enemy of all, death itself.
We will be people who unapologetically will be about the Christ, proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ. We will also be people, next C, of the cross.
I’m not giving up on the Rite I language of the prayer book. “By His one oblation of Himself once offered, the full perfect and sufficient sacrifice oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. By the merits and death of Thy Son, Jesus Christ and through faith in His blood.” What is it that Paul says in Galatians 6? “Far be in from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” It’s got to be centered on the cross, brothers and sisters; the cross is the center of it all.
To be a Christian means not to think from the world or from one’s self to the cross but to place one’s self as Luther did every single morning at the foot of the Cross and to think and to pray out from there to one’s self and the world.
Two quick comments by way of reminder about the cross. The cross is the final statement of God about the depth of the problem. To think from the cross out is to be reminded of the horror of sin. In his wonderful book Compassion Henri Nouwen tells the moving story of a family whose name are Joel and Nida Theartiga that he knew in Paraguay. And this family in the course of their life and ministry the father who was a physician becomes increasingly critical of the government in Paraguay. The military is becoming increasingly abusive and the father can’t take it anymore and he speaks out more and more boldly. Finally the government acts and they take their revenge on this physician and his wife by arresting his teenage son and torturing him to death. The enraged townsfolk wanted to turn the boy’s funeral into a huge protest march, but as Nouwen tells the story, as they said their prayers and thought about it, they chose another protest, a more cross-like, biblical lament. And as Nouwen describes the funeral, what they chose to do was to take their son and to take his body exactly the way they had found it in the jail: naked, scarred by electric shocks and cigarette burns and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress that it was on in prison when they found it. It was the strongest protest imaginable, because it put the injustice of human sin on total display.
My dear brothers and sisters, that’s what happened on Good Friday. The Cross in all it’s ugliness, exposed the world and exposed our hearts for what they are breeding grounds for violence and injustice; for arrogance and pride; yes, for sexual sin and immorality; for moral cowardice, personal greed, and self-interest, and all else. The cross of Christ is offensive because it exposes and condemns our rebellion and rebelliousness.
But the other thing about the cross, the great thing about the cross if we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before, is that in the mystery of God’s working on the cross, God at that moment in history, the judge of history, comes into history and absorbs the judgment upon himself. PT Forsyth put it this way: “The cross of Christ is God’s only self-justification in a world such as ours.” Karl Barth put it this way: “God, by the decree He made in the beginning of all his works and ways, has taken upon himself the rejection merited by the man isolated in relation to him.” Total exposure of human sin, total absorption of human rebellion, he himself has born our sins. God made him who knew no sin to be sin, brothers and sisters, so that in him we may be the righteousness of God. Do you believe that?
My last C. Not only the Christ, and not only the cross, but finally, and here I think I get to my most heartfelt cri de coeur about the situation in which we find ourselves. It’s about conversion for crying out loud. A funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century in the Episcopal Church: The 1979 prayer book! The full theological measure of its ethos has yet to be completely felt but we are now at a place of enough distance from it to begin to reflect with each other about its real impact on our common life and if we do that, and very few people are doing it, the results are deeply disconcerting.
Think with me just for a second. A prayer book that has an underemphasis on God’s transcendence and holiness and judgment, combined with a very weak sense of sin, combined with a liturgical practice that actually makes confession of sin optional, combined with a strong emphasis on baptism, combined with a baptismal covenant which is decoupled from its trinitarian and scriptural mooring so that apparently the nearly everything I read in the Episcopal church what it actually means to be baptized ONLY is revealed the last two questions in the baptismal covenant: namely, loving your neighbor as yourself, and to striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being, combined with the predominant ethos of the American Episcopal Church which is liberal catholicism combined with the predominant ethos of America which is this weird post modern miasma of malnourished pluralism masking as real community, it leads to this, and I need to say this as clearly as I can: we have a theology in practice which moves straight from creation to redemption! A nearly universalistic or in fact completely universalistic worldview in which the fall and sin have in essence disappeared!! To be created in the Episcopal Church is apparently to be redeemed (at the most you need to be baptized) and so, think about this for just a second - what are the two most recent trends worthy of mention since Convention? Some people are arguing Gene Robinson was baptized, therefore he should be consecrated a bishop. It apparently trumps everything else. If you are baptized everything else follows, and then the even more important one which really flew under almost everybody’s radar screen, the huge growing practice in the Episcopal Church of open communion. So that at All Saints Pasadena the Rector gets up and says “who ever you are, where ever you are in your spiritual journey, I invite you to come forward for grace and consolation along the way.” Any reference to God the Father? Uh-uh. Any reference to God the Son? Gone. Any reference to the Holy Spirit? Nada. Now think about this for just a second.
