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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 Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina; The Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, a South Carolina Corporate Body; All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church, Inc.; Christ St. Paul's Episcopal Church; Christ the King, Waccamaw; Church of The Cross, Inc. And Church of the Cross Declaration of Trust; Church of The Holy Comforter; Church of the Redeemer; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Saint Luke's Church, Hilton Head; St. Matthews Church; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Bartholomews Episcopal Church; St. David's Church; St. James' Church, James Island, S.C.; St. John's Episcopal Church of Florence, S.C.; St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Inc.; St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Bennettsville, Inc.;
St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Conway; The Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Radcliffeboro; The Church of Our Saviour of the Diocese of South Carolina; The Church of the Epiphany (Episcopal); The Church of the Good Shepherd, Charleston, SC; The Church of The Holy Cross; The Church of The Resurrection, Surfside; The Protestant Episcopal Church of The Parish of Saint Philip, in Charleston, in the State of South Carolina; The Protestant Episcopal Church, The Parish of Saint Michael, in Charleston, in the State of South Carolina and St. Michael's Church Declaration of Trust; The Vestry and Church Wardens of St. Jude's Church of Walterboro; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Episcopal Church of The Parish of Prince George Winyah; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Church of The Parish of St. Helena and The Parish Church of St. Helena Trust; The Vestry and Church Wardens of The Parish of St. Matthew; The Vestry and Wardens of St. Paul's Church, Summerville; Trinity Church of Myrtle Beach; Trinity Episcopal Church; Trinity Episcopal Church, Pinopolis; Vestry and Church Wardens of the Episcopal Church of The Parish of Christ Church; Vestry and Church Wardens of The Episcopal Church of the Parish of St. John's, Charleston County, The Vestries and Churchwardens of The Parish of St. Andrews, Respondents. v. The Episcopal Church (a/k/a The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America) and The Episcopal Church in South Carolina, Appellants.
Attorneys: Allan R. Holmes, Sr. and Timothy O. Lewis, both of Gibbs & Holmes, of Charleston, David Booth Beers and Mary E. Kostel, both of Goodwin Procter, LLP, of Washington, DC, Blake A. Hewitt and John S. Nichols, both of Bluestein Nichols Thompson & Delgado, of Columbia, Thomas S. Tisdale and Jason S. Smith, both of Hellman Yates & Tisdale, of Charleston and R. Walker Humphrey, II, of Waters & Kraus, of Dallas, Texas, for Appellants. C. Alan Runyan and Andrew S. Platte, both of Speights & Runyan, of Beaufort, Henrietta U. Golding and Amanda Bailey, both of McNair Law Firm, of Myrtle Beach, C. Mitchell Brown, of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Columbia, Charles H. Williams, of Williams & Williams, of Orangeburg, David Cox, of Barnwell Whaley Patterson & Helms, of Charleston, Thomas C. Davis, of Harvey & Battey, of Beaufort, Harry Easterling, Jr., of Bennettsville, G. Mark Phillips, of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Charleston, W. Foster Gaillard and Henry Grimball, both of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, of Charleston, Keith McCarty, of McCarty Law Firm, of Charleston, William A. Scott, of Pedersen & Scott, of Charleston, Mark Evans, of Charleston, David B. Marvel and David L. DeVane, both of Prenner Marvel, of Charleston, John Furman Wall, III, of Mt. Pleasant, Allan P. Sloan, III and Joseph C. Wilson, IV, both of Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson, of Charleston, Edward P. Guerard, Jr., of Mt. Pleasant, C. Pierce Campbell, of Turner, Padget, Graham & Laney, of Florence, Robert R. Horger, of Horger, Barnwell & Reid, of Orangeburg, Saunders M. Bridges, of Aiken Bridges Elliott Tyler & Saleeby, of Florence, Lawrence B. Orr, of Orr Elmore & Ervin, of Florence, Francis M. Mack, of St. Matthews, Robert S. Shelton, of The Bellamy Law Firm, of Myrtle Beach, William A. Bryan, of Bryan & Haar, of Surfside Beach, Harry Oxner, of Oxner & Stacy, of Georgetown, Susan MacDonald and Jim Lehman, both of Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, of Myrtle Beach, Brandt Shelbourne, of Shelbourne Law Firm, of Summerville, Stephen S. McKenzie, of Coffey, Chandler & Kent, of Manning, John B. Williams, of Williams & Hulst, of Moncks Corner, George J. Kefalos and Oana D. Johnson, both of George J. Kefalos, P.A., of Charleston, Stephen Spitz, of Charleston and Thornwell F. Sowell, III and Bess J. Durant, both of Sowell Gray Stepp & Lafitte, LLC, of Columbia, for Respondents.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: South Carolina TEC Parishes TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * South Carolina * Theology
The new rector looks forward to helping St. Paul’s, Summerville, press on toward a future that is “biblically-centered, Christ-centered and Holy Spirit driven.”
[Tripp] Jeffords has a passion for biblical discipleship.
“I want everything we do to be according to the Holy Scriptures and what they teach,” he said. “Scripture should be our guidebook for life; instruct the church and direct the faithful on how to live. I believe a lot of the troubles in the church have been because we haven’t been disciples of the scriptures and haven’t allowed them to direct our hearts and lives. When we do that, and listen to Jesus through the scriptures and through our prayer lives, everybody is blessed.”
Jeffords will be formally welcomed as rector during a Sept. 24 service of institution, officiated by the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, the 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * South Carolina * Theology Christology Soteriology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) Theology: Salvation (Soteriology)
Listen to it all (and please note there is a download option).
Watch it all--wonderful stuff.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources * General Interest Photos/Photography
Every congregation is a congregation of sinners. As if that weren’t bad enough, they all have sinners for pastors.— Eugene Peterson (@PetersonDaily) August 19, 2015
I recall a conversation some years ago with Donald Coggan, formerly archbishop of Canterbury. We were discussing some of the challenges to theological education, and had ended by sharing our concerns over folk who left theological education knowing more about God, but seemingly caring less for God. Coggan turned to me, sadly, and remarked: ‘The journey from head to heart is one of the longest and most difficult that we know.’ I have often reﬂected on that comment, which I suspect reﬂects his lifelong interest in theological education and the considerable frustrations it generated—not to mention his experiences of burnt-out clergy, who seemed to have exhausted their often slender resources of spiritual energy, and ended up becoming a burden instead of a gift to the people of God.
I have no hesitation in affirming that theology is of central importance to Christian life and thought. I have little time for the various efforts to dumb down the preaching and teaching of our churches, or simply to focus on the development of new and better techniques for the care of souls and the growth of the churches. But I am an honest person, and I want to admit from the outset that focusing simply on doctrinal affirmations is seriously deﬁcient. Theological correctness alone is no balm for the wounds of our frail and sinful humanity. We cannot nourish the mind while neglecting the heart. Like its political counterpart, an obsession with theological correctness can simply engender the kind of harsh judgmental personality which is eager to seek out and expose alleged doctrinal errors, and cares little for the fostering of Christ-imaging relationships.
