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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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+ Services, Talks and Resources for August 30th
+ Called to Embrace God’s Perspective and Power (Eph 6) - Andrew O'Dell
+ Running the way of God's commandments [Ephesians 5:15-20 and John 6:51-58] - Andrew Wingfield Digby
+ The Secrets of Long-Term Freshness: A Grace Colored Approach to Life and Ministry - Ajith Fernando
+ Services, Talks and Resources for August 23rd
+ Finding Grace on Highway 174 - Alfred T. K. Zadig, Jr (Ephesians 4:25-5:2
and John 6:35, 41-51)
+ Praying the Psalms - Series of 5 talks from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul SC
From August 16th
+ Services, Talks and Resources for August 16th
+ Our national life matters to God [Isaiah 6:1-8] - Bishop Rennis Ponniah
+ Choral Evensong from Cheltenham College Chapel with the Eton Choral Course Choir
From August 9th
+ Services, Talks and Resources for August 9th
+ Paul and Silas at Philippi [Acts 16:6-34] – Vaughan Roberts at Moore Theological College Chapel
+ Interview and Q&A with Vaughan Roberts
+ Choral Evensong from the Southern Cathedrals Festival
From August 2nd
+ Services, Talks and Resources for August 2nd
+ God feeds us [John 6:1-21] - Bishop Abraham Nhial
+ Talk and Q&A with Bishop Abraham
+ Choral Evensong from Hereford Cathedral
From July 26th
+ Services, Talks and Resources for July 26th
+ In the Fellowship of Elijah - Phil Ashey [1 Kings 17]
+ The father heart of God - Vaughan Roberts [Hosea 10:1-11:1]
+ Sunday Worship from the Keswick Convention
+ More talks from the Keswick Convention
From July 19th
+ Services, Talks and Resources for July 19th
+ Do we know the greatness of God? - Dr Kendall Harmon [Psalm 48]
+ A New Humanity - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Ephesians 2:11-22]
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel : for he hath visited, and redeemed his people;
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us : in the house of his servant David;
As he spoke by the mouth of his holy Prophets : which have been since the world began;
That we should be saved from our enemies : and from the hands of all that hate us;
To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers : and to remember his holy Covenant;
To perform the oath which he sware to our forefather Abraham : that he would give us;
That we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies : might serve him without fear;
In holiness and righteousness before him : all the days of our life.
And thou, Child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest : for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto his people : for the remission of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God : whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;
To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death : and to guide our feet into the way of peace. [Luke 1:68-79 the prophesy of Zacharias]
From July 12th
+ Services, Talks and Resources for July 12th
+ Choral Evensong with the combined choirs of King's and St John's Colleges, Cambridge
+ A marriage made in heaven – Vaughan Roberts [Hosea 1:1-2:1 and Revelation 21:1-4]
+ Christian Worship – Paul Perkin [Hebrews 12:14-29]
If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved. [Romans 10:9-10]
From July 5th
+ Services, Talks and Resources for July 5th
+ What does it Mean to Live Faithfully to Christ in our Time? - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ “Peace I leave with you” – Vaughan Roberts [John 14:25-3]
+ Strengthened for Work – William Taylor [Romans 1:1-17]
From June 28th
+ Services, Talks and Resources for June 28th
+ The Premier Lecture 2015 - Against the Flow - Professor John Lennox [Do you sometimes feel like you need to be encouraged in your faith, especially with the challenges you face in an increasingly secular culture?]
+ 2015 Trinity School for Ministry Graduation Commencement Address - Bishop Grant LeMarquand
From June 21st
+ Services, Talks and Resources for June 21st
+ Sunday's Sermon from Emanuel AME Church in Charleston SC - Psalm 46 - Rev Norvel Goff
+ Do not be overcome by Evil, but Overcome Evil with Good [Mark 4] - Brian McGreevy today at St Philip's Charleston
+ Jesus Who'll Satisfy You - Vaughan Roberts [John 4:1-42]
From June 14th
+ Services, Talks and Resources for June 15th
+ Are We Ignorant of Satan’s Designs (Genesis 3:1-15) - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ Choral Evensong from Wells Cathedral
From June 7th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for June 7th
+ The Re-Evangelisation of Europe - Vaughan Roberts [Acts 16:11-34]
+ Church Planting in a Continent Experiencing Rapid Change - Martin Robinson
+ Choral Evensong from Truro Cathedral
From May 31st
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 31st
+ Kendall Harmon’s Sermon for Pentecost 2015
+ When the Holy Spirit Comes - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Acts 2]
+ The Most Important Question of All - Bishop Ken Clarke [Matthew 27]
From May 24th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 24th
+ The Nature of Christian Service – Bishop Rennis Ponniah
From May 17th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 17th
+ A Bishop Mark Lawrence Sermon on the Ascension of Jesus
+ Sermons from St Helena's Beaufort
From May 10th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 10th
+ Defending the Reconciling Gospel – Bishop Michael Baughen [2 Corinthians 2:1 – 6:18]
+ Do you have to lose your mind to become a Christian? – William Taylor [Acts 26:24-32]
+ The Anglican Book of Common Prayer: What Relevance Does It Have to Today’s Contemporary Worship? John Yates II and John Yates III
From May 3rd
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 3rd
+ The Uniqueness of Christ - Andrew Wingfield Digby [Acts 4:5-12 & John 10:11-18]
+ The Place of Unity - Dr Peter Walker
+ Choral Evensong from Exeter Cathedral
+ 3rd Sunday in Easter Confirmation Sermon at Christ St Paul's - Bishop Mark Lawrence
+ My Lord and My God [John 20] - Archbishop Glenn Davies at St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore on April 13th
The previous post, Sunday on T19 is here
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina; The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a South Carolina Corporate Body; All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.; Christ St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Christ the King, Waccamaw; Church of The Cross, Inc. And Church of the Cross Declaration of Trust; Church of The Holy Comforter; Church of the Redeemer; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Saint Luke's Church, Hilton Head; St. Matthews Church; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church; St. David's Church; St. James' Church, James Island, S.C.; St. John's Episcopal Church of Florence, S.C.; St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Inc.; St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Bennettsville, Inc.;
St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Conway; The Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Radcliffeboro; The Church of Our Saviour of the Diocese of South Carolina; The Church of the Epiphany (Episcopal); The Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston, SC; The Church of The Holy Cross; The Church of The Resurrection, Surfside; The Protestant Episcopal Church of The Parish of Saint Philip, in Charleston, in the State of South Carolina; The Protestant Episcopal Church, The Parish of Saint Michael, in Charleston, in the State of South Carolina and St. Michael's Church Declaration of Trust; The Vestry and Church Wardens of St. Jude's Church of Walterboro; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Episcopal Church of The Parish of Prince George Winyah; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Church of The Parish of St. Helena and The Parish Church of St. Helena Trust; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Parish of St. Matthew; The Vestry and Wardens of St. Paul's Church, Summerville; Trinity Church of Myrtle Beach; Trinity Episcopal Church; Trinity Episcopal Church, Pinopolis; Vestry and Church Wardens of the Episcopal Church of The Parish of Christ Church; Vestry and Church Wardens of The Episcopal Church of the Parish of St. John's, Charleston County, The Vestries and Churchwardens of The Parish of St. Andrews, Respondents. v. The Episcopal Church (a/k/a The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, Appellants.