Over against this barely Christian ethos, if you actually place what it means to have a biblical world view, you find yourself shocked, shocked because when you read the scriptures, Luke 19:10, the reason that the son of man came was to seek and to save the lost. God comes to Abraham and says, “Go to a lost world so that through you they will be blessed because they are not blessed now.” Jesus tells in Luke chapter 15 not one, not two, but three parables. The lost coin, and the lost sheep, and then–just incase we missed it–the lost son. And Paul can cry out in 2 Corinthians 5 “I beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” The overwhelming conviction of historic Christianity is: If you don’t have Christ you’re lost! Which is why number one on your sheet is to declare the great commission the first priority of our life and work. I don’t want to know when you come to see me whether you’re a good Episopalian, I want to know how many people in your parish have met Jesus Christ and are being transformed by His love.
One more Simeon story just about the lostness of the lost. I need to say this so strongly because it just is so rare in the Episcopal Church to see people that believe the way Simeon believed. I love this story. This is a first hand description of one of his sermons and the text on this particular day when Charles Simeon, a vicar at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Cambridge England, who lived from 1759-1836. Simeon is preaching and his text is “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people,” that is his text. Listen to this eyewitness description. “And after having urged all his hearer to accept God’s offer of mercy, he reminded them that there were those present to whom he had preached Christ for more than thirty years, but they continued indifferent to a Savior’s love; and pursuing this train of expostulation for some time, he at length became quite overpowered by his feelings, and sank down in the pulpit and burst into a flood of tears, and few who were present could refrain from weeping with him” When was the last time anyone of us really cried for the lostness of the lost who are all over our parishes and our lives. God cries. The gospel calls. Do we?
So what have I said? What I have said is that what it means to be an Anglican is to be a catholic, to be a charismatic, to canonical. What it means to be centered in the Anglican essentials is that we are about Christ and his cross and yes the call to conversion. And now I draw my remarks to a close. Because this word this afternoon brothers and sisters has to touch us where we really live and breathe.
You remember I started by talking about the fact that I believe that we are a church that is under judgment. Did you catch the word that I used? I didn’t say they are under judgment, I said we. It’s a real downer to hear what happened as our panel well described to us about what happened in Minneapolis. And there is a danger that we face as we begin our journey together and the danger is this.
Any sense that it is the re-appraisers, that’s the way that I like to
describe them, who are responsible primarily or even nearly exclusively for the pathetic state of affairs in which we find ourselves and our church has to be abandoned. All of Israel I remind you all this afternoon was under judgment in Jeremiah’s day and the whole Episcopal Church is under judgment including us.
The so-called orthodox, that’s us, have an enormous amount to answer for in this time. Our sins of compromise, timidity, denial, ignorance, careerism, self-interest, party spirit, the list is very long. So hear this afternoon, my brothers and sisters, the gospel for all of us. Hear it well, B. F. “Bird’ Paty in that football game, in a losing game, looked at the football dribbling around on the ground and he didn’t want to pick it up. And God’s message to us in recentering us is: We have dropped the ball!! We have lost our center as gospel people, as catholic, charismatic, canonical Anglican people. Not only have we lost our center, but hear this well; we do not even have the power to pick the ball back up left to ourselves. But dear sisters and brothers hear the good news of the Gospel this afternoon. The God who gave us the ball, who has watched us drop the ball, through the cross forgives us for dropping the ball and by the power of the Holy Spirit gives us back the ball.
Will you take the ball back up with me?
And finally you’ve heard that word used by David Roseberry, realignment. You are going to hear a lot about it. It is in our preliminary draft of the statement. And I need to say a clearly as I know how this afternoon why a realignment within Anglicanism is indispensably necessary. There has to be a new realignment, there has to be a new and different future.
At Minneapolis the Episcopal church decided to risk the whole future of the Anglican communion on this one vote, all four instruments of Anglican unity said don’t do it, many prominent Anglicans leaders worldwide pleaded for us not to do it, and we not only did it but we did it without consulting them. This is not catholic it will not stand.
At Minneapolis the Holy Spirit was grieved and a way of life which is in contradiction to holiness was celebrated and blessed, this is not charismatic it will not stand.
At Minneapolis, the Scriptures were either quickly dismissed or incredible and deliberately twisted, this decision is not canonical it will not stand.
Most importantly and finally, at Minneapolis, the will of the Father to draw all people to himself through the cross of his Son, get this now, was replaced with a new and different gospel where a therapeutic Jesus embraces people where they are. It is a gospel of affirmation rather than the gospel of salvation. We have moved from sinners in the hands of an angry God to clients in the palm of a satisfied therapist.
So the Episcopal Church is now a church where people are officially led away from Christ. And this is why we need a realignment. You’ve got to understand this. Because with the new gospel you and I who believe the traditional gospel are the embodiment of a call to holiness and believers in a gospel which those who believe the new teaching see as unjust and unchristian. We are enemies of the new gospel. Beware underneath the call to participate in the Episcopal Church from now on there is lurking a passionate desire among some to persecute many of those who disagree with this new teaching.