Read it all.
There are numerous reasons why some black churches retain their members, but, most prominently, the church has played a historic role in black life that has fostered a continuing strong black Protestant identity. Members and visitors at Alfred Street say the church’s holistic ministry — the preaching, the singing and the community outreach — are what draw them in and keep them there.
“I think black churches have always been very pivotal in social movements and outreach,” said Kelli Slater, 20, a Howard University student from Mississippi who was visiting Alfred Street at the invitation of her older sister. “I think black churches do a whole lot more than religion.”
Read it all.
A Pennsylvania pastor who’s the key suspect in a global insider-trading scheme must remain in custody while being sent to New York for a bail hearing.
A judge in Philadelphia, whose decision on Tuesday to free Vitaly Korchevsky on $100,000 bail was blocked by a judge in Brooklyn, ordered the pastor temporarily detained while he’s transported by U.S. Marshals to the New York borough for the hearing.
Korchevsky made no comments Friday in court in Philadelphia. He whispered to his wife and brother-in-law across the courtroom. Bob Levant, one of his attorneys, said the father of two is the “centerpiece” of a close-knit Ukrainian community in the Glen Mills area.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet Law & Legal Issues Media Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Stock Market * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
For her choice of hymns to play on an old pipe organ in a church built in 1790, Johanna Goldenberg doesn't dust off a tune written years ago by some English vicar in a country parish.
Instead, she chooses a contemporary piece. A reflection, she says, that there's still plenty of history to be made at St. Mary's Anglican Church in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley.
"This is not a museum," she says. "This is a vibrant, thriving church. It's a wonderful little church, I love it."
This weekend, St. Mary's is celebrating its 225th anniversary and on Sunday a special service is being held that Archbishop Fred Hiltz, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will attend.
Read it all.
Those of us in the mainline traditions don’t really know what to make of revivalism. Not many of us walk down the aisle to confess and surrender our sins to God. We don’t think that we receive the grace of God because we have found faith; we believe faith is a response to the prevenient grace of God. I get that too.
What I do not get is why the more theologically sophisticated a person becomes, the less likely she or he is to have any interest in inviting people to experience conversion. The apostle Paul knew a lot more theology than most of us before he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. So he was wrong. This is what we are not so good at confessing—that there is more to Jesus than we know.
We in the liturgically devoted Christian traditions are as in need of repentance and surrender as those who shuffled into my father’s revival tent. We gave up the revival tents, thankfully, but for some reason we also gave up the invitation to surrender all to Jesus.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Jeremy Timm, a Reader, has described the “tears and soul-searching” that he endured before deciding to convert his civil partnership to marriage, knowing that this would result in the loss of his permission to officiate (PTO).
Mr Timm, a Reader in the Howden Team Ministry in Hull, was told by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, last month, that his PTO would be revoked if he pursued his intention to convert his partnership with Mike Brown.
Writing on the website of Changing Attitude, Mr Timm described being “placed in an impossible situation by the Church of England . . . faced with choosing between marriage or ministry”.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
[Recently]..there have been two poignant reminders of the prevalence of that attitude, where the advancing years are regarded as a cause for apprehension and fear.
The first was the death of Cilla Black at the comparatively young age of 72.
Although she had problems with her hearing and suffered from arthritis, she was — so far as we know — in reasonable health. But psychologically, she appeared to have been preparing for the end, explaining in interviews last year that she ‘did not want to live longer than 75’.
In this rather bleak outlook, she seems to have been heavily influenced by the experience of her mother, who lived until she was 84 but suffered a good deal in her final years.
The second episode to highlight this fear of old age was the sad case of retired nurse Gill Pharaoh, who recently took her own life at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic, despite the fact she was only 75 and had no serious health issues.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The demolition of St. Martin’s Anglican Church is now a done deal as the North Peace Savings and Credit Union moves forward with plans for of a new three story administrative centre at the location.
Negotiations for purchase of a portion of the site, adjacent to the existing credit union building on 100th Street, began back in 2013 and the demolition followed the removal of hazardous materials.
Read it all. You can read about the final worship service there and you can find the location here.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Housing/Real Estate Market * International News & Commentary Canada
It was a formal church setting with nine area Christian leaders present, but no formal sermons were given or messages with the Bible cracked open to a particular passage.
Instead, the clergy spoke off the cuff in a Christian “conversation” Wednesday night on issues of faith and belief.
And that led them into some areas of modern-day debate and concern, such as marriage equality, race and the church’s relevance in a digital age.
“We’ll be having a great debate next April about same-sex marriage and transgender (issues),” said the Rev. Terry Walton, senior pastor at Gainesville First United Methodist Church, at “Christianity Beyond the Catchphrases,” held at Grace Episcopal Church in Gainesville.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology Sexuality * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Baptists Lutheran Methodist Presbyterian * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
The Daily Express and the Sun both carried critical front pages of the BBC programme’s decision to film in the church, which they claimed was a waste of licence fee money and a highly politicised gesture.
Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, made it clear in a tweet that he fully supported the programme, as well as retweeting a positive piece from the influential Anglican blog, Archbishop Cranmer.
“What do they think the church is for? It is for the poor and the vulnerable, it is to voice things that others cannot voice,” [Bishop] Baines told the Guardian. “Everyone else seems to be allowed to be political apart from the church.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Immigration Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Signage on the former St. Matthias Anglican Church building will be removed to help clear up confusion over where the congregation meets.
The St. Matthias community currently gathers for worship at Hospice Wellington on Scottsdale Drive on Sundays at 11:30 a.m.
Read it all.
In the course of aiding in creating a fair trade support network within the church in Montreal, I have been exploring the theology of relationship as something fundamental to the Christian vision of life and that the call to right relationship with God, the earth and each other is a call to sustainable and dignified ways of relating. I careful study of the creation narrative is, I think, a good place to start!
The French bible study group is a group of parishioners who attend the French service on Sundays at Christ Church Cathedral. They come together bi-weekly to share a meal, personal reflections and study of scripture. The focus here for me has been on mission as nurturing the already present and active community within the church. There is an imperative for us to continue providing nourishment for those who call the Anglican Church there Christian ‘home.’ As with fair trade, there is work to be done on articulating the theological reasons for sustaining relationships. The particular angle with which I have been approaching this idea is through the lens of, as mentioned, upholding the sanctity of life. This is important for the church because, I believe, the church is essentially the gathered body of Christ. And just as we would expect to care for our own bodies, so to must we care for the gathered body. Similarly, thinking globally, working with the principles of the fair trade movement one sees a similar concern for ensuring the healthy vitality of global human relationships.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship Youth Ministry * Culture-Watch Children * Economics, Politics Energy, Natural Resources * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
‘A new refugee camp has opened a few kilometres from Gambella town. Another is being established near the town of Matar, and another in the Asosa region near the permanent camp Sherkole (the new camp has been given the poignant name ‘Sorry’).