Attorneys: Allan R. Holmes, Sr. and Timothy O. Lewis, both of Gibbs & Holmes, of Charleston, David Booth Beers and Mary E. Kostel, both of Goodwin Procter, LLP, of Washington, DC, Blake A. Hewitt and John S. Nichols, both of Bluestein Nichols Thompson & Delgado, of Columbia, Thomas S. Tisdale and Jason S. Smith, both of Hellman Yates & Tisdale, of Charleston and R. Walker Humphrey, II, of Waters & Kraus, of Dallas, Texas, for Appellants. C. Alan Runyan and Andrew S. Platte, both of Speights & Runyan, of Beaufort, Henrietta U. Golding and Amanda Bailey, both of McNair Law Firm, of Myrtle Beach, C. Mitchell Brown, of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Columbia, Charles H. Williams, of Williams & Williams, of Orangeburg, David Cox, of Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, of Charleston, Thomas C. Davis, of Harvey & Battey, of Beaufort, Harry Easterling, Jr., of Bennettsville, G. Mark Phillips, of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Charleston, W. Foster Gaillard and Henry Grimball, both of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, of Charleston, Keith McCarty, of McCarty Law Firm, of Charleston, William A. Scott, of Pedersen & Scott, of Charleston, Mark Evans, of Charleston, David B. Marvel and David L. DeVane, both of Prenner Marvel, of Charleston, John Furman Wall, III, of Mt. Pleasant, Allan P. Sloan, III and Joseph C. Wilson, IV, both of Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson, of Charleston, Edward P. Guerard, Jr., of Mt. Pleasant, C. Pierce Campbell, of Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney, of Florence, Robert R. Horger, of Horger, Barnwell & Reid, of Orangeburg, Saunders M. Bridges, of Aiken Bridges Elliott Tyler & Saleeby, of Florence, Lawrence B. Orr, of Orr Elmore & Ervin, of Florence, Francis M. Mack, of St. Matthews, Robert S. Shelton, of The Bellamy Law Firm, of Myrtle Beach, William A. Bryan, of Bryan & Haar, of Surfside Beach, Harry Oxner, of Oxner & Stacy, of Georgetown, Susan MacDonald and Jim Lehman, both of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Myrtle Beach, Brandt Shelbourne, of Shelbourne Law Firm, of Summerville, Stephen S. McKenzie, of Coffey, Chandler & Kent, of Manning, John B. Williams, of Williams & Hulst, of Moncks Corner, George J. Kefalos and Oana D. Johnson, both of George J. Kefalos, P.A., of Charleston, Stephen Spitz, of Charleston and Thornwell F. Sowell, III and Bess J. Durant, both of Sowell Gray Stepp & Lafitte, LLC, of Columbia, for Respondents.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Parishes TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * South Carolina * Theology
Almighty God, who in Christ Jesus hast fulfilled to the sons of men thy ancient word of promise: Grant us grace to lay hold upon that promise by a living faith, that we may receive thy gift of righteousness, and at the last may enter upon our eternal inheritance; through the merits of the same thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it. Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the "virtues." In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are "good," it does not matter being a fool. But that is a misunderstanding. In the first place, most children show plenty of "prudence" about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly. In the second place, as St. Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only "as harmless as doves," but also "as wise as serpents." He wants a child's heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim. The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have. The proper motto is not "Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever," but "Be good, sweet maid, and don't forget that this involves being as clever as you can." God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole of you, brains and all. But, fortunately, it works the other way round. Anyone who is honestly trying to be a Christian will soon find his intelligence being sharpened: one of the reasons why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world.----C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (my emphasis)
Read it all.
This is a piece of driftwood that my family found on the beach in Cornwall where we used to go for our holidays. In our family, like every other family, sometimes we had rows and ructions with the kids as they were growing up. As a child growing up in Yorkshire, a word used in the playground was “Barlow”, said in order to take time out and call a truce.
So this is our family Barlow stick, and whenever there was a row in the family, someone would pick up the stick and say “Barlow” so we would all have to stop whatever we were doing and sit down and talk to each other.
In every house I’ve lived in, and I have moved quite a lot, our Barlow stick sits in front of the fire in the main room. The kids have all left home now and we haven’t had to use it for a long time but it serves as a reminder that you don’t always have to be locked or stuck in conflict. You can stop at any point and this free gift from the beach reminds us that you can live a life that’s marked by peace as long as there is some way you can stop, and that’s what our Barlow stick is for…
Read it all
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
..as part of a wider effort to reform a church led by an often corrupt and ignorant clergy, Cranmer had produced a book of twelve Homilies. Every parish in the land was required to own them, and every parish priest to preach them. The ninth of these homilies is entitled: An Exhortation Against The Fear Of Death. Cranmer outlines three reasons why men fear to die: a fear at losing worldly honours, a fear of the suffering and pain that attends dying, and the ‘chief cause’ of fear, namely, ‘the dread of the miserable state of damnation’. He then goes on,
“There is never a one of all these causes… that can make a true Christian man afraid to die, but plainly contrary, he conceives great and many causes undoubtedly grounded upon the infallible and everlasting truth of the Word of God, which moves him not only to put away the fear of bodily death, but also (for the manifold benefits and singular commodities which ensues to every faithful person by reason of the same) to wish, desire, and long heartily for it. For death shall be to him no death at all, but a very deliverance from death, from all pains, cares and sorrows, miseries, and wretchedness of this world, and the very entry into rest, and a beginning of everlasting joy… And we ought to believe that death being slain by Christ cannot keep any man that steadfastly trust in Christ under his perpetual tyranny and subjection…”But there is a large difference between words written in the safety of an archbishop’s study, and words believed in the shadow of a looming stake! ...
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
The Inklings lived in a society that became successively less Christian-a society that more and more resemble our own-but they offer some hope for us in our own fragmented culture.
The Inklings were men who had seen the worst the world has to offer, but who wanted to offer, in contrast, something higher, a vision of a reality we only sometimes glimpse that is as real as any horror, and more eternal. Carol Zaleski summed up the great gift of The Inklings in this way:
We read, Lewis once said, because "we seek an enlargement of our being. We want to be more than ourselves. . . . . We want to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own." All literature offers us this gift - it takes us out of ourselves - but mythopoeic literature has a particular power to make spiritual realities imaginatively plausible. That doesn't mean that religious people need or wish to live in a dream world, lulled by compensatory fantasies. Far from it! If the Inklings succeeded as writers it was because they wedded realism to hope and fantasy to reason.
