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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, Bishop of Chile and Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of South America, made his comments in clear English during a meeting at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston, May 20. He said that, despite the Diocese’s separation from the Episcopal Church in 2012, the Diocese continues to be recognized as Anglicans by the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
“I'm here with you with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury," said Bishop Zavala. He told those gathered that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was with the Global South Primates "Steering Committee" in a meeting in Cairo, Egypt in 2014 when "we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to some dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion" said Bishop Zavala.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Identity Global South Churches & Primates * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Ordained * International News & Commentary South America Chile * South Carolina * Theology
In England and Wales, the Suicide Act 1961 makes it an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or a suicide attempt.
Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said he would attempt to reintroduce a bill that would allow assisted dying in the UK.
He said it was "completely wrong" that terminally ill people did not have the option to end their life.
"Whatever your take on the subject, it should be debated," Lord Falconer told the BBC.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe Switzerland * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Read it all. LOL.
The chimes atop St. John's Cathedral in Saskatoon will ring out this week in honour of Canada's missing and murdered aboriginal women.
As part of national initiative by the Anglican Church of Canada, the bells in Saskatoon will ring 1,017 times — one chime for each aboriginal women and girls murdered between 1980 and 2012, according to a press release by the church.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Women * Theology Anthropology
The 4,130 square metre Brown Street property housed the city’s successive Anglican bishops until current bishop Greg Thompson chose to reside elsewhere.
The seven bedroom, four bathroom 1929 Bishopscourt is not heritage listed but parts of its grounds are.
Last year, the Anglican Synod gave the greenlight for the Newcastle sale to be considered. At the time Bishop Greg Thompson asked the Synod to consider “the economics of having this property, the suitability of it as the home of the Bishop and family, and the historic sentiment of previous bishops who lived within it.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Housing/Real Estate Market * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
During my time in seminary I took a leadership course taught by the late, great Howard Hendricks. As we studied the life of David, Hendricks shared a study he conducted with a group of men in full-time ministry who had fallen into a morally disqualifying sin.
At the time, I had only been a Christian for a few years, but unfortunately the subject was all too relevant. During my early days I had witnessed several men whom I loved and respected fall into serious sinful compromise. At one point in those days, the falls came so frequently I felt as if I was on the spiritual beach of Normandy watching buddies’ lives get blown apart all around me.
The study examined 246 men in full-time ministry who experienced moral failure within a two-year period. As far as Hendricks could discern, these full-time clergy were born-again followers of Jesus. Though they shared a common salvation, these men also shared a common feat of devastation; they had all, within 24 months of each other, been involved in an adulterous relationship.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sexuality * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
“The diocese wasn’t overwhelmingly pleased with it,” he said. “I’m not sure of whether it was a perceptual issue or whether [the bishop] figured he invested 12 years of education in me and didn’t want to lose it too quick in a motorcycle accident. But the diocese has never been completely at ease with my being a biker.”
His parishioners, he says, believe otherwise. The pastor often cites his motorcycle experiences in his homilies, attempting to convey the Scriptures so that they will relate in the modern world.
“I tell them weather reports are very important to motorcycle riders. If you’re going to be out for a couple of hours, you can’t just look out the window. What’s it going to be like two hours from now when I come back? There’s a 50 percent chance of rain, but if it rains, you get 100 percent wet,” he said.
“So the Lord tells you, ‘not the day nor the hour.’ You know, the odds may be 50 percent that you’re not going to get caught doing something wrong. But if you get caught doing something wrong, you’re 100 percent guilty.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Travel Urban/City Life and Issues * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Alice Hargreaves, nee Liddell died in 1934 aged 82 and is buried at Lyndhurst, Hants.
She inspired the author – a friend of her family – to write about a girl who fell down a rabbit hole to entertain her and her sisters when she was a child.
The book, which has since been published in more than 170 languages and adapted for the big screen, first came about on a rowing trip they all took together.
Ann Rogers, warden at St Michael and All Angels Church where the grave is, said: “We get lots of visitors to see Alice’s grave - every day there’s a family struggling to find it in the church grounds...."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children History Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture
Just over a year ago Lichfield diocese agreed to pilot a fresh approach. 60 people, lay and ordained, gathered one morning in Stafford to think about how to get people talking about death, dying and funerals. They went away to try out a new concept: GraveTalk, with 35 parishes setting up café-style events. Each event involves setting up a space to look like a café, where refreshments are served. People gather in small groups at tables. Conversations are started through a pack of 52 specially written questions covering a wide range of topics, ranging from attitudes to death to personal experiences.
There are no answers, just a space to talk. Facilitators, lay or ordained, make sure the event is running smoothly – and there is always ‘tea and cake’. The trial was researched in partnership with the University of Staffordshire, and the results were overwhelmingly positive: when we make the time and the space, people will talk.
One vicar who piloted GraveTalk said:
“I gave it to them and I went and made coffee while they started discussing it. And I just couldn’t shut them up. When I came to draw them to a conclusion, they wanted to carry on. They thought it was absolutely brilliant. I was really surprised.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Eschatology
After the accident, it was revealed that leaders from the Diocese of Maryland knew Cook had been arrested for a previous DUI before she was hired as the assistant bishop. They failed to pass that information on to the committee that appointed her.
MONTAGNE: Now, the diocese has appointed a new assistant bishop, who is a recovering alcoholic. Chilton Knudsen has made addiction counseling a key part of her ministry. She took a break from a conference on clergy addiction to talk to us and said her selection was no accident.
CHILTON KNUDSEN: Renee, I'm confident that the Diocese of Maryland came looking for me because they know I'm a publicly acknowledged person in recovery. And so as an ordained person and a recovering person, I have a little palette of skills that I think are uniquely helpful in a situation like the diocese of Maryland has now.
Read or listen to it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Alcohol/Drinking Alcoholism * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The United Methodist Church has only 15 years to reverse its decline in the United States if it is to have a sustainable future, an economist warned church leaders.
At the same gathering, the church leaders discussed possible missional goals to address that decline and enhance the global denomination’s ministries around the world.
“By 2030, the denomination in the United States will either have found a way to turn around, meaning it is growing, or its turnaround in the United States is not possible,” Donald R. House Sr. told the May 19 combined meeting of the Connectional Table and the General Council on Finance and Administration board. “By 2050, the connection will have collapsed.”
In other words, he predicted that unless things change soon, the denomination in coming decades will not have enough U.S. churches to pay for its connectional structures. Such structures include conferences, bishops, agencies, missions and international disaster response.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist * Theology Anthropology Christology Soteriology
Be your own size. There are 300 billion stars in our own galaxy and a hundred billion galaxies in the universe. Before you tell everyone not to start the party until you arrive, take in the enormity of that reality and your tiniest part in it. Before you say to someone, “Do you know who I am?” ask yourself, in light of the scale of the universe and its venerable age, “Who exactly am I?” Look at the earth, which you share with so many living beings. Many of the tiny ones scurry and multiply in hidden ways that make it possible for you to breathe, heal, digest, and sleep. Realize how you take for granted that the sun will rise tomorrow. If it wasn’t so, what could you do about it? Your life rests in an ecology that you will never live long enough to comprehend, much less thank.
Be gentle. Remember the physician’s mantra, “First, do no harm.” In the words of William Blake, “We are put on earth a little space, / That we may learn to bear the beams of love.” There is so much that we’ve never even paused to imagine. When we look to right and left, we see others who know as little as we do. People tend to do the best they can with what they have and what they know. A little compassion, a little generosity of heart helps us look to our fellow creatures with gentleness rather than bitterness, anger, or condemnation. How often have you commented on what another person said or did with horror, fury, or scorn, only to find yourself, ten years or ten minutes later, saying or doing the same thing? Be sparing with your scorn, lest it rebound on you and make you lamentable in your own sight.