‘The churches, however, are usually the first stop for the refugees. They often ask for food and shelter.
‘As well as food aid, there are churches in the refugee camps providing literacy classes and other educational support. In this way, the churches function as community centres for many refugees.
‘We have 15 mission centres in Gambella, each of which is a cluster of churches. Some of the churches are in established refugee camps; some are in villages and towns. We have 16 clergy and 90 lay readers in the area, so we are obtaining first-hand information about what is happening.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Africa Ethiopia Sudan --South Sudan * Theology
A recent substantial donation from the Church of the Epiphany in Doha, Qatar, has enabled Fr Faiz Jerjes, our priest in Baghdad, to serve the physical as well as the spiritual needs of the many internally displaced Iraqis who have fled Da’esh (ISIS)) in the Mosul and Nineveh Plain area and are now at and around St George’s.
Read it all and make sure to catch the pictures.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary Middle East Iraq
A Church of England lay preacher has disclosed that he is preparing to be expelled from ministry to marry his male partner.
Jeremy Timm said he had been forced to “choose between marriage or ministry” by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, but is ready to be stripped of his position in the Church in order to tie the knot.
Mr Timm and his partner, Mike, who live near Howden, East Yorkshire, have been in a civil partnership for six years but are planning to convert it to marriage in September, in open defiance of a ban on same-sex weddings in the Church of England.
The 59-year-old licensed reader, who leads services in six churches around Howden, was faced with the stark choice during a in a face-to-face meeting with Dr Sentamu last month at which he discussed his plans.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Colby Alan Rawson JOHNS ISLAND - Colby Alan Rawson, 21, of Johns Island, South Carolina, entered into eternal rest Wednesday, August 5, 2015. His Celebration of Life service will be held Monday, August 10, 2015 in St. Michael's Church, Meeting Street at Broad at 3:00 p.m. The committal service will follow in the churchyard. The family will receive friends Monday, in the church fellowship hall following the service. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR, INC., WEST ASHLEY CHAPEL. Colby was born July 12, 1994, in Charleston, South Carolina, son of Randall Allen Rawson and Barbara Corbett Rawson. He was an Arborist with Rawson Services, Inc. He is survived by his parents, Randall Allen and Barbara Corbett Rawson; sister, Miranda North Rawson all of Johns Island, SC; maternal grandparents, Johnnie L. and Jean North Corbett of Bamberg, SC; paternal grandmothers, JoAnn Parker of Milsap, TX, Mary Jane Rawson of Sheffield, IA; great-grandmother, Hazel H. North of Mt. Pleasant, SC; aunts, LeeAnn Rawson, Kris Guzzi, Shari Rogers, Stacy Byre; uncle, Walter C. Corbett (Tammy); cousins, Johnnie Corbett, Jameson Corbett and extended family. Colby was a creative young man, an avid outdoorsman and adventurer. He would light up the room with his smile, laughter, and happiness; he filled many lives with hope, and he taught us what love is. His friends were numerous and each has wonderful stories to tell about their time with Colby. He loved music, rollercoasters, animals, fishing, being on the water, cars, friends, and family. He loved people, and he loved life and lived it to the fullest with gusto. Because of Colby's love for animals, especially for his cat Ibit, memorials may be made to the Charleston Animal Society, 2455 Remount Road, North Charleston, SC 29406. Also because of his love of feeding and nurturing others, memorials may be made to the Low Country Food Bank 2864 Azalea Drive, North Charleston, SC 29405. The family is asking those who will attend Colby's service to please bring non-perishable food in honor of his legacy.
....one of the risks of the Assisted Dying debate is that it detracts from the debate about how to improve the experience of the living. Not everyone will think that being ‘an old lady hobbling up the road with a trolley’ is an unbearable loss of dignity, as Pharaoh did.
In his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, Atul Gawande argues that:
‘Certainly suffering at the end of life is sometimes unavoidable and unbearable, and helping people end their misery may be necessary. Given the opportunity, I would support laws to provide these kinds of prescriptions to people. About half don’t even use their prescription. They are reassured just to know they have this control if they need it. But we damage entire societies if we let providing this capability divert us from improving the lives of the ill. Assisted living is far harder than assisted death, but its possibilities are far greater, as well.’
Campaigners against assisted dying may disagree with Gawande’s support for prescriptions of medication that would allow a patient to end their lives if things become unbearable. What if life is physically bearable but painful as a result of an illness or disability, but emotionally overwhelming because someone fears being a burden on their family?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology * Economics, Politics Politics in General * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
When Elizabeth Esther looked into Vacation Bible School at the church closest to her home in Orange County, California, she was disappointed to discover it cost $40 per kid—too much for her big family.
The Catholic mom and blogger instead found a free program and then tweeted her gratitude: “A BIG THANK YOU to all the churches out there offering free VBS for kids this summer! As a mom of five, it makes ALL the difference!”
While most congregations offer VBS at no cost, organizers can easily become overwhelmed by demand. Not only are fewer programs available for a growing number of unchurched families—about 1 in 6 churches offering VBS in the '90s dropped it by 2012, according to Barna Research—parents now regularly enroll kids in multiple Vacation Bible Schools each summer. That puts more pressure on churches to do something unique from the congregration up the street.
Especially in cities with a booming VBS circuit, a nominal fee ($5–$25) can discourage no-shows, and a bit more ($30–$75) can offset the price of food and new materials. Churches that charge typically offer scholarship options and discounts for families enrolling multiple kids.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship Youth Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
An open Bible rested comfortably in the hands of Eva Smith, its pages worn and fixed on the words of First Peter.
“Tend the flock of God which is among you,” she read aloud.
It was those words that led the 78-year-old North Charleston woman to take on a position 15 years ago as head chaplain at the Charleston County jail. And it’s those words that continue to guide her — a source of strength that allows her to endure.
“If I must say something, it’s that God loves his people no matter what they do,” she said. “It’s up to the people to accept his word.”
Read it all from the local paper.
“What is the bible like? Like a letter which a soldier wrote to his wife about the disposition of his affairs and the care of his children in case he should chance to be killed. And the next day he was shot, and died, and the letter was torn and stained with his blood. Her friends said to the woman: the letter is of no binding force; it is not a legal will, and it is so injured by the facts of the writers own death that you cannot ever prove what it means. But the lady said: I know the man, and I am satisfied I can see what he means. And I shall do it because it is what he wanted me to do, and because he died the next day.”