The Inklings were involved in a great enterprise, and to a larger degree than they might have imagined possible, they created something lasting and important. As the book puts it, "their great hope was to restore Western culture to its religious roots, to unleash the powers of the imagination, to reenchant the world through Christian faith and pagan beauty." Because they worked largely in fantastic realms, in fantasy and science fiction and faerie, the Inklings were able to approach many real-world issues obliquely, without, as Lewis once put it, "waking the sleeping dragons of reason," to deal with faith, war, technology, and many other contemporary concerns. The Fellowship does an admirable job of capturing why the Inklings mattered--and of arguing for their ongoing relevance.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
God of peace, who didst call John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in thy heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who at the carpenter’s bench didst manifest the dignity of honest labour, and dost give to each of us our tasks to perform: Help us to do our daily work with readiness of mind and singleness of heart, not with eye-service as menpleasers, but as thy servants, labouring heartily as unto thee and not unto men, so that whatever we do, great or small, may be to the glory of thy holy name.
The love of God is revolutionary. It is not a careless, sentimental, “I love you.” The love of God transforms, it changes you completely! When Jesus died on the cross carrying our sins and our burdens, he literally took our hatred, our bitterness, our lies and our unforgiveness into the grave. When He rose on the third day, He left those unwanted commodities in the grave. He came out triumphant bursting out with love!. God is LOVE!
When you hate, you are walking back into the grave to take what Jesus has already deposited there. When you say you will not forgive, you are going back to the grave and taking something that is like contraband in heaven! You cannot take hatred or lies or unforgiveness to heaven. If it is useless to God and to you so why carry it around?
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O, how wonderful is Thy goodness, for it is unlike all other good things. I desire to come to Thee; and all that I have need of on the way I desire from Thee, and chiefly that without which I can not come to Thee. If Thou forsake me, I perish; yet I know that Thou wilt not forsake me unless I forsake Thee; nor will I forsake Thee, for Thou art the highest good. There is none who rightly seeketh Thee that doth not find Thee. He alone seeketh Thee aright whom Thou teachest aright to seek Thee, and how he should seek Thee. O, good Father, free me entirely from the error in which I have hitherto wandered, and yet wander; and teach me the way in which no foe can encounter me before I come to Thee. If I love naught above Thee, I beseech Thee that I may find Thee; and if I desire any thing beyond measure and wrongly, deliver me from it. Make me worthy to behold Thee.--Saint Augustine's Soliloquies, Book I
O Lord God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee: Help us, following the example of thy servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, and so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Help us this day, O God, to serve thee devoutly, and the world busily. May we do our work wisely, give succour secretly, go to our meat appetitely, sit thereat discreetly, arise temperately, please our friend duly, go to our bed merrily, and sleep surely; for the joy of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
If we had glasses that we could wear that would allow us to see spiritual things, many of them would be very inspiring. Wouldn’t it thrill your heart to be able to see the ways that the Lord has gone before you and how He has provided a hedge of protection around you and your family? There is another dimension, too. It is the usually unseen realm of evil. If we had spiritual glasses that displayed those things, it would be sobering indeed.
When the King of Syria was making war against Israel, he sent a great army of horses and chariots against Elisha. His troops surrounded the city where the prophet was. The Prophet’s servant, seeing the surrounding enemy troops, was in despair and asked, “Alas, my master, what shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15)
“Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.” (2 Kings 16:16-18)
In fact, the odds were not against the Prophet, Elisha, his servant, and the people of Israel. Though it certainly seemed so, it was not so. The forces of heaven far outweighed the approaching evil army. Though Elisha knew it, it was only when the servant’s eyes were opened that he was able to see it. Looking with temporal eyes he saw a hopeless situation. Looking with spiritual warfare eyes, we can see how God is in the midst of us, even when we are in trouble.
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The new rector looks forward to helping St. Paul’s, Summerville, press on toward a future that is “biblically-centered, Christ-centered and Holy Spirit driven.”
[Tripp] Jeffords has a passion for biblical discipleship.
“I want everything we do to be according to the Holy Scriptures and what they teach,” he said. “Scripture should be our guidebook for life; instruct the church and direct the faithful on how to live. I believe a lot of the troubles in the church have been because we haven’t been disciples of the scriptures and haven’t allowed them to direct our hearts and lives. When we do that, and listen to Jesus through the scriptures and through our prayer lives, everybody is blessed.”
Jeffords will be formally welcomed as rector during a Sept. 24 service of institution, officiated by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * South Carolina * Theology Christology Soteriology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)
O loving God, who willest that everyone should come to thee and be saved: We bless thy Holy Name for thy servants Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, whose labors with and for those who are deaf we commemorate today; and we pray that thou wouldst continually move thy Church to respond in love to the needs of all people; through Jesus Christ, who opened the ears of the deaf, and who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
O God, give me strength to live another day. Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties. Let me not lose faith in my fellow men. Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness. Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them. Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity. Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things. Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth, inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness, and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls; in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Listen to it all (and please note there is a download option).
O Lord, renew our spirits and draw our hearts to thyself, that our work may not be to us a burden but a delight; and give us such a mighty love to thee, who thyself didst work as a craftsman in wood, as may sweeten all our obedience. O let us not serve thee in a spirit of bondage, as slaves, but with cheerfulness and willingness, cooperating with thee in thy work of creation; for the glory of thy holy name.
Watch it all--wonderful stuff.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources * General Interest Photos/Photography
Religious freedom in America is under threat, and the battle is already in progress. For the most part, the burden of the struggle has been borne by Christians. America’s Jews, living safely behind the front lines, have paid little heed. But that safety is likely to be ephemeral. If freedom falls for those now fighting for their religious rights, it can fall for all, prominently including a community characterized by its attachment to an ancient and traditional moral code and defining ritual practices.
The threat emanates from a classic question: what is the proper relationship between church and state? The tension is as old as recorded history. It appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh and throughout Greek mythology. Some societies, from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to Japan’s chrysanthemum throne, imbued their rulers with divinity. In Christendom, western kings answered to the pope while eastern churches supported the emperor. In Islam, the caliph held titles of both temporal and spiritual authority. England maintains an established church still today, while France severed its formal ties to Catholicism more than a century ago. In Jewish tradition, the Second Temple period was replete with conflicts between royals and priests—hence the rabbinic reluctance to embrace the Hasmoneans, priestly usurpers to the throne whose victories are celebrated annually by today’s Jews at Ḥanukkah. In modern-day Israel, selected areas of civil governance have been relegated entirely to religious authorities.
The U.S. Constitution, steeped in classical liberalism, attempted a novel—and ingenious—resolution. It combined the absence of an official, “established” religion with the individual’s freedom to choose and follow his faith.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Education History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism
O God, who didst call thy servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O holy and ever-blessed Jesus, who being the eternal Son of God and most high in the glory of the Father, didst vouchsafe in love for us sinners to be born of a pure virgin, and didst humble thyself unto death, even the death of the cross : Deepen within us, we beseech thee, a due sense of thy infinite love; that adoring and believing in thee as our Lord and Saviour, we may trust in thy infinite merits, imitate thy holy example, obey thy commands, and finally enjoy thy promises; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, one God, world without end.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst give to thine apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word: Grant that thy Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God for ever and ever.