Be a person of praise and blessing.
Read it all.
You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.
Filed under: * By Kendall Sermons & Teachings * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Pentecost Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * South Carolina * Theology Ecclesiology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) Theology: Scripture
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.
Take a look at all 30 of them.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Military / Armed Forces * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
--Walt Whitman (1819–1892)
• NCA currently maintains approximately 3.4 million gravesites at 131 national cemeteries, one national Veterans’ burial ground and 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites in 40 states and Puerto Rico.
• Approximately 473,000 full-casket gravesites, 124,000 in-ground gravesites for cremated remains, and 154,000 columbarium niches are available in already developed acreage in our 131 national cemeteries.
• There are approximately 20,500 acres within established installations in NCA. Nearly 57 percent are undeveloped and – along with available gravesites in developed acreage – have the potential to provide approximately 6.3 million gravesites.
• Of the 131 national cemeteries, 73 are open to all interments; 17 can accommodate cremated remains and the remains of family members for interment in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member; and 41 will perform only interments of family members in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member.
Yellowstone National Cemetery, NCA’s newest National Veterans Burial Ground serving Veterans in rural Montana, is open also to all interments.
Read it all.
I walk down the garden-paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.
And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.
I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover.
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon--
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.
Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
"Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se'nnight."
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
"Any answer, Madam," said my footman.
"No," I told him.
"See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer."
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.
In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, "It shall be as you have said."
Now he is dead.
In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down
In my gown.
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?
--Amy Lowell (1874--1925)
Watch it all--KSH.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Military / Armed Forces Poetry & Literature Young Adults
“…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”
--Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Military / Armed Forces * Economics, Politics Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
“My Fellow Americans:
“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.&
“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
“And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
“Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
“Thy will be done, Almighty God.
You can listen to the actual audio if you want here and today of all days is the day to do that. Also, there is more on background and another audio link there.--KSH.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Spirituality/Prayer * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military Politics in General Office of the President * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.
P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:
It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done." The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene." Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Military / Armed Forces Poetry & Literature * International News & Commentary Canada
Talk to anyone in my business and they'll all say the same thing: No matter how long you write stories and put them in the newspaper, you are never really sure which ones are going to strike a nerve.
What you think might be a Pulitzer-quality epic might draw only a nice call from Mom, while a simple tale tossed off on deadline causes an uproar, or an avalanche of praise. One legendary former investigative reporter at this paper wrote scores of stories that changed laws and saved lives, yet never did he get more mail than when he wrote about burying his cat.
And so it is with my June column on the amateur photographer, the widow and the eagle on a gravestone.
Read it all and do not miss the picture.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Military / Armed Forces * General Interest Animals Photos/Photography * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A.
Anglican war chaplains saw terrible things on the Western Front in the First World War and many were hailed as heroes for ministering to dying men amid the shell fire and machinegun bullets in no man’s land. They returned to their pulpits with a righteous anger to change their church and British society.
Linda Parker’s wide-ranging book, Shellshocked Prophets: Former Anglican Army Chaplains in Interwar Britain, tells the story of this brave band of Anglican clergyman — who were awarded around 250 Military Crosses between them — and then helped to transform the church. “Given the changes that occurred in the Church of England institutionally, liturgically and in its attitudes to a rapidly changing society, it is important that the role of former chaplains should be examined and their significance analysed,” says Dr Parker, herself the daughter of a former Territorial Army chaplain.
A harbinger of social change in the church was the Industrial Christian Fellowship founded by the Rev Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, MC,in 1919 to encourage Christians to relate their faith to their working lives. As chief “missioner”, Studdert Kennedy travelled the country evangelising in factories, mines and canteens, and gathered about him a team of other ex-war chaplains.
Read it all (requires subscription).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Books History Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
In his visit to the Republic of Ireland earlier this week, Prince Charles changed the climate in which reconciliation can take place, and massively changed it for the better.
In word as well as action, tone as well as content, public as well as in private, he moved the heart of reconciliation away from the political arena.
He took it to a place where the facing of pain, resentment, anguish and agonies (to use his own words) are put at the very centre of leaving our grandchildren “a legacy of lasting peace, forgiveness and friendship” (again, his own words).
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
With Victorian-style public lectures now a rarity, listening to anyone speak to a crowd, for most of us above school age, occurs only when the best man tells stories of the groom’s indiscretions. “Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking” is as much a case of “unaccustomed as I am to public listening”.
Pity the preacher then, who, as well as the regular Sunday gig, is drafted in for school assemblies, the Women’s Institute and the odd Rotary dinner.
The vicar is charged with delivering something memorable, neither too long nor too short, and not just once in a while, but week in week out. For me, the Sunday sermon looms large enough to make many a Saturday night sleepless. As I step nervously up the pulpit steps I worry that my waffling will leave them uninspired or, worse still, asleep. But while preaching is culturally alien to many, and being “preached at” unappealing to most, it is similar to something we are more used to seeing: standup comedy.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Theatre/Drama/Plays * General Interest Humor / Trivia * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Read it all.
Bishop Tito Zavala, Presiding Bishop of South America, was with us at Diocesan Council today, May 19, 2015.
"We are here to know you, to be with you, to say with our presence that we, in the Global South, are with you and want to do the best we can for you so you can continue being part of the Anglican Communion," said Bishop Zavala.
As one of 40 primates of the 80 million member worldwide Anglican Communion, Bishop Zavala will be in South Carolina specifically to encourage and support fellow Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, and the clergy and lay people of the Diocese of South Carolina.
“We’re grateful for the strong support we’ve received from Anglicans around the world and are especially thankful for this time we’ll have with Bishop Zavala,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, XIV Bishop of South Carolina. “The Global South Primates have assured us of their prayers and their stand with us.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Global South Churches & Primates * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Ordained * International News & Commentary South America Chile * South Carolina
The public view of religion among young people, according to a YouGov poll - well, alright it’s a poll, but … [laughter] the reputation of religion among young people is actually more negative than neutral: 41% – this was a poll in 2013, when they still got them right – 41% of 18-24 year olds agreed that “religion is more often the cause of evil in the world” and only 14% say it is a cause for good.
The Faith Action Audit reveals something different. It shows the breadth of commitment across the country, the depth of commitment, and above all the strength of experience and good practice. Thanks to Cinnamon [Network] and other bodies like it, this is not mere do-goodery. It is seeking to find best practice and put it into action in the most professional way that can be imagined.
We’ve heard some of the figures, but just a reminder: the faith sector collectively is delivering, according to the audit – I’ll round it – 220,000 social action projects, from which 47 million people benefit.
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[THE] REV. WAYNE MEISEL: We have a generation of young people in their 20s and 30s that define themselves by their commitment to service and justice work. The challenge is that many of them, I think most of them, do not believe the church cares about them or the causes they care about. There’s this bubbling fervor and energy and possibility that we just have to figure out how to both tap and how to support, and then for guys like me to get out of the way.
ABERNETHY: Craig Barnes is the president of Princeton Theological Seminary.
CRAIG BARNES (President, Princeton Theological Seminary): Wayne is a fascinating and charismatic kind of leader. He works best kind of on the margins of schools, churches, and organizations, and he’s a visionary. But he doesn’t work through the system. He works with the students themselves, and he excites students, and they become all caught up in his vision of changing the world and thinking that their life can make a real difference. And this is not just happening in Princeton. This is happening in seminaries all over the country. So it’s a phenomenon.
The students are asking different questions in class. Our professors are developing their syllabi differently to account for this passion they have to not just study ethics but to do ethics along the way. These students actually are devoted to loving thy neighbor. And they won’t tolerate any more sitting in class taking notes on wonderful lectures about social responsibility and then folding up their laptops and just going home.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture Young Adults * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
What does directly touch church life are Pew’s numbers on generational change. Attachment to religion is declining across all age groups, but the rise of the nones is most pronounced among younger cohorts: the younger the age bracket, the less likely people are to belong to any Christian (or other religious) body. And of all Christian groups, mainline Protestants do the worst job at reaching and retaining younger generations.