--quoted by yours truly in Sunday school this morning
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Adult Education * Theology Theology: Scripture
It was clear that all four denominations were declining, but that in Wales, Scotland and the USA the Anglican churches were declining much faster than the Church of England. Both the C in W and the SEC had potential extinction dates about 2040, with ECUSA possibly lasting 10-15 years longer. Indeed, although the Church of England is declining, it is only on the margins of extinction if the current pattern remains, thus unlikely to face extinction this century.
Rather than just repeat the standard reasons given for church decline, in the light of the contrasts in decline patterns, I would rather look at a different question: What does the Church of England have, that the other three denominations do not, that may have helped reduce the effects of numerical decline?
Here are some suggestions, not exhaustive, and some may be a bit controversial....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Church of England (CoE) Church of Wales Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Data * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry
The Anglican Church, once a key institution in the English-speaking world, has suffered decline for over half a century. Although in both the UK and North America there are many examples of growing and lively Anglican churches, as national denominations the trend is downwards. This decline is in marked contrast to continued Anglican growth in Africa and other parts of the world. There the church is healthy. In the West it is sick. The question is – is the Anglican sickness unto death?
In this blog I explore the different patterns of Anglican decline through four denominations: the Church of England (C of E), the Church in Wales (C in W), the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC), and the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA). The study is not perfect, nor is the data, but I hope it inspires debate and other studies. A subsequent blog will suggest possible reasons for their differences in decline.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Wales Scottish Episcopal Church Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Theology
Much like New York City’s World Trade Center site that was destroyed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the church has become a destination and a ground zero for modern racial strife. It could mark a historic turning pointing in how Americans view race.
Tourism officials hesitated to estimate how many people have inquired about visiting Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, but the building has risen nearly to the top of Charleston’s tourist attractions.
The interim pastor, the Rev. Norvel Goff, said members of his congregation were energized by a public sentiment that the church has “an open door to all visitors, regardless of color.”
“It’s become a touchstone for Charleston,” he said. “People from around the world are coming to share their thoughts and how their communities have come together in their own way because of how this community came together.”
Read it all from the local paper.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Violence * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * South Carolina
“I think this is something that has been in the works for more than a year,” said Lee Montgomery, vicar for St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Cedar City.
Because of that, Montgomery said he was “not at all surprised” by the decision, but he has mixed feelings about the reaction of some of his congregants.
“Personally, as I interpret the Bible and from our religious perspective, I applaud the Supreme Court decision that finally grants the right to marry to a group that I think has been deprived of that right,” Lee said. “At the same time, I feel extreme sadness because I know there are people who disapprove of the Supreme Court ruling.”
Some within the Episcopal Church view the decision to perform such marriages in the church as being in opposition to their religious beliefs, said Lee. “I feel sympathy for those people.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
Barbara Brown Taylor says that despite their pain [the family members of the Charleston massacre victims] they did what Jesus had taught them: turn the cheek, pray for the persecutor, love the enemy, welcome the stranger. In everything do to others as you would have them do to you. “It sounds like advice for angels, not humans” she said, “so unrealistic, so undefended, it’s a wonder we repeat it at all. Yet there it is: the Christian teaching on how to respond to violence when it comes. Sometimes it actually works to disarm the violence in others, which is why we know the names of Gandhi, Tutu, and King. But that is not its main purpose. Its main purpose is to disarm the violence in us, so that we do not join the other team.”
Michael Lapsley is an Anglican priest working in South Africa. Because of his resistance to apartheid he had to flee that country. In 1990 as a result of a parcel bomb attack he lost an eye and both hands. Despite this he has worked tirelessly for healing and reconciliation in South Africa. He insists victims must be heard: “There are often areas of silence where people are told they must forget and move on. Yet everyone has a right to have their story heard in a safe place.” It’s something we do well to remember on this island.
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There is a natural link between evangelism and worship. Yes, at Redeemer we talk about sharing the hope of Jesus out of our gratitude for his love and rescue. Worship and gratitude is a natural motivator for evangelism but there’s another link that comes to mind. When I talk to Christians and pastors who have a natural bent towards evangelism, I notice they live their faith very publicly because evangelism is an act of worship. They get to see a glimpse of God’s sovereignty, his unrelentless love and pursuit of someone and they get to see the Holy Spirit do beautiful things in their midst. Lyn Cook, a Community Group Director with Redeemer’s East Side Congregation, told me one time, evangelism is one way God reaches into her heart and reminds her of his grace and goodness. He reveals himself to her by giving her hope and compassion as she prays, listens and talks with non-believing friends. God’s sovereignty and relentless love are the foundation for evangelism and the way that many Christians, like Lyn, experience God as they live out their faith publicly.
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The Rev. George Foreman flipped his Bible open to the Book of Genesis, let fly with a left hook for Jesus and sent Satan sprawling into the ropes.
“You’ve got to learn how to fight!” he exhorted. “If you believe in God, you’ve got to fight for him.”
The Sunday morning faithful, warmed by a hand-clapping round of gospel singing, rocked on their hard wooden pews with the verbal punch.
At 66, Foreman — a two-time world heavyweight champion and veteran of more than 80 scarring professional boxing bouts — might be graying, his card-topping pugilistic battles long over. But in his bout against sin as pastor of north Houston’s Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is still a powerhouse slugger.
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Justin Welby was once a member of HTB and knows there is great potential to be found in the Church of England. He sees the need for change if it is to not just survive, but flourish. He also knows that for that to happen, things most definitely cannot stay as they are, and after decades of denial and procrastination, some urgent measures are needed. He describes himself as a spiritual magpie, drawing inspiration in his faith from different Christian traditions. He is equally happy to take the best of what he has seen outside of the church and adapt it for the needs within it. These are not the dealings of a misguided amateur. Those who doubt what he is working to achieve or demur from some of his more unorthodox methods should think carefully about their own understanding and motives before issuing harsh judgements.
If it is a stark choice between Linda Woodhead’s prosaic plan for the Church of England or the Welby-Gumbel vision for holiness, transformation, revival and growth, I know which I prefer.
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Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of Australia, has officially launched the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The RAP, developed in conjunction with Reconciliation Australia, is being implemented so that the diocese, along with its parishes and sector ministries, is able to coordinate key programs and initiatives aimed at changing the culture of the diocese to better embrace reconciliation. This will include advocacy and promotion of the key issues surrounding reconciliation, as well as providing practical advice and liturgical resources for parish and other ministry events.