I was on the committee that put out C-051. I remember it well there were 45 of us. Guess what the vote was? 44 to 1. I remember it because I was the one. And there was an incredible moment at the end of Minneapolis which is the future in the Episcopal Church if we don’t have intervention. And to my utter amazement, having written a one-person minority report, which is my prerogative as a member of the committee, I watched person after person after person come to the microphone and insist that my one-person minority report be expunged from the record of the Episcopal Church. It was astounding. It was like being in a family that has an Uncle Steve and they are pretending that he doesn’t exist and they go through all the family albums and pull out his picture and go through all the family history and erase those sections where Steve is mentioned. That’s our future brothers and sisters if we don’t have help. We’ve got to have outside intervention. We haven’t moved anywhere. The church has moved from us.
Our hope is in asking for a realignment in a church were are increasing under attack with a total sense of our own powerlessness to shape the nature of our coming intervention, and that’s really good news because Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
Are you re-centered with me brothers and sisters? Catholic, Charismatic, Canonical. We are going to be about Christ, and the cross, and conversion.
As we are seated, let us pray.
Lord, you are a great God and you have given us a great and astounding message. Re-center us, and enable us to be people who preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, and his cross, and who call others to conversion in His name by the power of the Holy Spirit. Forgive us Lord, for the ways that we have dropped the ball. We confess that we have dropped the ball Lord; we confess that we don’t have the power to pick the ball back up. Lord in your mercy, you, the God who gave us the ball in the first place and who watched us drop the ball. Give us back the ball Lord, by the power of your Holy Spirit, and bring us into the new and exciting and hopeful future that only you can give us. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams Anglican Primates Episcopal Church (TEC) Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings Windsor Report / Process * By Kendall * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Introit: Holy is the true light (Gabriel Jackson)
Psalms: 19 (Hopkins)
First Lesson: Hosea 14
Canticles: The 'Great' Service (Parry)
Second Lesson: James 2 vv14-26
Anthem: Give unto the Lord (Elgar)
Hymn: Let all the world in every corner sing (Luckington)
Organ Voluntary: Fantasia Op.136 (Bowen)
Explore in 360 degrees here
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Something extraordinary is happening in English churches. Imagine you arrived at an unfamiliar church just as the service was starting and you heard: “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid…” Right, you’d think, CofE, Book of Common Prayer.
But this is the beginning of a Catholic Mass, a Roman Catholic Mass. It is a liturgy approved by the Pope, and it takes lumps of the Holy Communion service from the 1662 Prayer Book. I find the general effect pleasing but distinctly unsettling.
Two questions arise, depending on the direction from which one is coming. A member of the Church of England might wonder why Catholics should want to use the Book of Common Prayer compiled by Archbishop Cranmer (pictured here in 1546). A Catholic might ask: but is it the Mass?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Sacramental Theology Eucharist
Saying in a statement that church members reacted with "shock and sadness" to the violence, the church's dean, the Rev. Gary Hall, said, "we mourn for those who have died, and we continue to grieve the persistence of gun violence in our nation." He added that the cathedral "will hold the victims, first responders, and the Navy community in prayer, while also making the cathedral’s space and its ministries available today to all who seek consolation and refuge from this loss."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
How many churches print or project copyrighted texts with unauthorized changes? I was curious, so I did a quick survey via social media. Though it was hardly a scientific sampling process, I did hear from about 200 (anonymous) pastors and worship planners. While only 8 percent of them say they alter texts every week, 57 percent do so at least a few times a year. They do this for lots of reasons, but the biggest issues are gendered language (81 percent of those who change words at all) and other theological objections (65 percent).
Notably, only 6 percent of respondents cop to printing or projecting copyrighted texts without holding any kind of license. But 24 percent admit that if a given piece isn’t covered by whatever licenses they have, they include it anyway. And even among the majority who only print the licensed stuff, 53 percent regularly change the words.
Of course, there’s little excuse for skipping the license when the publishers have made it so reasonable: one stop, no fuss, a fair price. Getting permission to change a text is less simple, making it that much more tempting to just skip that step.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Art Law & Legal Issues Music Religion & Culture * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Over time I have come to believe that the reading of scripture in public worship is as important as expounding on scripture (i.e., preaching). As a friend says, “A good reading is expounding.”
I am appalled at the way some traditions and congregations take such a casual attitude toward the reading of scripture in worship. It’s treated sometimes as the role “anybody can do.” Not anybody can do it, and it takes practice. I get the sense sometimes that people are reading the assigned text for the first time when they read it in worship.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Books Religion & Culture * Theology Theology: Scripture
On the eve of Rosh Hashana last year, as Lois Kittner was passing through security at the airport in Newark, a security screener halted her. He had a question about several strange items in her carry-on bag. One looked like some kind of animal bone; the other was a piece of metal that came to a suspiciously narrow point.
So Ms. Kittner set about explaining. She was a cantorial student at the Academy for Jewish Religion and was headed to North Carolina to help lead services at a synagogue there. The bony thing was a shofar, the instrument fashioned from a ram’s horn and blown to herald the Jewish New Year. As for that supposed weapon, it was a yad, a thin rod with a tip shaped like a pointing hand, which is used to follow the handwritten text on a Torah scroll.