One practical lesson of the Pew report, then, is on the crucial need for mainliners to focus on passing the faith on to the next generation. Mainliners may need to borrow some of the ethos of evangelical Protestants (who seem to do a better job at this) in equipping families to be primary incubators of faith and in forming identities that are distinct and (in some selective ways) more oppositional toward the culture than they have been.
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Exeter Cathedral is fighting for its future after it failed to secure multi-million pound funding to uncover the city’s Roman baths.
The £8.7m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid would have seen the first century bath house, buried under the Cathedral Green, excavated and opened to the public.
But the ambitious plans to create a worldwide tourist attraction were dealt a major blow when the funding body decided not to support the project.
Read it all from the Exeter Express and Echo.
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3. What are you most looking forward to?
It’s a while off yet, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the opportunities for preaching and evangelism. I’m looking forward to meeting the Cathedral church family, getting to know them, the challenges they face and the opportunities they have in living for Jesus. I’m looking forward to meeting those already engaged in gospel work in the city and seeing how we can support one another in advancing the interests of the Lord in ‘that great city’.
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The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Primate, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), on Wednesday called on Nigerians and the incoming administration led Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to focus on peace and the unity of the country. Okoh told newsmen in Abuja no development could be achieved in any society without peace and unity. He said the current problem of insurgency, regional and ethnic suspicion in the country was a threat to peace and unity. “Peace is a major capital needed to develop the country and there must be a deliberate policy by the incoming administration to reassure Nigerians of peace and unity....
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Last year, a death penalty sentence slapped on a Sudanese doctor for refusing to renounce her Christian faith stirred international outrage and heightened calls on the government to increase religious liberty.
Meriam Yahya Ibrahim was released a month later, but now two Christian pastors have been jailed and they also face a possible death sentence.
The Rev. Michael Yat and the Rev. Peter Yein Reith, both from the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church, have been charged with undermining the constitutional system and spying, offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment.
The clerics are charged with waging a war against the state and assault on religious belief.
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Two “priceless” medieval painted panels, the stone effigy of a knight in chainmail and a plaque marking the spot where a 12th-century Bishop of Hereford’s heart was buried are among dozens of historic artefacts recovered by police investigating thefts from isolated country churches.
The brightly painted 15th-century panels were hacked from a rood screen at Holy Trinity Church in Torbryan, Devon, in 2013. The paintings of St Victor of Marseilles and St Margaret are rare survivors of the puritanical zeal of the Reformation when many religious artifacts were destroyed.
The panels were recovered from a London collector who had bought them along with about 40 other objects stolen from country churches, which police are now trying to return to their rightful owners.
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The Bishop of London has launched the Diocese of London’s week of prayer, in the Chapel of St Michael and George, within St Paul’s Cathedral. The prayer room has been set up in association with 24-7 Prayer and will enable London churches to engage in a week of continual prayer.
The Chapel will have various prayer stations this year which reflect a theme of journeys. The first is a rolling visual presentation of the Lord’s Prayer, after which visitors will journey through a series of banners – allowing them to reflect on their faith and pray. As they leave the Chapel, people will be invited to add a small pebble to a jar as they thank God for those who inspired them in their life’s journey and also take a small jenga brick away with them to remind them to pray for those they meet in their daily journeys.
People will also be invited to join in the Diocese of London’s Pray for Seven initiative, which invites each person to pray for seven people and enables them to share the story of their faith.
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Congregations in Yorkshire and the Humber region have the most entertaining services, with 80 per cent able to recall laughing at a clerical quip – just ahead of London, where 77 per cent had heard a decent joke in church. London also has some of the fastest growing churches in Britain.
In the East of England barely half (53 per cent) could do so. The news will be a disappointment to one East Anglian cleric, the Bishop of Norwich, who said recently that the Church should provide an alternative voice to Russell Brand.
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....perhaps the day has arrived in the PCA when progressives need not worry about any negative connotations of the term "progressive." However, it might still be proper to ask, "Towards what are the progressives asking their church to progress? If we follow the path of progress or get swept along by its tide, what will be left behind and where will we end up?" (Or, for real traditionalists, "where up will we end?")
Dr. Chapell places the label "Traditionalists" on those who are "highly committed to Confessional fidelity and are often worried about perceived doctrinal drift." Is there a more pejorative term in America, where you buy your laundry detergent because it is "new and improved," than the term "traditional"? Not even conservatives want to be traditionalists unless they are appealing to "traditional values" (as in "family" or , peculiarly in Mississippi, "traditional Mississippi values" - wink, wink, hint, hint, get it?). Americans fought a great War for Independence so we wouldn't have to be traditional like those stuffy old British. The last thing a true American wants to be is a stick-in-the-mud old fuddy-duddy traditionalist.
In the churches it's the old and soon to pass from the scene folks who attend the "traditional" service, which may not be traditional at all but a service in which gospel hymns are sung with a song leader rather than praise and worship songs with a praise team. The cool kids flock to the contemporary service, where they will not be turned off by robes, minsters leading worship, and too much Scripture and prayer - until that comes to feel like it is traditional in which case they may join Rachel Held Evans who likes her doctrine and morals progressive but her liturgy sort of traditional in The Episcopal Church.
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The Church of England is launching a new national resource to help churches get people talking about death and dying.
GraveTalk, provides resources for a café space in which churches provide a relaxed environment for people to explore questions about death and dying, funerals and loss. It is being launched during Dying Awareness week (May 17-23), run by the Dying Matters coalition, and made up of more than 30,000 members including the Church of England.
GraveTalk, is being launched nationally at a giant café in Portsmouth Cathedral between 2pm and 9pm, tomorrow, May 19. The resources include a pack of 52 questions about life, death, society, funerals, and grief to help people start, and has been piloted in more than 100 parishes, is available at a dedicated website http://www.gravetalk.org
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The Church of England has achieved growth on its investments far above inflation, meaning it has enough funds to finance ambitious plans for expansion by paying for dozens and possibly hundreds more clergy across the nation.
The profits in 2014 mean that the Church Commissioners have more than made up the disastrous losses of the late 1980s and 1990s and that here is enough cash to pay for the growth vision of the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
The portfolio is now worth a record £6.7 billion, meaning plans approved by the General Synod to release an extra £100 million to pay for more clergy can be easily afforded.
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On those who say religion is unnecessary, given humanity's growing scientific knowledge.
I think science and religion are at some point both about big questions of origin and wonder. And I think, for me, I've always felt that it's important for religious people to have the same kind of philosophical stance they use in their religious life as they do in the rest of their life. And a lot of times I think religion — religions — ask people to sort of turn off the scientific part of their lives and just go and kind of think about God kind of pre-scientifically.
I don't think we can do that. We've got to have a faith that is, in some sense, consonant with the way we think about the world scientifically. And again, I think one of the things the Pew study suggests to us is that if the church can get over its anxiety about talking about God in a grown-up way, we would actually reach out to and speak to more people than we do right now.
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South of the border, the Church of England already allows clerics to form civil partnerships as long as they claim to be celibate. But the Church of Scotland’s approach does not require celibacy.
The Very Rev David Arnott, who coordinates the General Assembly’s business, said that although the Presbyterian structure of the Church of Scotland is different from that of Anglican churches, he hoped the plan could offer a “template” for the Church of England to consider.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme: “We are not going to change people’s minds, we have to come to a way of living together with our differences and living with our diversity and I hope that we’re able to do that.”