“The full aspiration that Reconciliation Australia has encouraged is that we don’t overreach, over-promise and under-deliver, but have at every stage of this journey things that can be authentic and real and help strengthen our mutual resolve and understanding,” said Dr Freier. “I’m really thrilled my expectation coming to this night has been met by the reality.”
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Like many of you, I’m continuing to reflect on the tectonic philosophical and moral shifts in our culture crystallized in the Supreme Court decision to legalize same sex marriage—and what that decision means not only for our religious liberties, but for our evangelism, discipleship and mission as followers of Jesus Christ.
Four weeks ago I quoted Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission who stated that there will be a new generation of “refugees” from the current metaphysical-sexual expression culture that we now live in. Yes, there will be refugees—because turning in on yourself and pursuing your own sexual desires as a fundamental liberty never ends well. (See Romans 1:18-32 for a picture of what that looks like). Such a culture cannot keep its promises of personal happiness and fulfillment for individuals whose needs and cravings will inevitably be at odds! Sexual and relational brokenness, desperate loneliness, divorce, broken families, spiritual and emotional wounds will increase with the ever-accelerating sexual revolution which has been blessed by the highest courts of our land. Not only that, but abortion as a gruesome method of birth control and fetal tissue extraction and euthanasia at the other end of life will also increase as the exaltation of personal desires trumps traditional biblical values on the sanctity of life.
In a culture where it’s all about me and my choices, where the bottom-line world view is that the self is the only thing that can be known, and where freedom of sexual expression, self-interests and narcissism reign supreme, here’s the question: what do we as a church, as followers of Jesus Christ, have to offer to those who will be refugees of this new metaphysical-sexual expression regime?
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While the White House and Congress prepare for a final showdown over the controversial Iran nuclear deal, three American prisoners and one missing American in Iran are awaiting their own fate.
One of the prisoners is Pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American Christian pastor who has been detained in Iran since 2012. He has become the international face of the brutal persecution of Christians by the Islamic Republic.
Abedini was arrested by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps while visiting relatives and building an orphanage in the city of Rasht. Initially placed under house arrest, he was transferred to Iran’s notorious Evin Prison and later to Rajai Shahr Prison.
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Alternative chrism masses for those who cannot accept women bishops are a consequence rather than a cause of division in the Church, and do not breach the principles in the House of Bishops’ Declaration on women bishops, an independent review has concluded.
The adjudication by Sir Philip Mawer, who was appointed by the Archbishops to consider grievances from those who are concerned that the principles are not being adhered to, was published last Friday. It followed a letter to him from Hilary Cotton, who chairs Women and the Church (WATCH), in April.
She argued that there was “no sacramental need” for the masses, which are presided over by bishops of the Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda, since chrism masses were already held in each diocese. Alternative masses were “a cause of much pain to clergy women and their supportive male colleagues, and an expression of division within the dioceses”.
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Christian preacher Pastor James McConnell has said he wants to be “exonerated, liberated and set free” after he pleaded not guilty at a Belfast court in connection with charges he faces over a sermon where he branded Islam as “satanic”.
At Laganside court on Thursday, the north Belfast preacher’s solicitor Joe Rice said his client would be pleading not guilty to the case prosecutors have taken under the 2003 Communications Act.
Supporters, including DUP MP Sammy Wilson, gathered outside the court holding placards to protest what they described as the pastor’s right to free speech.
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Christchurch's Anglican Diocese has avoided censure for incorrectly using funds from an insurance payout to help pay for the transitional cathedral.
A High Court judgment released on Wednesday said it was sufficient for the Church Property Trustees (CPT), which holds property on various trusts for the diocese, to repay the $4 million it used from the quake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral insurance payout to construct the new building near Latimer Square.
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[The Rev. Gretta] Vosper, 57, who was ordained in 1993 and joined her east-end church in 1997, said the idea of an interventionist, supernatural being on which so much church doctrine is based belongs to an outdated world view.
What’s important, she says, is that her views hearken to Christianity’s beginnings, before the focus shifted from how one lived to doctrinal belief in God, Jesus and the Bible.
“Is the Bible really the word of God? Was Jesus a person?” she said.
“It’s mythology. We build a faith tradition upon it which shifted to find belief more important than how we lived.”
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The delivery of new training programmes for senior leaders in the Church of England is already bearing fruit, according to the senior bishop overseeing the programme.
Writing in the first of a series of blogs reflecting on Leadership and Development training, Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely, who chairs the Development and Appointments Group of the House of Bishops, said that feedback from those having attended the courses "has been extremely positive and we feel blessed for the fruits it is already bearing."
The first leadership programme for cathedral deans and leaders of greater churches held in March at Judge Business School in Cambridge, included remarks by one participant who observed that it had been "by a country mile, the most impressive course I have under taken in over 30 years of ordained ministry". Another said, "Overall this has been an outstanding week, both in content and shape. Of course, there has been much value in conversations, etc., but the stand-out feature has been the sessions, with speakers of very high quality, genuinely addressing core issues for this very specific audience".
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Ministers will challenge the Church of England to support the biggest shake up of Sunday trading laws in a generation to help boost high streets and cut shopping bills for every household in Britain.
Under plans unveiled in a consultation today, local authorities will be given the power to prevent large supermarkets from opening longer in an attempt to revive Britain's high streets.
The Government will encourage councils to use the new powers to help town centre stores at the expense of larger out-of-town shops.
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A low hum sweeps across the sanctuary, drifting above the bowed heads of huddled prayer groups, beyond the joined hands of blacks and whites. Earnest whispers carry words like harmony, unity, forgiveness, and peace. Outside, a police car idles as day fades to dusk at Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Ala.
Less than a week earlier, in a church basement 450 miles away, nine people had been fatally shot during a Bible study class at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, S.C. But the service here on this June day is not a vigil. It is the product of a bond established months before – between mostly white Oak Mountain and the predominantly black congregation of Urban Hope Community Church.
In the aftermath of the Charleston shootings, the grace of the members of Emanuel AME – poignantly forgiving the young man who killed their loved ones – showed the power of faith in promoting racial harmony under the most trying conditions. The leaders of Oak Mountain and Urban Hope Community are persuaded that, going forward, churches have a crucial role in bringing that progress to America as a whole.
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The Bishop of Los Angeles has retaliated against clergy and lay members of St James the Great Episcopal Church in Newport Beach, Cal., for having brought misconduct charges against him under the Episcopal Church’s Title IV disciplinary canons, alleges the Save St James the Great coalition.
According to a supplement filed last week to the complaint, (printed below) attorneys for the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno have harrassed witnesses and members of the parish who had brought charges against him. Bishop Bruno is accused of trying to depose the husband of parish vicar the Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees and seeking legal sanctions for his alleged non-cooperation with his attorney's demands, and have threatened to bring civil legal charges against those who signed the complaint, accusing them of “malicious prosecution.”