“You don’t want to be that person in security who looks scared and uncomfortable,” Ms. Kittner, 56, recalled in a recent interview. “It didn’t even occur to me there’d be a problem. Friends tell me there’s never a problem with shofars when you go to Miami.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Music Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Judaism
A Narragansett man has gone to federal court to silence church bells sounded by a neighboring Catholic church.
The Providence Journal reports that John Devaney says in his lawsuit that the bells of St. Thomas More Catholic Parish disrupt his life and contributed to the end of his marriage.
He is asking the court to order the church to reduce the number of bell claps and gongs so he can peacefully enjoy his property.
Read it all.
Enjoy the whole slideshow.
Most would breathe a sigh of relief that arguments over musical style are abating. But for C. Randall Bradley, the worship wars are only a prelude to a larger reformation in Church music. In From Memory to Imagination, Bradley argues that it is time for Church musicians and pastors to devise new forms of worship that respond to what he calls the postmodern cultural movement. The term postmodern has several possible meanings; in Bradley’s book it can be defined through a series of questions about the broader purpose that music serves: How can music reflect the narrative and values of the Church’s community? How can churches change worship so that it is community-directed, rather than guided by a leader? How can music further the specific mission for which God has placed the Church in its local context, while also reflecting the full gamut of human experience?
Bradley argues that the current tools that churches use for designing worship are, unfortunately, not yet capable of answering these questions. In a wide-ranging critique of contemporary worship practice, he notes that music and preaching are leader-centered, stifling a collaborative planning process. They tend to be male-centered. They are performance-driven, turning the congregation into a group of spectators. Most significantly, their legitimacy comes from the power of an academy that confers a professional degree, or from the power of commerce as it markets songs to churches. These structures do not allow Christians to take ownership of their worship experience.
Read it all from The Living Church.
Human beings love rituals. Of course, rituals are at the center of religious practice. But even secularists celebrate the great transitions of life with arbitrary actions, formalized words and peculiar outfits. To become part of my community of hardheaded, rational, scientific Ph.D.s., I had to put on a weird gown and even weirder hat, walk solemnly down the aisle of a cavernous building, and listen to rhythmically intoned Latin.
Our mundane actions are suffused with arbitrary conventions, too. Grabbing food with your hands is efficient and effective, but we purposely slow ourselves down with cutlery rituals. In fact, if you're an American, chances are that you cut your food with your fork in your left hand, then transfer the fork to your right hand to eat the food, and then swap it back again. You may not even realize that you're doing it. That elaborate fork and knife dance makes absolutely no sense.
But that is the central paradox of ritual. Rituals are intentionally useless, purposely irrational. So why are they so important to us?
Read it all.
Christ Church Anglican, formerly Christ Church Midland, welcomed new leadership in August with a new rector and a new music minister.
The Rev. Henry Pendergrass conducted his first service Aug. 11. He came from Anglican Church of the Resurrection in Flower Mound and has been a priest for nearly 23 years.
His passion for priesthood was ignited at the tender age of 8, Pendergrass said. He observed his priest “standing at the altar representing Christ to the people” on Sunday morning and “filling the Coke machine and mopping the floor of the parish hall” Sunday evening.
“There was something that seemed so true about that — this idea of ‘servant leadership,’” Pendergrass said. “It seemed to make more sense to me than anything.”
Read it all and the church website is there.
Tyler Woolstenhulme might be loath to admit it but sometimes he’s not paying attention in church. He will happily confess that he’s not the only one.
The 31-year-old Mormon has more than once sat in the pew of his Sandy ward and let his mind wander. When that happens, he pulls out his iPhone 4 and sometimes plays his puzzle game, "1to50." Or maybe he texts his friends across the aisle.
"I take the time in church to catch up with people I haven’t contacted in a while," he said. "I text friends or family."
Read it all.
From here. More Sunday Worship here
recorded during the Southern Cathedrals Festival
Listen here if you wish. More Sunday Worship here.
Bishop Bruce Caldwell, who leads St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis, said the church set up a booth in Loring Park during the Pride Festival in June advertising that it would perform gay weddings. So far, about eight same-sex weddings are scheduled at the church, he said.
“These folks really do want to get married and commit their lives to one another in a faithful union before God,” Caldwell said.
John Green, a professor at the University of Akron in Ohio who has written extensively about politics and religion, said churches that recognize same-sex unions will adapt as time goes on.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Sacramental Theology Theology: Scripture
It was a Saturday morning and the Rev. Jaman Iseminger had just dropped by to help some volunteers as they cleaned up the cemetery next door to the Bethel Community Church in Southport, south of Indianapolis.
Then a homeless woman entered the church and confronted him. She pulled a gun and killed the 29-year-old pastor, leaving behind a wife and a 2-year-old daughter.