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Earlier last week, the outgoing moderator, the Right Reverend John Chalmers, issued an appeal for calm in the run-up to the debate and also called for a “year of grace”.
During the debate, the Rev Gordon Kennedy from Edin-burgh said: “This has been the greatest cause for the expression of disunity in our church for 170 years. The only fruit this will bear is disharmony and disunity,”
But the Rev Dr Ian Whyte strongly disagreed and said he had witnessed the suffering of gay ministers who felt they had to hide their sexuality.
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The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, bishop of Chile and presiding bishop of the Anglican Province of South America, will visit the Diocese of South Carolina on Wednesday for a 10 a.m. meeting at St. Matthias Church in Summerton and a 5:30 p.m. meeting at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston.
Zavala is the leader presiding over Anglican churches in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. He is the Diocese of South Carolina’s liaison to the Global South Primates Steering Committee. As one of 40 primates of the worldwide Anglican Communion, Zavala will be in South Carolina to support the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, clergy and lay people of the local diocese.
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This day in the church year—the Sunday in-between the Ascension and Pentecost—is given to us as a reminder of what it means to be a Spirit-filled disciple of Jesus: our life as Spirit-filled disciples is a life of (1) clinging to the Spirit’s testimony about what Christ has accomplished, (2) a life of suffering in the world, and (3) a life of doing good to our neighbors.
First, we cling to the Spirit’s testimony. Today’s prayer anticipates Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit: “Leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth.” The Holy Spirit’s consolation is precisely in testifying about Jesus.
What are the specifics of the Holy Spirit’s comfort (or, consolation)? The devil and your own conscience will frighten you because of your sins; the world will hate your confession of the faith, your morals and your piety. That you must expect. But the Holy Spirit comforts us by pointing us to Christ. He won’t make your wallet fat, but He will enable you to say, “When I have lost everything—spouse, children, house, car, possessions, reputation, even my own life—yes, when all that is gone, still Jesus Christ for my sake was made man, died and rose again, and ascended into heaven. He is coming at the last day for me. If God’s Son suffered for me, He will certainly not be my enemy. Since He loves me and has given me such great promises, then I have everything” [Adapted from Luther].
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Cathy Rion Starr and Heather Rion Starr, the ministers of the Unitarian Society of Hartford since last summer, were reminiscing recently about a conversation early in their friendship, before they had become either romantic partners or co-workers.
“We had some colleagues in common, who were a same-sex couple serving a congregation in California,” Heather Rion Starr said on Tuesday in the office they share at the church. “And I think I said something about, ‘So-and-so and so-and-so are starting a co-ministry — what do you think about that?’ And you said, ‘Oh I would never want to do that. I would never want to spend that much time with someone.’ ”
“And now here we are,” Cathy Rion Starr said of the church, which will hold the couple’s installation ceremony on Sunday.
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The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to allow congregations to ordain gay ministers who are in same sex civil partnerships.
Delegates voted 309 in favour and 183 against.
The vote followed a church-wide debate and consultations with all 45 presbyteries, which voted 31 to 14 in favour of change.
A further vote will be held this week on whether or not to extend ordination to ministers in same sex marriages.
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In an effort not just to “play” church, but to “be” church, we began Maundy Thursday by having dinner with the homeless on upper Meeting Street. That dinner made the whole night “real: and set the tone for worship...
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....Neuhaus had an extraordinary talent for bringing people together—to discuss, debate, and strategize. He regularly convened intellectually and theologically diverse groups to spend a couple of days discussing topics of interest. (In my own case the topics included, civil religion, multinational corporations, ecumenism, faith and politics, and “culture wars,” among others.)
But the most important of these projects was the 1990 founding of First Things. While Neuhaus had previously edited two similar journals, Worldview and This World, they had each been sponsored by larger foundations, the Carnegie and Rockford Institutes respectively. This time around the journal was Neuhaus’s own, to shape as he wished. And shaped it he did, with great talent and flair, bringing together like-minded writers representing Catholicism, evangelicalism, Orthodoxy and Lutheranism, along with fellow travelers from Judaism and Islam.
First Things was the flagship publication of Neuhaus’s Institute on Religion and Public Life, and the concept of “public life” was foundational to his efforts. Neuhaus always insisted that politics is only one aspect of a larger “public square”—one that makes room, as best it can, for a variety of religious, moral, and communal traditions. Boyagoda reminds us that Neuhaus and Berger actually coined the term “mediating structures,” now commonly used in social science, in their 1977 book To Empower People. That short book (just over 50 pages) showed how a wide range of smaller institutions—families, churches, professional associations, teams, guilds, neighborhood organizations, book clubs, schools—can offer a protective, nurturing space between individual and the power-hungry state.
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O God, steadfast in the midst of persecution, by whose providence the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church: As the martyrs of the Sudan refused to abandon Christ even in the face of torture and death, and so by their sacrifice brought forth a plenteous harvest, may we, too, be steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
At least eight people were killed in Tuesday’s Amtrak train derailment, and each victim has now been identified. The details of their remarkable lives revealed the depth of this catastrophe: a college dean who, after overcoming an impoverished childhood, was working toward his doctorate; a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy who aspired to become a Navy SEAL; a woman who, at just 39, had become the chief executive officer of an education tech firm in Philadelphia; an Associated Press software architect who was known for his composure, kindness and frequent hugs; a Wells Fargo executive who was an avid cyclist and a constant optimist; a technology company vice president who lived in Maryland and had a wry sense of humor.
The seventh and eighth victims were identified Thursday afternoon: Laura Finamore, 47, a New Yorker who worked in corporate real estate; and Giuseppe Piras, 41, an Italian who sold olive oil and wine and was in the United States on business.
Read all of their profiles....
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Let’s be honest, most sermons today are terrible. They are boring. They ramble. They sound like bad imitations of high school book reports. Listening to a sermon today is often like listening to the teacher from the old Charlie Brown cartoons. And I believe the reason why preaching has gotten so bad, particularly in liturgical churches, is rather obvious. We do not have good preachers because we do not understand what preaching is for.
Like being a great cello player or a great center fielder, a great preacher is born with a certain degree of raw talent that then must be honed and trained in order for the preacher to reach his or her full potential. But in liturgical churches in the contemporary West, we see preaching as less important than other aspects of ministry. We assume that anyone can be a great preacher and that the honing of preaching skills ought to be relatively low on the clergy’s priority list, something to tend to once all the other fires are put out. We reap what we sow. We treat preaching like it is nothing, and thus it becomes nothing.
What I offer here are a few maxims on what makes great preaching. They are culled from my own experience both as a preacher and as someone who listens to sermons. I am no expert, and this list is nowhere near exhaustive, but it is a start. I hope that others will build on this. “Faith comes through hearing,” Paul says (Romans 10:17). It is no secret that the Church in the West is in decline, and I see no scenario for its revival that does not include a renewal of great preaching.
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On 22 May 2015 Ireland will go to the polls to vote on a constitutional amendment put forward by the Fine Gael-Labour government that would mandate the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. The Roman Catholic Bishops of Ireland have urged the defeat of the bill, but two former Archbishops of Dublin and two current Church of Ireland bishops have said they will vote “yes”.
The Most Rev. John Neill, the archbishop of Dublin from 2002 to 2011, told The Irish Times “we now recognise that there are many different types of unions and I don’t see why they cannot have the protection and status of marriage”. "The understanding of marriage in the church has evolved, putting partnership first before procreation”, in which context “there is less of a problem about same-sex marriage”. The Most Rev. Walton Empey, archbishop from 1996 to 2002 said "I certainly have no hesitation in calling for a Yes vote."
The Bishop of Cork, the Rt. Rev. Paul Colton told the BBC last year he supported the introduction of gay marriage, while the Bishop of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory, the Rt. Rev. Michael Burrows last month told a conference at Trinity College, Dublin that gay rights was the “great justice issue of our time just as the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women were in the past.”