Glory be to God in the highest, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, the preserver of all things, the Father of mercies, who so loved mankind as to send his only begotten Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and misery, and to obtain for us everlasting life. Accept, O gracious God, our praise and thanksgiving for thine infinite mercies towards us; and teach us to love thee more and to serve thee better; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Gracious God, whose blessed Son set forth thy love towards mankind, in his miracles of healing and mercy, making both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak: Grant that our ears may be opened to thy Word, and our tongues loosed to proclaim it to others, and to further the spreading of thy gospel among all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
O God, who by the lowliness of thy Son hast raised a fallen world: Grant to thy faithful people perpetual gladness; and as thou hast delivered them from eternal death, so do thou make them partakers of everlasting joys; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Every congregation is a congregation of sinners. As if that weren’t bad enough, they all have sinners for pastors.— Eugene Peterson (@PetersonDaily) August 19, 2015
Almighty and everlasting God, who resisteth the proud and givest grace to the humble: Grant, we beseech thee, that we may not exalt ourselves and provoke thy indignation, but bow down to receive the gifts of thy mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
We read in the gospel that when the Lord was teaching his disciples and urged them to share in his passion by the mystery of eating his body, some said: This is a hard saying, and from that time they no longer followed him. When he asked the disciples whether they also wished to go away, they replied: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
I assure you, my brothers, that even to this day it is clear to some that the words which Jesus speaks are spirit and life, and for this reason they follow him. To others these words seem hard, and so they look elsewhere for some pathetic consolation. Yet wisdom cries out in the streets, in the broad and spacious way that leads to death, to call back those who take this path.
--Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
O God, by whose grace thy servant Bernard of Clairvaux, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.
O Almighty God, who hast revealed thyself in him who veiled his Godhead that he might unveil thy glory, and hast made him the eternal sacrifice and only priest of men: Grant that by the power of thy Holy Spirit the veil on our hearts may be taken away, and we may look on him who loved us and gave himself for us, and so be changed into the same image from glory to glory, until at last we shall see him with unveiled face, for evermore.
O Lord our God, who hast committed to us the glorious gospel of our risen Saviour and Master: Grant that as we joyfully receive the good news for ourselves, so we may gratefully share it with others, and ever give glory to thee, by whose grace alone we are what we are: through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
I recall a conversation some years ago with Donald Coggan, formerly archbishop of Canterbury. We were discussing some of the challenges to theological education, and had ended by sharing our concerns over folk who left theological education knowing more about God, but seemingly caring less for God. Coggan turned to me, sadly, and remarked: ‘The journey from head to heart is one of the longest and most difficult that we know.’ I have often reﬂected on that comment, which I suspect reﬂects his lifelong interest in theological education and the considerable frustrations it generated—not to mention his experiences of burnt-out clergy, who seemed to have exhausted their often slender resources of spiritual energy, and ended up becoming a burden instead of a gift to the people of God.
I have no hesitation in affirming that theology is of central importance to Christian life and thought. I have little time for the various efforts to dumb down the preaching and teaching of our churches, or simply to focus on the development of new and better techniques for the care of souls and the growth of the churches. But I am an honest person, and I want to admit from the outset that focusing simply on doctrinal affirmations is seriously deﬁcient. Theological correctness alone is no balm for the wounds of our frail and sinful humanity. We cannot nourish the mind while neglecting the heart. Like its political counterpart, an obsession with theological correctness can simply engender the kind of harsh judgmental personality which is eager to seek out and expose alleged doctrinal errors, and cares little for the fostering of Christ-imaging relationships.
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Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant William Porcher DuBose special gifts of grace to understand the Scriptures and to teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant, we beseech thee, that by this teaching we may know thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Almighty God, only giver of all mercies, whose Son, Jesus Christ, has taught us how to pray aright: Save us, we beseech thee, from all presumption in our prayer, and grant unto us the grace of humility and contrition; that we may, sharing the vision of thine apostle Saint Paul, know that it is by the grace of God alone that we are what we are, and that we can do nothing but through the strengthening of thy Son, Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
What resources would you recommend to a new or developing Christian and why?
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life
O God, who hast brought life and immortality to light by the gospel, and hast begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Make us steadfast and immovable in the faith, always abounding in the work of the Lord, who died for our sins and rose again, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, world without end.
There are numerous reasons why some black churches retain their members, but, most prominently, the church has played a historic role in black life that has fostered a continuing strong black Protestant identity. Members and visitors at Alfred Street say the church’s holistic ministry — the preaching, the singing and the community outreach — are what draw them in and keep them there.
“I think black churches have always been very pivotal in social movements and outreach,” said Kelli Slater, 20, a Howard University student from Mississippi who was visiting Alfred Street at the invitation of her older sister. “I think black churches do a whole lot more than religion.”
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A Pennsylvania pastor who’s the key suspect in a global insider-trading scheme must remain in custody while being sent to New York for a bail hearing.
A judge in Philadelphia, whose decision on Tuesday to free Vitaly Korchevsky on $100,000 bail was blocked by a judge in Brooklyn, ordered the pastor temporarily detained while he’s transported by U.S. Marshals to the New York borough for the hearing.
Korchevsky made no comments Friday in court in Philadelphia. He whispered to his wife and brother-in-law across the courtroom. Bob Levant, one of his attorneys, said the father of two is the “centerpiece” of a close-knit Ukrainian community in the Glen Mills area.
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Brother Roger’s life ended tragically ten years ago when he was stabbed during a worship service by a young woman who was mentally ill. I was convinced this violent incident would change the character of Taizé, that the brothers would put up bulletproof glass between themselves and the visitors or that people would have to run their bags through x-ray machines upon arrival.
But this was not the case. The community of brothers continued to welcome pilgrims with openness and care.
In a world that is hyper-militarized, the brothers modeled a different response – one of trust, prayerfulness and compassion in a desperately wounded world. Taizé continues to organize what is called a “Pilgrimage of Trust” in different cities around the world each year where thousands of pilgrims are welcomed into people’s homes and churches.
Why is this place so special? Why does it continue to attract so many pilgrims? I believe Taizé is what the Celts referred to as a “thin place” where the veil between this reality and God is permeable.
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For her choice of hymns to play on an old pipe organ in a church built in 1790, Johanna Goldenberg doesn't dust off a tune written years ago by some English vicar in a country parish.
Instead, she chooses a contemporary piece. A reflection, she says, that there's still plenty of history to be made at St. Mary's Anglican Church in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
"This is not a museum," she says. "This is a vibrant, thriving church. It's a wonderful little church, I love it."
This weekend, St. Mary's is celebrating its 225th anniversary and on Sunday a special service is being held that Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will attend.
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Blessed Lord, who for our sakes wast content to bear sorrow and want and death: Grant to us such a measure of thy Spirit that we may follow thee in all self-denial and tenderness of soul. Help us by thy great love to succour the afflicted, to relieve the needy, to share the burdens of the heavy laden, and ever to see thee in all that are poor and destitute; for thy great mercy’s sake.
O God, who hast taken to thyself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of thine incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Lift up our hearts, we beseech thee, O Christ, above the false show of things, above fear, above laziness, above selfishness and covetousness, above custom and fashion, up to the everlasting truth and order that thou art; that so we may live joyfully and freely, in faithful trust that thou art our Saviour, our example, and our friend, both now and for evermore.