"There are all kinds of tragic details ... but here's what's really haunting about that case," said Jimmy Meeks, a Hurst, Texas, patrolman who is also a licensed Southern Baptist preacher. "When they looked on his desk they discovered that his sermon that Sunday was going to be about the rising number of pastors around the world who were dying for their faith. There's no way he could have known that he was next in line."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Fans of a beloved contemporary Christian hymn won’t get any satisfaction in a new church hymnal.
The committee putting together a new hymnal for the Presbyterian Church (USA) dropped the popular hymn “In Christ Alone” because the song’s authors refused to change a phrase about the wrath of God.
The original lyrics say that “on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.” The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song wanted to substitute the words, “the love of God was magnified.”
The song’s authors, Stuart Townend and Nashville resident Keith Getty, objected. So the committee voted to drop the song.
Read it all.
Read it all.
My crystal ball is telling me that Holy Women, Holy Men and the furor around it is emblematic of the liturgical issues that we will be dealing with in the next few decades. We are at the point where we must come to terms with the fact that we have inherited a prayer book with a greater catholic appearance but without catholic substance behind it. To put a finer point on it, we have a catholic-looking calendar of “saints” yet no shared theology of sainthood or sanctity. While a general consensus reigned that the appearance was sufficient, the lack of a coherent shared theology was not an issue. When we press upon it too hard—as occurred and is occurring in the transition from Lesser Feasts & Fasts into Holy Women, Holy Men into whatever will come next—we reap the fruits of a sort of potemkin ecumenism that collapses without common shared theology behind it.
Is there a catholic theology of sanctity in the Episcopal Church? Yes, in some places. Is there an inherently Episcopal theology of sanctity that proceeds naturally from the ’79 BCP that is in line with a classic Christian understanding? Without question! But is it known? No. Is there any common Episcopal understanding of sanctity? The arguments around the church especially as embodied in the discussions within the SCLM lead me to answer, no—I don’t think so.
The struggle of this current generation will be to wrestle with a liturgy that portrays a catholic appearance but lack a catholic substance behind it. It’s not that the substance can’t be there—it’s that it’s not.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship * Theology Ecclesiology Sacramental Theology
Oh my--watch it (suffer through it?) all.
Then, too, there is the constantly increasing interest...which it is such a pleasure to observe among Christians of all names in the order of the ritual year, in Christmas and Easter, Lent and Good Friday—who can tell how much of this may not be due to the leavening influence of the Prayer Book, over and above what is effected by the public services of the Church? “I wonder,” said a famous revivalist to a friend, a clergyman of our Church, “I wonder if you Episcopalians know what a good thing you have in that year of yours. Why don’t you use it more?”
And true enough, why do we not?
Read it all.
A song about ascending to heaven written by a dying 18-year-old, has gotten 7.7 million YouTube hits and at one point reached No. 1 on the iTunes music charts.
Zach Sobiech, who died in late May, wrote the farewell song “Clouds” as an ode, in part, to his unwavering faith in God.
He is remembered for providing hope to people around the world, many of them facing similar situations.
Read it all and there is a link to the song provided at the bottom of the story.
Worship4Today - a course for worship leaders and musicians, successfully tried and tested in the Diocese of Sheffield over several years - is being rolled out nationally from this week.
Compiled by Helen Bent and Liz Tipple, Worship4Today: Part 1: Laying a Firm Foundation tackles the priorities identified in the Liturgical Commission's Consultation of Evangelical Anglicans: a need for theological training for songwriters and worship leaders in local churches, and for musical training and effective formation in worship leading for ordinands. Trialed in 100 churches, it has already been the catalyst for new church services, a new congregation and two new children's choirs, and provided an essential boost for many flagging choirs and music groups.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
[The] Reverend Dr Matt Tittle of the Auckland Unitarian Church in Ponsonby will officiate at the wedding of the couple that wins ZM's Fabulous Gay Wedding competition.
The broadcaster had hoped to hold the event - on August 19, the day legislation allowing same sex marriage comes into force - at St Matthew-in-the-City parish in central Auckland.
But St Matthew's vicar, [the] Reverend Glynn Cardy, said he was unable to oblige because Anglican officials will not solemnise gay weddings. The parish had offered to host a blessing after the legal ceremony was held elsewhere.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths
I like Keith Getty's "In Christ Alone." I think the PCUSA hymnal committee probably made the right call on the whole "wrath of God was satisfied" business, but still: it's a good song for congregational use, accessible but with some theological meat.
It's a little bizarre, however, to present "In Christ Alone" and Getty's other songs as one side of a two-sided debate over church music, as NPR does here. Yes, "In Christ Alone" is not a praise chorus but a hymn, in the formal sense of a sacred strophic song. And it's more substantive and less repetitive than a lot of praise choruses, which in my view doesn't make it better but does provide some needed balance if praise choruses are the only other option.
Of course, they aren't.
Read it all.