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The power that comes is to be given away not hung onto; Jesus was no Mugabe clinging to power. There would be no public glory or acclaim, merely hard work and sacrifice, like most of those who serve the church round the world today. I spoke to someone yesterday working for reconciliation in a civil war, whose name will never be known outside the circles of his own friends – yet he carries a cross of suffering for Christ.
Put like that it makes the worst of any recent party manifesto looks like words of gold, to which people would flock by contrast. Few would be elected on the manifesto of Jesus, surely?
Yet the church grew at such a rate, despite opposition and suffering, that 300 years later the Empire that had casually swiped away the life of Jesus with the sort of attention we might give to a mosquito, found itself honouring and converting to the faith. The same disciples who beforehand seem foolish and act only in their own interests, were willing to lay down their lives, confident in the promises of God, the Kingdom of God and the triumph of Christ.
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O Glorious Christ, who in thy ascension didst enter into thy kingdom: Remember, we pray thee, the countless millions who have not heard of the redemption which thou hast won for them. Grant that they may learn, through thy Church, of the new and living way which thou hast opened for them. Let them draw near in fullness of faith, to enter with thee into the holy place of the Father’s presence, and receive forgiveness and peace. So may they worship, with the innumerable company of angels and with the spirits of just men made perfect, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, blessed for evermore.
I am publishing this paper on the further research we plan to do around the Resourcing Ministerial Education (RME) workstream on the day it has been considered by the Ministry Council, which since the RME Task Group finished its work and disbanded just before the February Synod, now holds the responsibility for progressing the task. The paper was shared privately for consultation with a number of stakeholders, including TEI Principals. Somehow or other, a copy has found its way to the press. I guess this is part of the price of consulting .
The paper sets out a significant programme of research over a long period. It recognises that the issues raised by RME are profound and need long term and deep enquiry into the effect of ministerial education in terms of mission and ministry in practice. The Ministry Council has today expressed its commitment to this for a number of reasons.
The first is that, as the RME report acknowledged, the research done within the six or so months available to us in the first stage of the task is initial research and reveals a great deal of scope for further work.
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As a new and renewing church, The Episcopal Church celebrates the joys and challenges of a global community called to mission and filled with hope. Amid growing concern about the state of the Church in turbulent times, there are signs of
growing mission, transformation, resiliency, and the presence of the ever-creative and renewing work of the Spirit. Our Church is changing as we shift our gaze from an inward view on conflict resolution to an outward focus on mission. Hope, collaboration, and joy are the images that will describe the State of the Church as we move into a new triennium.
Over the past three years, a group from across the Church has been listening to stories, analyzing data, and developing a snapshot of our collective health and vitality. This information has been compiled into a State of the Church (SOTC) report,
which will be presented to the 2015 General Convention. This report not only provides a glimpse of the Church in action, as it is now, captured into freeze-frame stillness, but it also will be an important artifact, serving as a point on a historical timeline--something to observe and say wisely with the clarity of hindsight, yes, this is when THIS all began, or ended, or shifted.
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Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality – our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.
So if the world looks and feels like a world without God, the Christian doesn’t try to say, ‘It’s not as bad as all that’, or seek to point to clear signs of God’s presence that make everything all right. The Christian will acknowledge that the situation is harsh, even apparently unhopeful – but will dare to say that they are willing to bring hope by what they offer in terms of compassion and service. And their own willingness and capacity for this is nourished by the prayer that the Spirit of Jesus has made possible for them.
The friends of Jesus are called, in other words, to offer themselves as signs of God in the world – to live in such a way that the underlying all-pervading energy of God begins to come through them and make a difference.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Ascension Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Christology
Listen to it all (It begins with the reading of the gospel by the Rev. Fred Berkaw) [It is an MP3 file]. It occurred on the occasion of the Bishop's confirmation visit to Saint Paul's in Summerville, South Carolina in times past.
He speaks of a memory from 1960 and later there comes this quote to whet your appetite:
"What is astonishing to me I suppose is that we in the church make so little of the Ascension of our Lord."
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Ascension Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * South Carolina * Theology Christology
The leader of the Church of Ireland has said "we may as well close the doors now" if it cannot solve the problem of falling attendances.
Archbishop Richard Clarke made the comments after it was revealed in a survey that only 15% of Irish Anglicans attend services on Sundays.
This represents just 58,000 out of a total of 378,000 who claim affiliation to the church.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Ireland * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Helping people to get out of debt, and freeing them from the anxiety and exploitation that often goes with being in debt, is part of the Church's commitment to human flourishing.
“I welcome this new training resource to help local churches play a vital role in encouraging people to seek assistance earlier and to make use of the many free debt advice services that are available."
Read it all and take a look at the video.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance The Banking System/Sector * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Most of us were trained to minister to a culture that had a Christian baseline, but we weren’t trained how to reach people who don’t accept the Bible as true or know about Christ.
In other words, we were trained to focus on Nominals but now we increasingly need to reach Seculars.
There are resources to help with that.
I’m a big fan of Tim Keller’s book The Reason for God. Many use that curriculum for reaching secular people. I also recommend the work of George Hunter, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary. His book How to Reach Secular People is good, as is James Emery White’s book called The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated.
Do you deal more with Nominals or Seculars? Has your church made progress in reaching either group? What have you found that works in bringing these people to Christ?
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism * Theology Anthropology Soteriology
The international community stepped in, investigated, and found enough to warrant a further investigation by the International Criminal Court. In the meantime, the country tried to put things back together. By 2010, post-crisis reforms had come into being along with a new constitution that brought about a coalition government.
These were the first few steps toward reconciliation, but they were surface deep, nowhere near the restoration of the people. David Shibley with Global Advance says their organization was called in to help the church rebuild in 2010. God used them as a catalyst; sometimes it takes someone coming from the outside, speaking into a situation, to be the fresh eyes needed. “God graciously used our first Frontline Shepherds Conference there, five years ago, to bring healing and reconciliation. We saw a marvelous move of God’s Spirit as men who had not talked to each other suddenly were embracing each other, asking for forgiveness.”
Since that time, says Shibley, reconciliation efforts reawakened a sense of belonging to one nation. “The pastoral leaders of that area have been used of God to bring a real healing in that area, and now there is tremendous cooperation among most, if not all, of the evangelical churches of that area.”
Then came the al-Shabaab attack on the Nairobi University campus in Garissa in April. 147 Christian college students were killed. “Since that time, there has been a real galvanizing of the Church in Kenya: kind of a ‘snapping to attention’ that I saw,” explains Shibley.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Politics in General Terrorism * International News & Commentary Africa Kenya * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
While Ebola still haunts Guinea and Sierra Leone, where infections have dwindled but refuse to disappear, Liberia has passed a remarkable threshold: at least 42 days since its last Ebola victim was buried, or twice the maximum incubation period of the virus, according to the W.H.O.
Even before reaching that official marker, the nation was trying to stitch itself back together after more than 4,700 deaths from the disease, by far the most of any nation in the epidemic. Liberia has reopened markets, clinics and schools, eager to move past an outbreak so devastating that it “has changed our way of life,” as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf put it.
Similar efforts are taking place inside churches as well, bedrock institutions in West African society that were at once a place of succor and a source of contagion during the outbreak.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine History Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology
On May 1, 2015, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) honored the Rev. Dr. Dallas H. Wilson, Jr., a priest in the Diocese of South Carolina, and the Vicar of St. John’s Chapel, Charleston, for his work creating and implementing ministries and programs to prevent at-risk youths from engaging in violent activities, spiraling into crime, drug and alcohol use, and incarceration.