On a hot August morning, 30-year-old Sister Bethany Madonna sits before the altar of the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist. Seated alongside her are seven other women, also in their 30s, also dressed in blue habits and long white veils.
The moment has been years in coming: the day they consecrate themselves to Jesus Christ as they offer their final vows as members of the Sisters of Life.
Which provoked a question: What could lead a personable young woman from a happy family to give up everything -- especially at a moment when women have never had as many opportunities before them?
It’s a reasonable question.
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Those of us in the mainline traditions don’t really know what to make of revivalism. Not many of us walk down the aisle to confess and surrender our sins to God. We don’t think that we receive the grace of God because we have found faith; we believe faith is a response to the prevenient grace of God. I get that too.
What I do not get is why the more theologically sophisticated a person becomes, the less likely she or he is to have any interest in inviting people to experience conversion. The apostle Paul knew a lot more theology than most of us before he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. So he was wrong. This is what we are not so good at confessing—that there is more to Jesus than we know.
We in the liturgically devoted Christian traditions are as in need of repentance and surrender as those who shuffled into my father’s revival tent. We gave up the revival tents, thankfully, but for some reason we also gave up the invitation to surrender all to Jesus.
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Jeremy Timm, a Reader, has described the “tears and soul-searching” that he endured before deciding to convert his civil partnership to marriage, knowing that this would result in the loss of his permission to officiate (PTO).
Mr Timm, a Reader in the Howden Team Ministry in Hull, was told by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, last month, that his PTO would be revoked if he pursued his intention to convert his partnership with Mike Brown.
Writing on the website of Changing Attitude, Mr Timm described being “placed in an impossible situation by the Church of England . . . faced with choosing between marriage or ministry”.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
[Recently]..there have been two poignant reminders of the prevalence of that attitude, where the advancing years are regarded as a cause for apprehension and fear.
The first was the death of Cilla Black at the comparatively young age of 72.
Although she had problems with her hearing and suffered from arthritis, she was — so far as we know — in reasonable health. But psychologically, she appeared to have been preparing for the end, explaining in interviews last year that she ‘did not want to live longer than 75’.
In this rather bleak outlook, she seems to have been heavily influenced by the experience of her mother, who lived until she was 84 but suffered a good deal in her final years.
The second episode to highlight this fear of old age was the sad case of retired nurse Gill Pharaoh, who recently took her own life at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic, despite the fact she was only 75 and had no serious health issues.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
1941--Martyrdom of Maximilian Kolbe who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German Concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland.
Authority for the date: Dewar, Diane. All for Christ: Some Twentieth Century Martyrs. Oxford University Press, 1980.
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O God, who, calling Abraham to go forth to a country which thou wouldest show him, didst promise that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed: Fulfill thy promise in us, we pray thee, giving us such faith in thee as thou shalt count unto us for righteousness; that in us and through us thy purpose may be fulfilled; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The demolition of St. Martin’s Anglican Church is now a done deal as the North Peace Savings and Credit Union moves forward with plans for of a new three story administrative centre at the location.
Negotiations for purchase of a portion of the site, adjacent to the existing credit union building on 100th Street, began back in 2013 and the demolition followed the removal of hazardous materials.
Read it all. You can read about the final worship service there and you can find the location here.
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It was a formal church setting with nine area Christian leaders present, but no formal sermons were given or messages with the Bible cracked open to a particular passage.
Instead, the clergy spoke off the cuff in a Christian “conversation” Wednesday night on issues of faith and belief.
And that led them into some areas of modern-day debate and concern, such as marriage equality, race and the church’s relevance in a digital age.
“We’ll be having a great debate next April about same-sex marriage and transgender (issues),” said the Rev. Terry Walton, senior pastor at Gainesville First United Methodist Church, at “Christianity Beyond the Catchphrases,” held at Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville.
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The Daily Express and the Sun both carried critical front pages of the BBC programme’s decision to film in the church, which they claimed was a waste of licence fee money and a highly politicised gesture.
Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, made it clear in a tweet that he fully supported the programme, as well as retweeting a positive piece from the influential Anglican blog, Archbishop Cranmer.
“What do they think the church is for? It is for the poor and the vulnerable, it is to voice things that others cannot voice,” [Bishop] Baines told the Guardian. “Everyone else seems to be allowed to be political apart from the church.”
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Signage on the former St. Matthias Anglican Church building will be removed to help clear up confusion over where the congregation meets.
The St. Matthias community currently gathers for worship at Hospice Wellington on Scottsdale Drive on Sundays at 11:30 a.m.
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O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, we beseech thee, like thy servant Jeremy Taylor, deeply sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let thy Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Teach us, O gracious Lord, to begin our works with fear, to go on with obedience, and to finish them in love, and then to wait patiently in hope, and with cheerful confidence to look up to thee, whose promises are faithful and rewards infinite; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
11. Considerable time was given to reviewing and strengthening the role of the Consultation as a network of the Anglican Communion. Revised guidelines for governance were adopted articulating the purpose of the Consultation:
to promote the deepening of communion between the Churches of the Anglican Communion by renewing its life of liturgy and prayer as integral to the mission of the Church;
to advise the Provinces and the Instruments of Communion on questions of liturgy and common prayer and to encourage and support conversation between the Provinces on questions touching on Anglican liturgical theology and practice;
to review developments in liturgical formation and practice in the Anglican Communion and among ecumenical partners, and to give advice upon them to the Provinces and the Instruments of Communion, with the intention to promote common understanding, consistency and coherence, both within the Anglican Communion and in ecumenical engagement;
to assist any Province with new proposals in the areas of liturgical formation, development and practice; and
to report the scope and results of its work to the Anglican Consultative Council.
This process was much assisted by the presence and contribution of the Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion, the Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut.
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In the course of aiding in creating a fair trade support network within the church in Montreal, I have been exploring the theology of relationship as something fundamental to the Christian vision of life and that the call to right relationship with God, the earth and each other is a call to sustainable and dignified ways of relating. I careful study of the creation narrative is, I think, a good place to start!
The French bible study group is a group of parishioners who attend the French service on Sundays at Christ Church Cathedral. They come together bi-weekly to share a meal, personal reflections and study of scripture. The focus here for me has been on mission as nurturing the already present and active community within the church. There is an imperative for us to continue providing nourishment for those who call the Anglican Church there Christian ‘home.’ As with fair trade, there is work to be done on articulating the theological reasons for sustaining relationships. The particular angle with which I have been approaching this idea is through the lens of, as mentioned, upholding the sanctity of life. This is important for the church because, I believe, the church is essentially the gathered body of Christ. And just as we would expect to care for our own bodies, so to must we care for the gathered body. Similarly, thinking globally, working with the principles of the fair trade movement one sees a similar concern for ensuring the healthy vitality of global human relationships.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology
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‘A new refugee camp has opened a few kilometres from Gambella town. Another is being established near the town of Matar, and another in the Asosa region near the permanent camp Sherkole (the new camp has been given the poignant name ‘Sorry’).
‘The churches, however, are usually the first stop for the refugees. They often ask for food and shelter.
‘As well as food aid, there are churches in the refugee camps providing literacy classes and other educational support. In this way, the churches function as community centres for many refugees.