More Sunday Worship here
As many of you know I am at Nashotah House in Wisconsin at the Anglican Church in North America’s Provincial Council (which just concluded yesterday with a Festival Eucharist—an inspiring and joyful worship). This morning they will begin their House of Bishops Meeting. I am present as an observer. Joining me at the Provincial Council was The Very Rev. Peet Dickinson, Dean of the Cathedral, and Mrs. Suzanne Schwank, a member of our diocesan Standing Committee. They returned this morning to South Carolina and I will stay on for the House of Bishops Meeting and return on a late flight Friday in order to be at St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center for its 75th anniversary this weekend.
As I told the Diocesan Council last month and said at various deanery gatherings, not to mention many parish forums, it has been my intention to attend various gatherings within what I’ve referred to as the Anglican Diaspora in North America to learn the various players and seek greater unity as may be appropriate. So when I met with Archbishop Robert Duncan at the recent New Wineskins Conference, he invited me to attend this Council as an observer and bring a delegation. This struck me as a good way to follow-up on my expressed intentions.
It has been an enlightening and, frankly, encouraging few days.
Read it all.
There was a time when the faithful in the heavily Dutch corners of the Midwest would not have been able to sing along if the organist played the gospel classic “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.”
True, some may have recognized the hymn that Mahalia Jackson sang at the 1968 funeral of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., since this was the civil rights leader’s favorite: “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.”
But by 1987, this beloved African-American spiritual had been added to the Christian Reformed Church hymnal. A generation later, it has achieved the kind of stature that puts it in the core of the “In Death and Dying” pages of the church’s new “Lift Up Your Hearts” hymnal.
Read it all.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Christians disagree about music style as much as any other issue in the body of Christ. More than likely, you've experienced this firsthand. As I've already written, conflicts over music have been common through out church history. Christians have listened to and enjoyed all of kinds of music. But should they?.
In seeking to determine what is the right music for a church, it's important that we use biblical principles in our evaluation. That's not always easy—the Bible doesn't contain music notes. God never gives us His musical preferences.
While it may be difficult, I do believe it's possible to evaluate musical preferences using God's word. The following seven tests each relate to biblical principles that we can apply to our music to determine its suitability...
Read it all.
Watch it all.
Leader: Let us give thanks to God for the land of our birth with all its chartered liberties. For all the wonder of our country’s story:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For leaders in nation and state, and for those who in days past and in these present times have labored for the commonwealth:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For those who in all times and places have been true and brave, and in the world’s common ways have lived upright lives and ministered to their fellows:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For those who served their country in its hour of need, and especially for those who gave even their lives in that service:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: O almighty God and most merciful Father, as we remember these your servants, remembering with gratitude their courage and strength, we hold before you those who mourn them. Look upon your bereaved servants with your mercy. As this day brings them memories of those they have lost awhile, may it also bring your consolation and the assurance that their loved ones are alive now and forever in your living presence.
The organ at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sandusky is the voice of the church, according to Nicholas Schmelter.
“My experience playing on the instrument … the instrument has a very sweet, unforced, mellow sound that is almost ... unheard of these days,” he said.
Schmelter is the dean of the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and director of music ministries at First Congregational Church in Saginaw. He will be playing St. John’s 1898 Moller tracker organ during a special Evensong service at 3 p.m today....
Read it all.
The Bishop and clergy of Rupert’s Land have completed preparation of a protocol for the pastoral practice of blessing same-sex unions. T h e p ro t o c o l s ay s why same-sex unions may be blessed in Rupert’s Land parishes and how this should be done. It acknowledges the differences of view among faithful Anglicans about blessing of same-sex unions. It directs each parish that wishes to explore this practice to follow a careful process of prayer, study and consultation before deciding to bless same-sex unions.
The protocol arises out of a vote at the 2012 Rupert’s Land diocesan synod.
Read it all (page 5).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
I have always believed in a threefold way of looking at the journey of life. I need to acknowledge the past, live in the present and anticipate the future.
In relation to the cathedral building I acknowledge the forebears. I go further and honour them, because for many years I have been a beneficiary of their efforts.
When it comes to living in the present, my life, like so many others, has been drastically changed by the seismic activity. Life cannot return to what it was. I live in a house which is to be demolished and hopefully rebuilt. This is just one of the constant reminders of the change that has and is occurring for so many.
The present situation, dominated as it is by change, is forcing me to think more and more about the future and try to anticipate what that might look like.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
the secret, says Jeffrey Makinson, sub-organist of Manchester Cathedral, is to clothe the theme in a different harmony, tempo, or rhythmic metre. Even then, there is a risk that your mischief will make at least a few ears prick up.
Half of churchgoers have heard of an organist slipping unexpected tunes into a service, suggests a new survey from Christian Research, which has been published to coincide with the Christian Resources Exhibition International next week.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
This coming Thursday is the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord, and parishes around the world have a vital decision to make: Do we extinguish the Paschal Candle on Ascension Day or on Pentecost?
This question may sound like a liturgist's version of the game, Trivial Pursuit, but there is an important biblical and theological lesson to be learned....