The Bureau has been presenting its Director’s Community Leadership Awards (DCLA) for more than two decades to ordinary citizens and organizations striving to build stronger, safer, and more cohesive communities
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Check it out for those interested.
When Melissa Mira suffered sudden heart failure at the end of her second pregnancy last year, she worried first about her health and her baby — then about the more than $200,000 in medical bills that began rolling in.
“Your world is just crashing down around you and you wonder: ‘How is this going to be covered?’ ” recalled Mira, 30, who spent more than a month away from her Tacoma home, hospitalized at the University of Washington Medical Center.
For Mira and her family, the answer came not through traditional health insurance, but through faith that fellow Christians would step forward to pay the bills.
The Miras — including daughter Jael, 4, and baby Sienna Rain, now a healthy 9-month-old — are among the growing numbers of people looking to “health care-sharing ministries” across the U.S.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Good morning from western Pennsylvania, where it appears the weather will be nice for the funeral of my Father-in-Law Edward James Deenihan. I am looking forward especially to the full military honors and the bagpipes later. Thanks for your prayers--KSH.
One derived an impression of his strength of nature from a certain reticence regarding his deepest feelings and experiences. That which he thought and felt was kept under the lock and key of a masterful will, repressing any full expression of much that was characteristic within. In intercourse with him one felt the quiet power of self-control. A man of rare personal dignity, he manifested the gravity of a noble seriousness in tone of conversation and in outward bearing. It was evident that his mind was resolutely set to meditate upon great and worthy things.
Dr. Harwood was a typical scholar. Graduated from the University with high honors, he gave his best energies in loyal devotion to the Queen of Sciences, Theology. He had read widely, studied diligently, and thought profoundly. Especially was he a student of sacred Scripture. From 1854 to 1859 he was Professor of the Literature and Interpretation of the Scriptures in the Berkeley Divinity School. Thence he brought to this parish the treasures of his scholarship. I well remember, as a boy, sitting in this Church, being impressed by his reading of the Scriptures. That office he performed with a reverence and dignity and an accurate touch of emphasis which brought out the meaning of every word of that Holy Writ he knew so thoroughly.
He was a man of vast reading in theology. That which especially characterized him as a theologian, I should say, was, first, his love of truth, and, secondly, his courageous faith in truth. Devotion to truth was with him a passion. His reverence for the authority of truth made him fearless, that is to say, he was not afraid of the truth and he was not afraid for the truth. Nor did he ever fear to speak out what he believed to be the truth. In theological controversy he was truly "a man of war," a foeman of undaunted prowess. As an example of his virile doggedness and fearlessness, let me quote these characteristic words from a pamphlet of his regarding a controversial topic: "We have heard lately that this is a closed topic! Pray, will any one I tell me what is closed? How was it closed? When was it closed? Who closed it? It is not a closed, but a very open I topic." The words sound like him, one who has drunk delight of battle with his peers, "a mighty valiant man."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Filed under: * By Kendall Harmon Family * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Children Education Marriage & Family Young Adults * Theology
There is no how-to list for praying for someone with an incurable disease. But here are some suggestions:
Listen. Ask. Listen carefully to the concerns of the ones you are praying for. If possible, ask them how they would like you to pray for them. They may not have an answer. Or the answer may surprise you. But starting by listening and asking is a way to honor and support those in need.
Pray with the Psalms. Whether in the hospital bed or at a prayer service, the most powerful and comforting prayers offered to me were from the Psalms. They don't cover up the loss—they bring anger and grief before God. "My heart is stricken and withered like grass; I am too wasted to eat my bread." And yet they bring all of this in petition before the faithful God of the covenant. "Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you. Do not hide your face from me on the day of my distress" (Ps. 102:4, 1-2).
Present your petitions in light of the Lord's Prayer and Gethsemane. We are to bring our requests before God, in light of Jesus' command and promise to answer our prayers...
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True confession... this elf hasn't had time yet to listen to the full audio posted below. But Trevin Wax is usually very worth reading or listening to. The questions he raises in his blog post are excellent. With Kendall needing to cut back on blogging, it seemed this might be a good resource to post, and might stimulate a good discussion.
What disciplines will help us as Christians identify our cultural "blinders" and diligently assess and engage Biblically with our culture, and be faithful disciples in our times?
Please share any books or resources you've found helpful in "knowing and responding to the times."
We live in a society that has been formed, in some measure, by Christian ethics. Here, it’s easy for Christians to assent to Christian teaching and embrace certain practices common to Christianity, and yet still make decisions from a framework that is more influenced by a rival conception of time, because it remains hidden from view.
“Bible Believers” Living Out of Other Stories:
This is a source of continual frustration among pastors.
- We get discouraged when many of the people in our congregations, people who are faithful in attending church and who claim to have personal times of Bible reading, seem to be okay with the fact that their kids aren’t as religiously oriented as they are, as if it’s expected for kids to drop out of church for awhile and hopefully come back (but at least they made a decision for Christ at camp one summer!).
- We get discouraged when we see people put Bible verses on their Facebook page right next to a post about a television show they’re watching, a show drenched in the ethos of the Sexual Revolution and all the lies that come with it.
- We mourn the loss of people who are as kind as can be to us while they’re walking out the door to visit another church that has better services and programs for their kids. We thought they were committed to our church, but they were really just committed to their preferences.
A Question for Our Generation
As cultural currents move faster and we see rapids and waterfalls ahead and wonder what the future holds, one of the questions we must ask is this:
What kind of discipleship is necessary to fortify the faith of believers so that we understand what time it is, we rightly interpret our cultural moment, and see through the false and damaging views of history and the future that are in our world?
That is the question I posed in my workshop at TGC this year: Discipleship in the Age of Richard Dawkins, Lady Gaga, and Amazon.com: Grounding Believers in the Scriptural Storyline that Counters Rival Eschatologies. The audio from the talk is now available here.
What are the disciplines we need as we read our times? Oliver O’Donovan again:
To see the marks of our time as the products of our past; to notice the danger civilisation poses to itself, not only the danger of barbarian reaction; to attend especially not to those features which strike our contemporaries as controversial, but to those which would have astonished an onlooker from the past but which seem to us too obvious to question. There is another reason, strictly theological. To be alert to the signs of the times is a Gospel requirement, laid upon us as upon Jesus’ first hearers.
Read the blog entry here. You can listen to the audio here..
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education * Culture-Watch * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Resources & Links Resources: Audio-Visual * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
St. Bartholomew’s of Hartsville welcomed the Rev. William “Bill” Oldland as its 14th rector April 21 during a Celebration of New Ministry service.
The Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, which includes 53 churches in the eastern part of the state, officiated at the service. The Rev. John Foster III, a deacon at St. Bartholomew’s, who is also an associate professor of English at Coker College, assisted. A number of clergy from across the diocese participated in the service.
“It was a beautiful service,” Oldland said. “The choir had worked on a song, ‘In This Very Room,’ which had been performed at both my ordination to the diaconate and my ordination to the priesthood. It was very special. And Marcus Kaiser did a beautiful job with the sermon.”