‘We have 15 mission centres in Gambella, each of which is a cluster of churches. Some of the churches are in established refugee camps; some are in villages and towns. We have 16 clergy and 90 lay readers in the area, so we are obtaining first-hand information about what is happening.
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A recent substantial donation from the Church of the Epiphany in Doha, Qatar, has enabled Fr Faiz Jerjes, our priest in Baghdad, to serve the physical as well as the spiritual needs of the many internally displaced Iraqis who have fled Da’esh (ISIS)) in the Mosul and Nineveh Plain area and are now at and around St George’s.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq
Understanding the religious life of early America is an important business, and not just for scholars. That is because all sides in today's religious and constitutional arguments appeal to the past when they lay out their ideas for how things should work in the 21st century.
Conservatives generally want churches and church-affiliated organisations to enjoy wide sovereignty; they cite the First Amendment's guarantee of the free exercise of faith, and also its bar on the establishment of any religion, the so-called "non-establishment" clause. At least since the 20th century, non-establishment has often been taken to mean that the government and judiciary should avoid delving much into the internal affairs of a church, because to take any position could imply state backing for one religious line. Liberals, meanwhile, tend to have an idealised image of the absolute separation of church and state, as laid down by the founding fathers; they use that picture as an argument for keeping religious ideas and taboos out of policymaking. For both camps, Thomas Jefferson's statement of belief in a "wall of separation" between church and state is another important text. Liberals see the wall as protecting politics from religion, while conservatives see it more as protecting religion and its followers from political interference.
But what if both camps are wrong, because in the young American republic, state and religion were never fully separated? Sarah Barringer Gordon, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, says 20 years of research have convinced her that during the early decades of American life, state authorities interfered heavily in the affairs of churches and in doing so, helped to remould the American religious scene. The story she tells is nuanced and intriguing.
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--1812: Archibald Alexander becomes the first professor of Princeton, filling its theology chair. Like many of America’s premiere colleges and universities, Princeton had been founded to train ministers.
Authority for the date: Kerr, Hugh Thomas. Sons of the Prophets: Leaders in Protestantism from Princeton Seminary. Princeton University Press
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Life-giving God, who alone hast power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the example of thy servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them thy Presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O Lord, take thou full possession of my heart, raise there thy throne, and command there as thou dost in heaven. Being created by thee, let me live to thee. Being created for thee, let me ever act for thy glory. Being redeemed by thee, let me render to thee what is thine, and let my spirit ever cleave to thee alone; for thy name’s sake.
Is the Pope Catholic? Of course. Wait ... no! Oh, hang on -- yeah, yeah, he is. pic.twitter.com/Hql9d8Inw5— Freakonomics (@freakonomics) August 11, 2015
Life is stranger than fiction.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Media Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
A Church of England lay preacher has disclosed that he is preparing to be expelled from ministry to marry his male partner.
Jeremy Timm said he had been forced to “choose between marriage or ministry” by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, but is ready to be stripped of his position in the Church in order to tie the knot.
Mr Timm and his partner, Mike, who live near Howden, East Yorkshire, have been in a civil partnership for six years but are planning to convert it to marriage in September, in open defiance of a ban on same-sex weddings in the Church of England.
The 59-year-old licensed reader, who leads services in six churches around Howden, was faced with the stark choice during a in a face-to-face meeting with Dr Sentamu last month at which he discussed his plans.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The latest publication from the Church of England brings an ancient tradition of following the Psalms to mobile devices and e-readers.
Adding to the popular 'Reflections' series, Reflections on the Psalms is a standalone book, ebook and mobile app written for anyone wishing to follow the ancient practice of the Psalter, reading the Psalms of the Bible each morning and evening. The mobile app is available to buy on the iOS App Store, with an Android version coming soon.
Produced by Church House Publishing, the new publication provides short meditations on each of the Psalms written by Bishops, well-known writers, experienced ministers, biblical scholars and theologians. The book also contains an introduction to the Psalms by theologian Paula Gooder, and a guide to the Psalms in the life of the Church by the Bishop of Sheffield, Steven Croft. With the mobile app, users can save their favourite Psalms and share them via social media.
Read it all and follow the links.
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Colby Alan Rawson JOHNS ISLAND - Colby Alan Rawson, 21, of Johns Island, South Carolina, entered into eternal rest Wednesday, August 5, 2015. His Celebration of Life service will be held Monday, August 10, 2015 in St. Michael's Church, Meeting Street at Broad at 3:00 p.m. The committal service will follow in the churchyard. The family will receive friends Monday, in the church fellowship hall following the service. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR, INC., WEST ASHLEY CHAPEL. Colby was born July 12, 1994, in Charleston, South Carolina, son of Randall Allen Rawson and Barbara Corbett Rawson. He was an Arborist with Rawson Services, Inc. He is survived by his parents, Randall Allen and Barbara Corbett Rawson; sister, Miranda North Rawson all of Johns Island, SC; maternal grandparents, Johnnie L. and Jean North Corbett of Bamberg, SC; paternal grandmothers, JoAnn Parker of Milsap, TX, Mary Jane Rawson of Sheffield, IA; great-grandmother, Hazel H. North of Mt. Pleasant, SC; aunts, LeeAnn Rawson, Kris Guzzi, Shari Rogers, Stacy Byre; uncle, Walter C. Corbett (Tammy); cousins, Johnnie Corbett, Jameson Corbett and extended family. Colby was a creative young man, an avid outdoorsman and adventurer. He would light up the room with his smile, laughter, and happiness; he filled many lives with hope, and he taught us what love is. His friends were numerous and each has wonderful stories to tell about their time with Colby. He loved music, rollercoasters, animals, fishing, being on the water, cars, friends, and family. He loved people, and he loved life and lived it to the fullest with gusto. Because of Colby's love for animals, especially for his cat Ibit, memorials may be made to the Charleston Animal Society, 2455 Remount Road, North Charleston, SC 29406. Also because of his love of feeding and nurturing others, memorials may be made to the Low Country Food Bank 2864 Azalea Drive, North Charleston, SC 29405. The family is asking those who will attend Colby's service to please bring non-perishable food in honor of his legacy.
O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that, inspired by the devotion of thy servant Clare, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.
We offer to thee, O Lord our God, the work which thou hast appointed for us. Help us to do it heartily and faithfully, as in thy sight and for thy glory, that so we may be drawn nearer to thee and confirmed in thy service, which alone is true freedom; in the name of our Master and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
....one of the risks of the Assisted Dying debate is that it detracts from the debate about how to improve the experience of the living. Not everyone will think that being ‘an old lady hobbling up the road with a trolley’ is an unbearable loss of dignity, as Pharaoh did.
In his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande argues that:
‘Certainly suffering at the end of life is sometimes unavoidable and unbearable, and helping people end their misery may be necessary. Given the opportunity, I would support laws to provide these kinds of prescriptions to people. About half don’t even use their prescription. They are reassured just to know they have this control if they need it. But we damage entire societies if we let providing this capability divert us from improving the lives of the ill. Assisted living is far harder than assisted death, but its possibilities are far greater, as well.’