Read it all.
So, Christmas Christians are on the up.
And the number of christenings increased by 4.3%, which was accompanied by a rise of just over 5% in adult baptisms with a combined total of 139,751 baptisms – meaning that the Church of England conducted an average of over 2,600 baptisms each week during 2011. Thanksgivings for the birth of a child also rose - an 11.9% increase, taking numbers to 6,582....
The bad news?
Sunday attendance has declined over the decade, and this is particularly noticeable with child attendance:
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Controversy sells. It sells newspapers, journals and movies. It may even sell conference registrations, to judge from the frequency with which I’m asked to speak at such events about “controversial issues” that confronted the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song (PCOCS) as it worked on the denomination’s new song collection Glory to God.
Does controversy also sell hymnals? I’m not sure. But the Presbyterian Hymnal of 1874 came out in the midst of a controversy so intense that pamphleteers took to writing about the War of the Hymn Books. The war they had in mind was a campaign launched by disaffected members of the official hymnal committee who seceded to create a rival publication. In response to this campaign, the board of publication for the denominational hymnal took pains to report (in the January 1875 edition of the Presbyterian Monthly Record): “It will be gratifying to our Presbyterian constituency to know that the persistent efforts to prevent the adoption by the churches of the new Hymnal . . . fail to arrest its sale.” Indeed, by June of 1875, the rate at which congregations were adopting the new hymnal was reported to be “without a parallel in the history of hymn and tune books.” So maybe controversy does boost sales, even where hymnals are concerned.
Still, I am relieved to note that the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song has experienced nothing as dramatic as a secession and threatened publication war. The most animated disagreements we experienced within our group were over matters of theology; our most animated disagreements with people outside our group have been over issues of musical accompaniments and (not surprisingly) of language.
Read it all.
Most songwriters in Nashville want to get their songs on the radio.
Keith and Kristyn Getty hope their songs end up in dusty old hymn books.
The Gettys, originally from Belfast, Ireland, hope to revive the art of hymn writing at a time when the most popular new church songs are written for rock bands rather than choirs.
They’ve had surprising success.
Read it all.
Guidelines have been established for same-gender blessing ceremonies to be performed in Oklahoma Episcopal churches, a state leader with the denomination said.
The Rt. Rev. Ed Konieczny, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, said three parishes already have expressed interest in starting the process so they can conduct such ceremonies, although he does not believe “there are large numbers of people out there waiting for this.” He declined to name the interested parishes, as they have yet to request formal approval.
“I don't expect that this is going to be a floodgate of things. We will make it available and people will take advantage of it according to who they are,” he said.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The Loma Prieta earthquake tore through northern California in 1989, shaking the ground for 10 to 15 seconds, killing 63 people and doing extensive damage to bridges, roads and buildings. Much of the worst damage was in built-up areas around San Francisco Bay, including Oakland.
This could be sounding like a familiar story by now. One of the casualties was a 96-year-old Gothic brick church, the Catholic diocese of Oakland's Cathedral of St Francis De Sales. Rather than simply rebuild, the diocese opted to be even more radical: it built a new cathedral on an entirely new site. In 2008, the Cathedral of Christ the Light opened on the shores of Oakland's Lake Merritt and it is already regarded as one of the greatest of contemporary church buildings.
It has been called the first cathedral to be built in the 21st century, and that has become a symbolic value as well as a chronological fact. It says to others that this is the future of church buildings.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc. * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Australia / NZ
It’s an article of faith these days that contemporary worship is the way to go if you want your church to grow. Thousands of churches will be planted this year – and every one will offer contemporary worship. Hymns are out – love songs to Jesus are in.
Traditional churches have seen young believers flocking to megachurches, so naturally they want to get in on the growth. But this is foolish. Traditional churches lack the musical depth, computer controlled lighting and sound equipment that are needed to generate the “praise-gasm” that young believers associate with God. Rock music seems out of place in a brightly lit chapel with a communion table and stained glass.
People come to church to encounter God. A good worship service is transcendent; it helps people detach from this present world to connect with the divine. But when traditional churches try to be contemporary it usually comes across as forced, stilted or artificial. This dissonance jerks people back into the mundane world. Worshippers focus on the distraction instead of the Lord.
Read it all.
Four glowing white pillar candles illuminated photographs of the people killed in bombing-connected violence in the Boston area last week as the city sought comfort in religious services on the first Sunday after the blasts plunged the community into days of chaos.
The photographs showing the faces of 8-year-old Martin Richard, 23-year-old Lu Lingzi, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and 26-year-old Sean Collier, a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were propped up on the altar at Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross, where Roman Catholic Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley spoke about the city's pain and looked ahead to its spiritual recovery.
"Everyone has been profoundly affected by this wanton violence and destruction inflicted upon our community by two young men unknown to all of us," said O'Malley, speaking to a crowd of mourners that included Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who sat in the front row of the cavernous cathedral with other elected officials. "It's very difficult to understand what was going on in their heads. What demons were operating, what ideologies or politics, or the perversions of their religion."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * Economics, Politics Terrorism * Theology
One of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance — at least, religiosity — boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear.