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Malaysian Anglicans have rallied to the support of a Pentecostal church in Petaling Jaya after a Muslim mob disrupted worship services...[recently] and forced the congregation to take down a cross mounted on the church’s facade.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary Asia Malaysia * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Pentecostal Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations
Edward James Deenihan, Sr., Age 96, passed away on Friday, May 1, 2015. He was the husband of the late Irene (Shaffer) Deenihan; son of the late John and Rose Corey Deenihan; father of John of Chatsworth of California, Edward J. (Kathleen) of Pleasanton, CA, Patrick (Janice) of Reno, NV, Rosemary (Orval) Choate of Nevada City, CA, Elizabeth (Kendall) Harmon of Summerville, SC, Margaret (Mark) Caruso of Sun City West, AZ, and Timothy (Jennifer Paige) of Bridgeport, CT; brother of Margaret Morrison of Ellenton, FL; also 14 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Long ago, while playing a game with friends, Ed Deenihan was asked what should be the title of his biography. Affecting the Irish brogue he knew from his parents, he replied, "He Do And He Don't." When asked what the title meant, he simply grinned and said, "You'll have to read the book!" Family was Ed's first priority, though his history of service to his community and nation speaks of his commitment to serve one and all. Always quick with a story, he used humor to diffuse the pain of struggles and to celebrate life and its riches. Born February 11, 1919, the first son of Irish immigrants John and Rose (Corey) Deenihan, he grew up through the Great Depression, but when asked about that time would happily explain the concept of dance cards at club socials and tell how a family struggling through a hard time would often wake to find a basket on their stoop with bread or milk or some other necessary staples. He was drafted to the Army during the Second World War. During the time of his service, he was initially attached to a unit charged with breaking an internal black market smuggling ring. After his cover was blown, and he "got the stuffing beat out of me" in the hangar of a Calcutta air base, he was reassigned to the First Air Commando Group in the Chin Hills of what was then known as Burma. Again, his stories remembered the camaraderie and laughter of 'showering' in the water runoff under the fuselage of a bomber during the monsoons, or of beating the problem of oppressive heat and tightly rationed refrigeration by securing a few crates of beer in the bomb bay of a B-17 and flying it to a frigid altitude before diving back down to the runway and a base full of thirsty servicemen. Following the war, he returned to Wilmerding and was invited on a blind date where he met Irene Elizabeth Shaffer of Mount Lebanon, PA. They were married July 17, 1948, and were together 63 years until her passing in 2011. In that time, he went to work as a salesman for Goodyear Tire & Rubber and the couple raised seven children on his commission-based salary, even as there were at one point two children in college, two in Catholic high school, two in Catholic grade school, and a newborn. "We ate a lot ground meat and potatoes," he would remember simply, with a grin. For Ed, hardship was never something worth complaining about, but simply a challenge to be dealt with. He was devout in his Catholic faith, and lived its principles of service to the community. He was an active member of his Catholic parish, involved in the practicalities of worship as well as assisting in the upkeep of the parish. He spent many years volunteering with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, even within months of his death, ministering to individuals and families who had found themselves in hard times. He helped serve the Disabled American Veterans and was a Lifetime Member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). In 2004 he was named Irishman of the Year by its Pittsburgh Chapter. He was twice elected as a Wilmerding councilman. Edward was visiting his son in Pleasanton, California, where he died peacefully this past Friday morning due to complications surrounding pulmonary fibrosis. His life was one of quiet leadership by example, and his passing will be deeply felt by all who knew him. Friends received at JAMES F. FILIA FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, 354 Marguerite Ave., Wilmerding on Mon. 6-8 p.m. and Tues. from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial at St. Jude the Apostle Church on Wed. at 10 a.m.
This may be found there.
One of Morley’s most distinguished churches is set to close forever next month after serving the community for more than a century.
All Saints Parish Church in Churwell will celebrate its final service on May 10, bringing to an end 114 years worth of history.
The church is one of many being shut down by the Church of England across the country, as it grapples with the challenges of dwindling attendances to traditional Sunday services.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
She wrote more than 60 novels in a career spanning 50 years, her best-known creation being Inspector Wexford, which was turned into a highly successful TV series.
Rendell, one of Britain's best-selling contemporary authors, also wrote under the pen-name Barbara Vine.
Born in Essex, she is credited with bringing a social and psychological dimension to crime fiction.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Books Women * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology
The Dioceses Commission has given its approval to revive the See* of Islington paving the way for a new bishop to lead on church planting within the Diocese of London.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written to the Commission expressing his strong support for the new See. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, formally submitted a proposal to the Commission laying out the support of both the Diocesan Synod and the Bishop's Council.
Most bishops exercise their ministry within a defined geographical area. The proposal to revive the See of Islington is innovative as the bishop would hold a particular brief for church-planting initiatives primarily in the Diocese of London but to provide advice for other dioceses across England as invited to do so by the local bishop.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Arguments over same-sex marriage played out in the U.S. Supreme Courton Tuesday, but many religious groups opposed to gay marriage aren’t waiting for a ruling.
A court ruling expected two months from now could sanction same-sex marriage nationwide. In anticipation, some congregations and religious advocacy groups are re-emphasizing their teachings on marriage, fine-tuning their approach to gays and lesbians and bracing for legal battles and public criticism.
“The outcome of this decision will shape the landscape of the church’s ministry in the U.S. for generations to come,” wrote Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. In an interview, he added, “If we have a redefinition of marriage across the board by judicial decree then the church will have a responsibility more than ever to articulate what marriage is in the first place.”
The Southern Baptist Convention, the U.S.’s largest Protestant denomination, is preparing a video series and booklets on marriage and how to address homosexuality, Mr. Moore said. The church is hosting symposiums for pastors on “teaching the biblical witness to marriage” while also “equipping them to minister to gay and lesbian people who don’t agree with us,” he said.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Watch it all--so encouraging.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Blogging & the Internet * General Interest Animals Photos/Photography
Judge Fabricius, quoted in local media, said the ruling applied only to Mr Stransham-Ford and that future cases would be debated on their merits.
"It is not correct to say from now on it will be a free-for-all," he is quoted as saying.
The justice and health ministers, as well as the Health Professions Council of South Africa, have opposed the legal case.
Dignity SA said it would welcome an appeal as a chance to test the right to die against the constitution, the Associated Press news agency reports.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics * Economics, Politics Politics in General
In an unremarkable corner of Westminster Abbey is a wooden door marked "Private". Behind it are 78 wooden steps spiralling upwards in a narrow staircase. And at the top of those is one of the Abbey's hidden treasures: what John Betjeman once called "the greatest view in Europe".
More than 20 metres above the floor of the Abbey, and largely invisible to the tourists taking pictures below, is a vaulted gallery that runs the entire length of the building. This is the Abbey's eastern triforium, a centuries-old secret expanse that is to be opened to visitors for the first time as part of a gallery and exhibition space.
The Dean, Dr John Hall, invited us, a group of reporters, to join him in a final tour around the triforium before building work begins in earnest to transform the dusty space into the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries
Read it all and make sure not to miss the slideshow.
It's been revealed hundreds of Christians died or were injured as the Nepal earthquake hit their churches, including an Anglican minister and 17 of his parishioners.
In Nepal, Sunday is a work day so Christians normally attend church on their day off, which is Saturday. So many were in church when the quake hit on 25th of April.
Rev Lewis Lew, the Dean of Nepal which is under the oversight of the Diocese of Singapore, has issued a confirmation of a tragic scene in the village of Choke.
The village was recently visited by a mission team from Singapore.
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Edward James Deenihan RIP. pic.twitter.com/03QdJGWmGa— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) May 1, 2015
My father-in-law died last night, he was 96. When I think of him I think of someone who is the kind of person who held this country together: loyal husband, father, grandfather, Goodyear industrial tire employee, Hibernian society member, and mostly importantly member of his local Roman Catholic Church. He not only attended Bible study and worship regularly, he even (still) participated in spiritual retreats in recent years.
It’s already happened. In late June in Kingsburg, Calif., all 371 members of Kingsburg United Methodist Church transferred their membership to the Kingsburg Community Church they had just founded. These brave Pacific pioneers, guided by a brighter light than the shine of silver or gold, were forced to leave the building they constructed and remodeled and other assets in the Conference’s hands.
Methodism is dying for renewal, and the light needed to fan the flame in its logo and its life must begin as tiny candles in the hearts and lives of individual members, in particular their prayer lives.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist * Theology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Soteriology
At first glance, a Cadillac dealer’s showroom may not seem like a “mission outpost” of Christianity, but that’s exactly how Holy Cross Anglican Church was described by a visiting bishop when he blessed the congregation last Sunday evening.