Campaigners against assisted dying may disagree with Gawande’s support for prescriptions of medication that would allow a patient to end their lives if things become unbearable. What if life is physically bearable but painful as a result of an illness or disability, but emotionally overwhelming because someone fears being a burden on their family?
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As far back as 1919, in philosophy's most generous tribute to the "responsibility" of journalism, Max Weber ignored the reporter's role entirely; for him it was the political journalist, the promoter of causes, who deserved our admiration and was so ungratefully rewarded. If getting the story right is the reporter's aim, the editorial staff have their own priorities; the "comment" column or staged interview is better suited to the purposes of routinising, while even the headlines, those sacred pillars of "shock," may be confected of press-officers' and PR hand-outs, plans, reports, draft speeches circulated in advance, notices of engagements, statistical projections, contested scientific claims, the insipid flavour of the whole drowned out with the pungent spices of speculation. What we look to the media for is the construction of the world of the moment, and reporting on realities may have only tangential relevance to that.
If "new every morning" is the tempo of divine grace and the tempo of our personal responsibilities, it is because the morning is a time when one can look back intelligently and look forward hopefully. It is the tempo of practical reason. The media's "new every morning" (quickly becoming "new every moment") is, one may dare to say, in flat contradiction to that daily offer of grace. It serves rather to fix our perception upon the momentary now, preventing retrospection, discouraging deliberation, holding us spellbound in a suppositious world of the present which, like hell itself, has lost its future and its past.
Read it all.
When Elizabeth Esther looked into Vacation Bible School at the church closest to her home in Orange County, California, she was disappointed to discover it cost $40 per kid—too much for her big family.
The Catholic mom and blogger instead found a free program and then tweeted her gratitude: “A BIG THANK YOU to all the churches out there offering free VBS for kids this summer! As a mom of five, it makes ALL the difference!”
While most congregations offer VBS at no cost, organizers can easily become overwhelmed by demand. Not only are fewer programs available for a growing number of unchurched families—about 1 in 6 churches offering VBS in the '90s dropped it by 2012, according to Barna Research—parents now regularly enroll kids in multiple Vacation Bible Schools each summer. That puts more pressure on churches to do something unique from the congregration up the street.
Especially in cities with a booming VBS circuit, a nominal fee ($5–$25) can discourage no-shows, and a bit more ($30–$75) can offset the price of food and new materials. Churches that charge typically offer scholarship options and discounts for families enrolling multiple kids.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship Youth Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
An open Bible rested comfortably in the hands of Eva Smith, its pages worn and fixed on the words of First Peter.
“Tend the flock of God which is among you,” she read aloud.
It was those words that led the 78-year-old North Charleston woman to take on a position 15 years ago as head chaplain at the Charleston County jail. And it’s those words that continue to guide her — a source of strength that allows her to endure.
“If I must say something, it’s that God loves his people no matter what they do,” she said. “It’s up to the people to accept his word.”
Read it all from the local paper.
Almighty God, who didst call thy deacon Laurence to serve thee with deeds of love, and didst give him the crown of martyrdom: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, following his example, may fulfil thy commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving thee with all our hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst drive forth from the temple those who profaned the holy place, saying to them, My house shall be called the house of prayer: Make us so to love the habitation of thy house and the place where thy honour dwelleth, that with humility and godly fear we may draw near to worship thee; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
“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.”
--quoted by yours truly in Sunday school this morning
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Adult Education * Theology Theology: Scripture
It was clear that all four denominations were declining, but that in Wales, Scotland and the USA the Anglican churches were declining much faster than the Church of England. Both the C in W and the SEC had potential extinction dates about 2040, with ECUSA possibly lasting 10-15 years longer. Indeed, although the Church of England is declining, it is only on the margins of extinction if the current pattern remains, thus unlikely to face extinction this century.
Rather than just repeat the standard reasons given for church decline, in the light of the contrasts in decline patterns, I would rather look at a different question: What does the Church of England have, that the other three denominations do not, that may have helped reduce the effects of numerical decline?
Here are some suggestions, not exhaustive, and some may be a bit controversial....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Church of England (CoE) Church of Wales Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Data * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry
The Anglican Church, once a key institution in the English-speaking world, has suffered decline for over half a century. Although in both the UK and North America there are many examples of growing and lively Anglican churches, as national denominations the trend is downwards. This decline is in marked contrast to continued Anglican growth in Africa and other parts of the world. There the church is healthy. In the West it is sick. The question is – is the Anglican sickness unto death?
In this blog I explore the different patterns of Anglican decline through four denominations: the Church of England (C of E), the Church in Wales (C in W), the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), and the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA). The study is not perfect, nor is the data, but I hope it inspires debate and other studies. A subsequent blog will suggest possible reasons for their differences in decline.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Wales Scottish Episcopal Church Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Theology
Much like New York City’s World Trade Center site that was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the church has become a destination and a ground zero for modern racial strife. It could mark a historic turning pointing in how Americans view race.
Tourism officials hesitated to estimate how many people have inquired about visiting Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, but the building has risen nearly to the top of Charleston’s tourist attractions.
The interim pastor, the Rev. Norvel Goff, said members of his congregation were energized by a public sentiment that the church has “an open door to all visitors, regardless of color.”
“It’s become a touchstone for Charleston,” he said. “People from around the world are coming to share their thoughts and how their communities have come together in their own way because of how this community came together.”
Read it all from the local paper.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * South Carolina
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast revealed thyself in all thy power through the incarnation of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and who dwellest in us by the working of thy Holy Spirit: Grant that we may, each in his several calling, profit from the operation of that one and the self-same Spirit whose gifts are manifold, to the glory of thy holy name, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, world without end.
“I think this is something that has been in the works for more than a year,” said Lee Montgomery, vicar for St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Cedar City.
Because of that, Montgomery said he was “not at all surprised” by the decision, but he has mixed feelings about the reaction of some of his congregants.
“Personally, as I interpret the Bible and from our religious perspective, I applaud the Supreme Court decision that finally grants the right to marry to a group that I think has been deprived of that right,” Lee said. “At the same time, I feel extreme sadness because I know there are people who disapprove of the Supreme Court ruling.”
Some within the Episcopal Church view the decision to perform such marriages in the church as being in opposition to their religious beliefs, said Lee. “I feel sympathy for those people.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Barbara Brown Taylor says that despite their pain [the family members of the Charleston massacre victims] they did what Jesus had taught them: turn the cheek, pray for the persecutor, love the enemy, welcome the stranger. In everything do to others as you would have them do to you. “It sounds like advice for angels, not humans” she said, “so unrealistic, so undefended, it’s a wonder we repeat it at all. Yet there it is: the Christian teaching on how to respond to violence when it comes. Sometimes it actually works to disarm the violence in others, which is why we know the names of Gandhi, Tutu, and King. But that is not its main purpose. Its main purpose is to disarm the violence in us, so that we do not join the other team.”
Michael Lapsley is an Anglican priest working in South Africa. Because of his resistance to apartheid he had to flee that country. In 1990 as a result of a parcel bomb attack he lost an eye and both hands. Despite this he has worked tirelessly for healing and reconciliation in South Africa. He insists victims must be heard: “There are often areas of silence where people are told they must forget and move on. Yet everyone has a right to have their story heard in a safe place.” It’s something we do well to remember on this island.