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In May, authorities in eastern China’s Zhejiang province unveiled rules severely limiting the size and placement of crosses on churches — the codification of a sometimes-violent 2014 campaign that saw crosses torn from more than 300 churches in and around the city of Wenzhou, home to a large Christian community.
The local government now appears to be enforcing the new regulations.
As shown in the Associated Press..authorities last week dispatched demolition crews to shear off the cross that sat atop Lower Dafei Catholic Church outside Wenzhou as parishioners sang hymns in protest.
“They say we have religious freedom. Is this freedom?” one congregation member, surnamed Chen, told the AP. “Have we violated any national laws? We are also good Chinese citizens.”
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The largest Presbyterian church in the Lehigh Valley has begun a process that could lead to a split from the most visible national denomination — a move initiated after a survey showed most of its congregants disagree with church positions, including those allowing same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay ministers.
The leadership of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem voted on June 15 to enter the discernment process to leave Presbyterian Church (USA), or PC (USA), and seek affiliation with ECO: a Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians after spending years considering the move.
The 140-year-old church on Center Street in Bethlehem has 2,609 members and would be the largest congregation to leave the Lehigh Presbytery, the group of congregations covering seven counties in eastern Pennsylvania.
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During interviews Monday, leaders at Anniston’s two Episcopal churches expressed openness to the LGBT community. Lee Shafer, rector at Grace Episcopal, and Chris Hartley, rector at St. Michael and All Angels, explained the solemnization of same-sex marriages within their respective congregations would depend on discussions between the vestry — the congregational governing body — and the pastor.
“Our challenge,” Hartley said, “is to create a liturgical practice that honors and respects our LGBT brothers and sisters while not in any way alienating our brothers and sisters who are against same-sex marriage.”
“If that sounds difficult ... I mean, how do you do that? It sounds more impossible than it does difficult.”
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The people of St. James the Great Church in Newport Beach, California, thought they had their bishop’s long-term support when they moved into the building in October 2013, after the diocese’s long-term property battle with former members who joined the Anglican Church in North America. He was at the ceremony and offered his blessing.
But now they have no building because the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno signed a deal in May to sell it for $15 million to a luxury housing developer. They feel betrayed, and they are fighting back.
In July church members filed a lengthy complaint, or presentment, against the bishop. It charges Bishop Bruno with 147 violations of church law, ranging from conduct unbecoming a bishop to reckless or intentional misrepresentation, under Title IV of church canons.
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St Thomas Aquinas considers the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in his treatise on Christology in Part III of the Summa Theoiogica, Q53. In the First Article of Q53, he asks Whether it was necessary for Christ to rise again? Thomas quotes St Luke 24.46 (`Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'), and offers five reasons why this is so. I summarize them below: they make a sound basis for a series of Easter sermons from Low Sunday to the Sunday before Ascension Day, inclusive. Note how closely St Thomas roots all his reasoning in Scripture.
First, the Resurrection of Christ attests to the Justice of God. God exalts those who humble themselves for his sake (see Luke 1.52). Christ has humbled himself on the Cross, out of love for God, and obedience to him; therefore, God has lifted him up to a glorious Resurrection.
Second, the Resurrection of Christ instructs us and confirms us in our faith. The Resurrection proves Christ's divinity (2 Corinthians 13.4) and it establishes the sure ground for our belief in him (1 Corinthians 15.14; Psalm 29.10).
Third, the Resurrection of Christ is the grounds for our hope, for where Christ our Head has gone, we too hope to follow (1 Corinthians 15.12; Job 19.25, 27.)
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A new ecumenical resource is offering an alternative way for small groups and congregations to lead worshippers in the singing of hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing Hallelujah! is a video hymnal comprised of a five-volume DVD set. In each video, musicians perform well-known traditional and contemporary hymns while lyrics scroll in large letters along the bottom of the screen, allowing viewers to join in and sing along.
Ralph Milton, a retired former missionary and longtime member of First United Church in Kelowna, B.C., played the lead role in creating the video hymnal. Reflecting his ecumenical outlook, Sing Hallelujah! was designed for use by all denominations, though many selections are drawn from United Church hymn books.
“Having been a writer and penned more books than anybody would want to read, I did a lot of travelling around at one point to small, various congregations,” Milton said.
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On June 28 a handful of fundamentalist hecklers from the Church of Wells, located in the piney woods of East Texas about three hours northeast of Houston, disrupted services at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church. As reported in national and local media outlets, and astutely analyzed by historian Charity Carney, security removed the activists after they shouted at the popular preacher and they were arrested. While that June Sunday was not the first time the Wells hecklers visited Lakewood, it represented a bold and memorable confrontation with America’s smiling pastor, not unlike the one evangelist Adam Key had with Osteen in 2007.
It is easy to dismiss the Wells hecklers and Key as fundamentalist partisans whose messages appeal to a small number of like-minded followers. However, as my book Salvation with a Smile argues, their actions are part of a longer history of public castigation of popular preachers. And Molly Worthen’s insightful description of evangelicalism’s crisis of authority speaks powerfully to the rhetorical combat between Osteen and his critics, as does Todd Brenneman’s post for this blog.
Lakewood’s heckler episode this summer, while documenting one way to understand Osteen’s popularity, also prompts historical reflection about the summer of 2005 when Joel and his congregation moved into Houston’s Compaq Center, a sports-arena-turned-megachurch. The last decade encompassed Joel Osteen’s ascendancy to the peak of American evangelicalism.
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Listen to it all (just under 20 minutes).
Should a “transgender” person be allowed a ceremony of “re-baptism” at their local church? That is what a parishioner requested from the Rev Chris Newlands, Vicar of Lancaster.
“I said we don’t do that, but we did offer him, and then carry out, a service,” Mr Newlands told the Lancaster Guardian. “He was originally baptised as a baby girl, and to him it was about God knowing him by name.”
Mr Newlands mobilised his Deanery and put a motion on the House of Bishops’ agenda for the General Synod of the Church of England: “That this Synod, recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church, call on the House of Bishops to consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.”
That was earlier this year, but such services are already being performed.
Read it all from Christopher Howse at the Telegraph.
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I was also reminded of a more somber anniversary coming next month: It will have been five years since Chaplain Capt. Dale Goetz was killed in action, along with five soldiers from his unit, on Aug. 30, 2010, by a roadside bomb in the Arghandab Valley near Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was the first U.S. military chaplain killed in action in 40 years.
The hardest moment during my tenure as Army chief of chaplains was receiving the news that one of our nation’s chaplains had been killed in action. Emails and phone calls began flooding in, attesting to the tremendous spiritual impact he’d had on members of the military and their families.