Holy Cross Anglican worships at the Gerry Lane Cadillac dealership, in a spacious showroom where SAAB cars were once sold until the Swedish company liquidated three years ago.
Shepherded by the Rev. Ernie Saik, the 70-member congregation began worshipping there in September, but he didn’t want to make it public until the group could be blessed by the Rev. Clark W.P. Lowenfield, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast of the Anglican Church in North America.
“On this third Sunday of Easter we celebrate 1,982 years ago, when 11 apprentices of Jesus stepped off a mountain after being told to go and make more apprentices … and they changed the world,” Lowenfield preached as the sun streamed through the large showroom windows. “They started mission outposts all over the world. Mark went to Constantinople and Thomas went to India … and they began to establish exactly what you have established here — a mission outpost of the kingdom of God.”
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Today, April 29, 2015, the Federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond denied our motion for a rehearing of their decision to return to the District court the case of vonRosenberg vs. Lawrence, which asserted that this was a case of Federal trademark violations. The case will now go back to the Charleston court for further action. Several things remain true about this action. While the Fourth Circuit said that Judge Houck used the incorrect procedural standard to grant our Motion for Dismissal, it expressed no opinion on the merits of Bishop vonRosenberg’s claims. It was certainly not a ruling in their favor on the merits. It simply means that the court believes the standard used to make his decision to dismiss was the wrong one and should be reconsidered using the appropriate standard. The question is one of procedure and not the merit of the complaint itself. The judge could in fact reach the same conclusion, using the new standard. To that point, the standard called for by the court, exceptional circumstances, is arguably well met by the facts that we now have both a strong trial court ruling in our favor, as well as a date certain for the case to be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court. All the issues at stake in the Federal complaint will be essentially resolved by that decision.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * South Carolina * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr John Inge said: "We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has taken this view of the matter. There has been considerable consultation with the clergy on this issue as well as discussions at General Synod, and clergy have consistently said that they don't wish to change their status as office holders. To become employees, clergy would lose the freedoms which are at the heart of the Church's ministry and this is not something that they want to give up.
It is regrettable that UNITE fails to understand the context in which parish clergy exercise their ministry whilst the Church seeks to uphold the freedoms enjoyed by its clergy."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * International News & Commentary England / UK
As the debate around the sale of the St. Matthias Anglican church heats up, the future of another Anglican place of worship in the Royal City is left uncertain.
The Anglican Diocese of Niagara says the congregation at St. David and St. Patrick, at 520 Speedvale Ave. E., will move to worship at St. Paul's Lutheran Church this June.
Reverend Bill Mous, director of justice, community and global ministries at the diocese, wrote in an email to the Mercury the Anglican parish has entered into a two-year "partnership agreement" with the nearby Lutheran church.
That leaves the future of the Anglican church building unclear.
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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
Almost everyday, it seems, there’s a new story about how “Millennials are leaving the church.” But there’s a problem with these trend pieces: They aren’t true. American Christianity still has plenty of Millennials — they’re just not necessarily in white churches.
Instead, they’re found in places like Iglesia de Dios, a 3,000-member Hispanic megachurch in Nashville. The church was started in the mid-1990s by the Rev. Jose Rodriguez, a native of Venezuala who moved to Nashville in order to get better medical care for one of his children.
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The management board of the debt-ridden Anglican Diocese of Bathurst in western New South Wales has admitted huge loans weren't properly examined before being approved.
The Commonwealth Bank is suing the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst for outstanding debts of $40 million dating back to 2007.
The diocese is being sued in the Supreme Court in Sydney and is responsible for roughly a third of all Anglican parishes across the state ranging from Bathurst to Bourke.
The actions of three governing groups within the diocese are being examined about their roles in the massive debt.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * Economics, Politics Economy The Banking System/Sector * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
James Essex’s work is noted in Jonathan Foyle’s admirable new illustrated book, Lincoln Cathedral: The Biography of a Great Building. It really is a biography. In narrating the life of the cathedral since its Norman birth, the author also provides a coherent sense of the building’s anatomy. He’s good on explaining when sculpture and structure are more modern work than their setting suggests.
When he shows the wonders of the 13th-century Angel Quire, which certainly lives up to Ruskin’s praise, he brings the reader in, not through the cathedral’s “front door” at the west end, but through the Judgment portal. This is right at the other end, beyond the high altar, on the south side. It struck me that an imaginary pilgrim entering by this door must have felt like one entering the cathedral at Santiago by way of the Puerta de la Gloria, sculpted in the previous century. (There’s a plaster cast of it in the V&A in London.)
Above the doorway, Christ sits in judgment. As Dr Foyle remarks (with a glance at a painting by Hans Memling), the exuberant Gothic doorway resembles medieval artists’ idea of the gate of Heaven itself. Once inside, the pilgrim finds angels carved all about, many playing musical instruments.
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“Our former life is now in our rearview mirror,” Sandy Phillips wrote on Facebook as she and her husband, Lonnie, locked the door of their San Antonio home and steered their new camper north, toward Colorado and the trial of the man who killed their daughter, Jessica Ghawi, and 11 other people inside an Aurora movie theater.
In the years since that July 2012 mass shooting, as the criminal case has inched forward, the Phillipses have traveled the country, arguing for gun control and background checks, unsuccessfully trying to sue ammunition manufacturers, and telling stories about Ms. Ghawi, a 24-year-old budding sports reporter.
Now, the trial of the gunman, James E. Holmes, is scheduled to start on Monday after multiple delays. The loose-knit community of hundreds of survivors, witnesses and relatives of the 12 people killed and 70 wounded were steeling themselves for what is expected to be one of the longest and most emotionally wrenching criminal trials in a state touched by mass shootings.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
An anonymous donor is paying off the $360,000 mortgage for a man who lost his wife and house in a deadly mudslide.
Homeowner Tim Ward received the unexpected news last week.
"There are still good Samaritans out there," Ward told NBC News. "This is life-changing."
The massive mudslide destroyed Ward's farmhouse near Oso, Washington, where he and his wife, Brandy, raised turkeys and chickens. They were both home on March 22, 2014, when the wall of earth and debris came cascading down the hill.
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Many church leaders are recognizing a heartbreaking reality. We have received the good news of the Gospel but we’re not actually communicating that good news. Paul writes to the church in Corinth that we are compelled by love in particular because we know if Jesus died for all, then those who live should no longer live for themselves but for the One who died for them and was raised.
Research shows that Protestant churchgoers in the United States and Canada as a whole are not telling this good news message. According to Paul, part of our new life is that we have been commissioned by God to reconcile the world to Himself through Christ. So we’ve been reconciled to become agents of reconciliation. Unfortunately, most Christians have become cul-de-sacs on the Great Commission highway.
In the Transformational Discipleship study, we asked 3,000 protestant churchgoers how many times they had personally shared with another person how to become a Christian. Sixty-one percent said that they had never shared their faith. Zero times. Forty-eight percent said they hadn’t invited anyone to church during that period of time.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Christology Soteriology
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Media * South Carolina * Theology
If you’re like me, you know that being at the intersection of historical and modern music can stir strong emotions (and for good reason). Many young and creative church members are eager to bring new musical style into worship. Likewise, many church leaders and elders were raised on traditional hymns, some that their parents and grandparents sang in church.
When these worlds collide, a tension — not a problem — can emerge within the church, and there are ways that we can both honor church history and foster creativity. It is possible to exist together: without angst and with a spirit of unity in mind.
Let’s at least try by starting with an overarching truth: you are not saved by the style of worship music you enjoy or participate in. You are saved by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Period.
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