Social support is no doubt part of the story. At the evangelical churches I’ve studied as an anthropologist, people really did seem to look out for one another. They showed up with dinner when friends were sick and sat to talk with them when they were unhappy. The help was sometimes surprisingly concrete. Perhaps a third of the church members belonged to small groups that met weekly to talk about the Bible and their lives. One evening, a young woman in a group I joined began to cry. Her dentist had told her that she needed a $1,500 procedure, and she didn’t have the money. To my amazement, our small group — most of them students — simply covered the cost, by anonymous donation. A study conducted in North Carolina found that frequent churchgoers had larger social networks, with more contact with, more affection for, and more kinds of social support from those people than their unchurched counterparts. And we know that social support is directly tied to better health.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology
George Beverly Shea, a noted gospel singer and close confidant to evangelical leader Billy Graham, died Tuesday evening after "a brief illness," according to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. He was 104.
Shea had been hospitalized after a stroke, association spokesman Brent Rinehart said.
In honoring Shea's death, the evangelical organization noted that the singer had "carried the Gospel in song to every continent and every state in the Union."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
More Sunday Worship here
[KIM] LAWTON: At Maundy Thursday services, music helps set the mood as Christians begin their annual time of mourning the arrest, prosecution and crucifixion of Jesus.
Thomas Tyler is in charge of worship and music at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. He says it's spiritually important to sing the songs of grief before celebrating Christ's resurrection.
Mr. TYLER: We want to skip over the sorrow. We want to skip over the abandonment and go get our praise on. But, if you don't remember what he went through, then I feel your appreciation for the significance of that resurrection is marginalized.
Read it all or watch and listen to the video report.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Music Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast broken for us the bonds of sin and brought us into fellowship with the Father.
Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast overcome death and opened to us the gates of eternal life.
Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because where two or three are gathered together in thy Name there art thou in the midst of them.
Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou ever livest to make intercession for us.
For these and all other benefits of thy mighty resurrection, thanks be unto thee O Christ.
The music is from the Second Chapter of Acts originally. Listen to it all.
Take the time to listen to it all .
In the centuries after Christianity emerged from the catacombs, the Church of Rome made an annual Lenten pilgrimage to a series of “station churches” at which the Bishop of Rome led his flock in prayer over the remains of one or another of the early martyrs. On the morning of Holy Saturday, however, the Church of the first millennium kept “station” not at a particular basilica made holy by the relics of martyrs and the prayers of those who have venerated them, but in her religious imagination. There was no Mass during the day, as there was no Mass on Good Friday. In the evening, as the sun set, the Roman Church would gather at the papal cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran (“mother and head of all the churches in the city and the world”) to await the dawn of Resurrection. But Holy Saturday itself was a moment to enter reflectively into the divine rest.
Read it all.
Watch and listen to it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Holy Week Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Christology
Listen to it all.
1. Behold me here, in grief draw near, Pleading at Thy throne oh King.This was the offertory for worship where I was this past Sunday--listen to it all; KSH.
To Thee each tear, each trembling fear, Jesus Son of Man I bring.
Let me find Thee, Let me find Thee.
Let me find Thee, Lord of mercy King of grace.
2. Look down in love, and from above, With Thy Spirit satisfy.
Thou hast sought me, Thou hast bought me, And thy purchase Lord am I.
Let me find Thee, Let me find Thee.
Let me find Thee, Here on earth and then on high.
3. Hear the broken, scarcely spoken, Longings of my heart to thee
All the crying, all the sighing, Of Thy child accepted be.
Let me find Thee, Let me find Thee.
Let me find Thee, Wounded healer, suffering Lord.
Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience the remedy is the same; sincere and spiritual worship. For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of the mind with His truth; the purifying of the imagination of His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of the will to his purpose—and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. Yes – worship in spirit and truth is the way to the solution of perplexity and to the liberation from sin.--William Temple Readings in St. John’s Gospel (Wilton, Connecticut: Morehouse Barlow, 1985 reprint of the 1939 and 1940 original), p. 67, quoted by yours truly in yesterday's sermon
The singers are Quire Cleveland under the direction of Peter Bennett. The words come from Psalm 47. For those of you who wish to see the Coverdale translation which Gibbons is using for the lyrics you may find it there.
Choral Eucharist from Trinity College, Cambridge for Ash Wednesday
Religious institutions have been priced out of offering civil partnership ceremonies by high licensing fees, according to Unitarian ministers and liberal rabbis.
Councils are charging churches and synagogues up to 16 times more for a three-year licence to hold civil partnership ceremonies than for a permanent licence to conduct marriages, Guardian research has revealed.
The two-tier charging has been seized on by campaigners for gay marriage as a further sign of the need for reforms.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths
Return to blog homepage
Return to Mobile view (headlines)