An airman reported that Chaplain Goetz had led him to a profession of faith. A couple said that his pastoral counseling had saved their marriage. Two young men entered the ministry as a result of his influence on their lives. A soldier who attended Chaplain Goetz’s last chapel service, inspired by his message that we should live with the same compassion we saw in Jesus Christ, said he had been moved to ask God’s forgiveness of those who were “setting the bombs on the road for us to die.”
Such influence on America’s military personnel has been a hallmark of the chaplain corps since the Revolutionary War.
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The vicar who is the star of a reality television show in which couples are married as soon as they meet has been criticised for allowing his clerical collar to give respectability to a “seedy” experiment.
The Rev Nick Devenish is one of five experts who selected six strangers to tie the knot in the Channel 4 show Married at First Sight.
The team vicar at the Church of St Mary & St Michael in Cartmel, Cumbria, analysed the participants’ understanding of marriage, what they wanted from their union and how well they understood the seriousness and commitment required. He was part of a panel of experts alongside a sex therapist, a psychologist and two anthropologists.
The Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev David Walker, accused the show of “inappropriate and rather seedy behaviour” and has said that a Church of England vicar should not have been involved.
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Toronto’s Cathedral Church of St. James has mounted a historical overview of the Anglican church’s often painful relationship with Indigenous peoples, as part of an effort to keep alive the momentum generated by the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in May.
Truth and Reconciliation: A Special Exhibit on the Legacy of the Residential Schools is showing daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the cathedral’s east aisle during July and August. The cathedral is located on the northeast corner of Church and King streets.
The idea of an exhibit was supported by Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. “The primate was keenly interested, and we thought this was something we could put together fairly quickly,” said Nancy Mallet, cathedral archivist and exhibits committee chair.
- See more at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/-cathedral-exhibit-extends-spirit-of-the-trc#sthash.Huf4i7CB.dpuf
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...Dodgson’s writing bears subtle witness to the wonders of both creation and its creator in ways that deserve more attention. He was a committed, lifelong member of the Church of England. Although he balked at taking Holy Orders, he was ordained as a deacon in the church in 1861.
While his doctrinal views parted ways with those of his high church ancestors (his great-grandfather had been a bishop and his father a clergyman), Dodgson shied from the religious controversies plaguing the church at the time, remaining essentially what would have been considered orthodox.
“Most assuredly I accept to the full the doctrines you refer to — that Christ died to save us, that we have no other way of salvation open to us but through His death, and that it is by faith in Him, and through no merit of ours, that we are reconciled to God,” Dodgson wrote in a letter to a friend in 1897, “and most assuredly I can cordially say, ‘I owe all to Him who loved me, and died on the Cross of Calvary.'”
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The religious historian Owen Chadwick, who has died aged 99, was one of the most remarkable men of letters of the 20th century. He held two Cambridge University chairs over a period of 25 years, was its vice-chancellor during the student unrest of the late 1960s, chaired a commission that transformed the structures of the Church of England, and declined major bishoprics.
His range of publication was exceptional: he was a master of the large canvas – The Secularisation of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century (1976) or The Popes and European Revolution (1981); of the full-scale biography such as those of Hensley Henson (1983), the stormy petrel of church politics, and of Michael Ramsey (1990); and of the cameo, as in Victorian Miniature (1960), his study of the fraught relationship between a 19th-century squire and parson, drawing on the papers of each, or as in Mackenzie’s Grave (1959), his wonderful story of the bishop sent to lead a mission up the Zambesi and whose disappearance brought out the best and the worst in Victorian Christianity and public life.
In addition to his one textbook – The Pelican History of the Church: The Reformation (1964), the first book on many reading lists for a quarter of a century – he produced several books for a wider readership, including A History of Christianity (1995) and a short biography of John Henry Newman (1983), but few articles or reviews.
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A church which put out an urgent appeal for financial help has been saved.
Grade II listed St John's church in Bemerton, near Salisbury, closed in 2010 when the heating broke and there was no money to fix it.
The building was declared redundant by the Church of England but supporters have raised more than £500,000 to turn it into a community centre.
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The Episcopal Church earlier this month took a leap forward in its evolving approach to gay rights, voting to allow priests to marry same-sex couples. But that won’t mean a rush to the altar at Louisiana churches.
No churches in the state have permission to marry gay couples until Nov. 29, the first Sunday of the Advent season. That’s when two new marriage rites using gender-neutral language become available for church services.
Meanwhile, priests who are opposed to same-sex marriage can, as a matter of conscience, refuse to officiate at such ceremonies. In Louisiana, that’s the norm.
Only a handful of the 97 Episcopal churches in the state have indicated they are planning to start holding same-sex weddings when the new rites take effect. These also are the only Louisiana churches that have presided over same-sex unions through a special “blessing” the Episcopal Church approved in 2012.
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What do you mean by the title of the book?
Jonathan Dodson: Well, The Unbelievable Gospel is a kind of double entendre.Click to buy your copy of The Unbelievable Gospel in the Bible Gateway Store In one sense, the gospel is unbelievably good because it’s honest to affirm the human predicament—sinfully broken—but hopeful enough to offer a divine solution—personal and cosmic saving renewal. The gospel is the good and true story that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new; even us. It’s as big as the cosmos and as small as you and me.
The problem is that many people don’t find the gospel to be true. This gets at the other sense of its un-believability. J.I. Packer says, “Evangelism is man’s work but the giving of faith is God’s.” God is the granter of faith; we’re responsible for witness; and it’s here, in our evangelism, that the gospel often becomes unbelievable to many.
People find the gospel unbelievable because of what we say and how we say it. Often evangelistic efforts come off as preachy, impersonal, intolerant, and uninformed. The gospel is the opposite of each of these. Instead of self-righteous preachy, we preach Christ’s righteousness; instead of coldly intolerant, we preach the warmth of union with Christ and dignify others. You get the idea.
If we’re honest, evangelicals are often more intent in getting Jesus off their chests than getting the gospel into people’s hearts. We operate on checklist instead of investigating why people don’t believe the gospel, respecting their alternate beliefs, and sympathizing with their human struggles, where the gospel actually intersects human need; that is, hope of new creation for the addiction, perfect acceptance for the rejected or overworking professional.
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The Rev. Brian Baker, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento, California, and a member of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, said that other than “the ick factor,” there was nothing to prevent Episcopalians from participating in the Urban Death Project. Given the importance of environmentalism to his congregation, he wouldn’t be surprised to see it gain traction.
“This is much better stewardship of the Earth and human resources and land than putting up a cement crypt and a coffin that obligates people to care for it,” he said. “We’re not a doctrinal church. It’s not like a church body would say yes or no, it’s more like Episcopalians do it and so it becomes church practice.”