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There is a natural link between evangelism and worship. Yes, at Redeemer we talk about sharing the hope of Jesus out of our gratitude for his love and rescue. Worship and gratitude is a natural motivator for evangelism but there’s another link that comes to mind. When I talk to Christians and pastors who have a natural bent towards evangelism, I notice they live their faith very publicly because evangelism is an act of worship. They get to see a glimpse of God’s sovereignty, his unrelentless love and pursuit of someone and they get to see the Holy Spirit do beautiful things in their midst. Lyn Cook, a Community Group Director with Redeemer’s East Side Congregation, told me one time, evangelism is one way God reaches into her heart and reminds her of his grace and goodness. He reveals himself to her by giving her hope and compassion as she prays, listens and talks with non-believing friends. God’s sovereignty and relentless love are the foundation for evangelism and the way that many Christians, like Lyn, experience God as they live out their faith publicly.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
The Rev. George Foreman flipped his Bible open to the Book of Genesis, let fly with a left hook for Jesus and sent Satan sprawling into the ropes.
“You’ve got to learn how to fight!” he exhorted. “If you believe in God, you’ve got to fight for him.”
The Sunday morning faithful, warmed by a hand-clapping round of gospel singing, rocked on their hard wooden pews with the verbal punch.
At 66, Foreman — a two-time world heavyweight champion and veteran of more than 80 scarring professional boxing bouts — might be graying, his card-topping pugilistic battles long over. But in his bout against sin as pastor of north Houston’s Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is still a powerhouse slugger.
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Justin Welby was once a member of HTB and knows there is great potential to be found in the Church of England. He sees the need for change if it is to not just survive, but flourish. He also knows that for that to happen, things most definitely cannot stay as they are, and after decades of denial and procrastination, some urgent measures are needed. He describes himself as a spiritual magpie, drawing inspiration in his faith from different Christian traditions. He is equally happy to take the best of what he has seen outside of the church and adapt it for the needs within it. These are not the dealings of a misguided amateur. Those who doubt what he is working to achieve or demur from some of his more unorthodox methods should think carefully about their own understanding and motives before issuing harsh judgements.
If it is a stark choice between Linda Woodhead’s prosaic plan for the Church of England or the Welby-Gumbel vision for holiness, transformation, revival and growth, I know which I prefer.
Read it all.
Almighty God, whose servant Dominic grew in knowledge of thy truth and formed an order of preachers to proclaim the good news of Christ: Give to all thy people a hunger for your Word and an urgent longing to share the Gospel, that the whole world may come to know thee as thou art revealed in thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Happy Feast of St. Dominic! Through prayer, study & preaching, may we convert the gnostics of our day just as he did. pic.twitter.com/XpaLypQzTW— Chad Pecknold (@ccpecknold) August 8, 2015
Heavenly Father, the Father of all wisdom, understanding, and true strength: We beseech thee look mercifully upon thy servants, and send thy Holy Spirit into their hearts, that when they must join to fight in the field for the glory of thy holy name, then they, strengthened with the defence of thy right hand, may manfully stand in the confession of thy faith, and continue in the same unto their lives’ end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of Australia, has officially launched the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The RAP, developed in conjunction with Reconciliation Australia, is being implemented so that the diocese, along with its parishes and sector ministries, is able to coordinate key programs and initiatives aimed at changing the culture of the diocese to better embrace reconciliation. This will include advocacy and promotion of the key issues surrounding reconciliation, as well as providing practical advice and liturgical resources for parish and other ministry events.
“The full aspiration that Reconciliation Australia has encouraged is that we don’t overreach, over-promise and under-deliver, but have at every stage of this journey things that can be authentic and real and help strengthen our mutual resolve and understanding,” said Dr Freier. “I’m really thrilled my expectation coming to this night has been met by the reality.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Like many of you, I’m continuing to reflect on the tectonic philosophical and moral shifts in our culture crystallized in the Supreme Court decision to legalize same sex marriage—and what that decision means not only for our religious liberties, but for our evangelism, discipleship and mission as followers of Jesus Christ.
Four weeks ago I quoted Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission who stated that there will be a new generation of “refugees” from the current metaphysical-sexual expression culture that we now live in. Yes, there will be refugees—because turning in on yourself and pursuing your own sexual desires as a fundamental liberty never ends well. (See Romans 1:18-32 for a picture of what that looks like). Such a culture cannot keep its promises of personal happiness and fulfillment for individuals whose needs and cravings will inevitably be at odds! Sexual and relational brokenness, desperate loneliness, divorce, broken families, spiritual and emotional wounds will increase with the ever-accelerating sexual revolution which has been blessed by the highest courts of our land. Not only that, but abortion as a gruesome method of birth control and fetal tissue extraction and euthanasia at the other end of life will also increase as the exaltation of personal desires trumps traditional biblical values on the sanctity of life.
In a culture where it’s all about me and my choices, where the bottom-line world view is that the self is the only thing that can be known, and where freedom of sexual expression, self-interests and narcissism reign supreme, here’s the question: what do we as a church, as followers of Jesus Christ, have to offer to those who will be refugees of this new metaphysical-sexual expression regime?
Read it all (his emphasis).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Psychology Science & Technology Sexuality * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * Theology Anthropology Apologetics
While the White House and Congress prepare for a final showdown over the controversial Iran nuclear deal, three American prisoners and one missing American in Iran are awaiting their own fate.
One of the prisoners is Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American Christian pastor who has been detained in Iran since 2012. He has become the international face of the brutal persecution of Christians by the Islamic Republic.
Abedini was arrested by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps while visiting relatives and building an orphanage in the city of Rasht. Initially placed under house arrest, he was transferred to Iran’s notorious Evin Prison and later to Rajai Shahr Prison.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Missions Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Globalization Law & Legal Issues Prison/Prison Ministry Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Middle East Iran
Alternative chrism masses for those who cannot accept women bishops are a consequence rather than a cause of division in the Church, and do not breach the principles in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on women bishops, an independent review has concluded.
The adjudication by Sir Philip Mawer, who was appointed by the Archbishops to consider grievances from those who are concerned that the principles are not being adhered to, was published last Friday. It followed a letter to him from Hilary Cotton, who chairs Women and the Church (WATCH), in April.
She argued that there was “no sacramental need” for the masses, which are presided over by bishops of the Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, since chrism masses were already held in each diocese. Alternative masses were “a cause of much pain to clergy women and their supportive male colleagues, and an expression of division within the dioceses”.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * International News & Commentary England / UK
Christian preacher Pastor James McConnell has said he wants to be “exonerated, liberated and set free” after he pleaded not guilty at a Belfast court in connection with charges he faces over a sermon where he branded Islam as “satanic”.
At Laganside court on Thursday, the north Belfast preacher’s solicitor Joe Rice said his client would be pleading not guilty to the case prosecutors have taken under the 2003 Communications Act.
Supporters, including DUP MP Sammy Wilson, gathered outside the court holding placards to protest what they described as the pastor’s right to free speech.
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