Muslims wanting to participate in the Urban Death Project may hit some theological obstacles. In Islam, while burial in a shroud and natural decomposition are consistent with the Urban Death Project’s model, its compost harvesting might be seen as disinterment, considered a forbidden mutilation of the body. Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that scholars may be able to argue around the issue.
Read it all from Slate.
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What Christ thinks of the church--Read it all.
This is a must-not-miss as far too many do not know of this story of Saint John in his elder years--KSH.
Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant's death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit.
7. When he had come to one of the cities not far away (the name of which is given by some ), and had consoled the brethren in other matters, he finally turned to the bishop that had been appointed, and seeing a youth of powerful physique, of pleasing appearance, and of ardent temperament, he said, 'This one I commit to you in all earnestness in the presence of the Church and with Christ as witness.' And when the bishop had accepted the charge and had promised all, he repeated the same injunction with an appeal to the same witnesses, and then departed for Ephesus.
8. But the presbyter taking home the youth committed to him, reared, kept, cherished, and finally baptized him. After this he relaxed his stricter care and watchfulness, with the idea that in putting upon him the seal of the Lord he had given him a perfect protection.
9. But some youths of his own age, idle and dissolute, and accustomed to evil practices, corrupted him when he was thus prematurely freed from restraint. At first they enticed him by costly entertainments; then, when they went forth at night for robbery, they took him with them, and finally they demanded that he should unite with them in some greater crime.
10. He gradually became accustomed to such practices, and on account of the positiveness of his character, leaving the right path, and taking the bit in his teeth like a hard-mouthed and powerful horse, he rushed the more violently down into the depths.
11. And finally despairing of salvation in God, he no longer meditated what was insignificant, but having committed some great crime, since he was now lost once for all, he expected to suffer a like fate with the rest. Taking them, therefore, and forming a band of robbers, he became a bold bandit-chief, the most violent, most bloody, most cruel of them all.
12. Time passed, and some necessity having arisen, they sent for John. But he, when he had set in order the other matters on account of which he had come, said, 'Come, O bishop, restore us the deposit which both I and Christ committed to you, the church, over which you preside, being witness.'
13. But the bishop was at first confounded, thinking that he was falsely charged in regard to money which he had not received, and he could neither believe the accusation respecting what he had not, nor could he disbelieve John. But when he said, 'I demand the young man and the soul of the brother,' the old man, groaning deeply and at the same time bursting into tears, said, 'He is dead.' 'How and what kind of death?' 'He is dead to God,' he said; 'for he turned wicked and abandoned, and at last a robber. And now, instead of the church, he haunts the mountain with a band like himself.'
14. But the Apostle rent his clothes, and beating his head with great lamentation, he said, 'A fine guard I left for a brother's soul! But let a horse be brought me, and let some one show me the way.' He rode away from the church just as he was, and coming to the place, he was taken prisoner by the robbers' outpost.
15. He, however, neither fled nor made entreaty, but cried out, 'For this did I come; lead me to your captain.'
16. The latter, meanwhile, was waiting, armed as he was. But when he recognized John approaching, he turned in shame to flee.
17. But John, forgetting his age, pursued him with all his might, crying out, 'Why, my son, do you flee from me, your own father, unarmed, aged? Pity me, my son; fear not; you have still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for you. If need be, I will willingly endure your death as the Lord suffered death for us. For you will I give up my life. Stand, believe; Christ has sent me.'
18. And he, when he heard, first stopped and looked down; then he threw away his arms, and then trembled and wept bitterly. And when the old man approached, he embraced him, making confession with lamentations as he was able, baptizing himself a second time with tears, and concealing only his right hand.
19. But John, pledging himself, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness with the Saviour, besought him, fell upon his knees, kissed his right hand itself as if now purified by repentance, and led him back to the church. And making intercession for him with copious prayers, and struggling together with him in continual fastings, and subduing his mind by various utterances, he did not depart, as they say, until he had restored him to the church, furnishing a great example of true repentance and a great proof of regeneration, a trophy of a visible resurrection.
(From Eusebius which may be found there [III.23]).
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3) The overly simplistic false dichotomy
At least one a week. Social media is for provocation and retweets, not nuance or thoughtfulness....!
8) Never let on how hard Mondays are
Your people need not know that by 9:00 AM every Monday you are a hairs breadth away from sending in your resignation letter. Nope. Just post a Bible bomb instead (but leave off the first part of the verse about God’s anger).
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Just beyond a massive strip mall, with its Best Buy and Hobby Lobby, Abdul Baasit, the imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Chattanooga, found himself preaching on Friday about a nightmare.
It was Eid al-Fitr, at the end of Ramadan, normally a time of gift-giving and carnival celebration. But the party that had been planned was canceled: A man who had attended prayer services at the center’s mosque killed four Marines on Thursday. And Mr. Baasit, 48, was trying to help Chattanooga’s Muslim faithful cope with their grief over the deaths, and their fear of reprisal.
“You do not want what is not right to be associated with Islam,” Mr. Baasit, a native of Ghana, said in lilting, heavily accented English. “And yet it is happening.
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Matt (again, not his real name) was referred for pain control. He was clear-minded and determined to travel to Switzerland for assisted suicide. He'd been given three months to live, he said, and he wanted to get it over with. When I tentatively asked: "Is there anything you've always wanted to do before you die?" he wistfully outlined his dream holiday. He then let me help plan his travel on this holiday, and enjoyed it in a way he never thought possible. He never went to Switzerland, but had some surprisingly wonderful times before dying peacefully at home of his cancer.
Matt certainly had what Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill calls a "settled intent" to die. It would have been all too easy for a willing doctor to sign off his assisted suicide. But only a small minority of doctors (just under a fifth, according to a recent poll) say they would be willing to process such requests. Most want to work to help patients live well and die well despite illness, not to be a gatekeeper for assisted suicide.
Laws are more than just regulatory instruments. They send social messages. As a society we are clear that suicide is not something to be encouraged or assisted. Legalising assisted suicide flies in the face of that. It sends the message that, if you are terminally ill, ending your life is something that society endorses and that you might want to consider. Is that really the kind of society we want?
Read it all from the Huffington Post.
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Churchgoers are being encouraged to contact their MPs to highlight the risks involved in proposed legislation to legalise assisted suicide.
James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, has asked that parishioners either make an appointment to see their MP or write them a letter expressing their concerns about a Private Member's Bill to be debated in the House of Commons on Friday September 11.
The Bill is expected to seek to grant physician assisted suicide for mentally competent, terminally ill adults, who have six months or less to live.
Bishop James, the Church of England's lead bishop on health care, said the proposed legislation, if passed into law, would have a detrimental effect both on individuals and on the nature of society.
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Reading people’s comments online is an interesting and sometimes troubling study in human nature. And reading comments by professing Christians on Christian sites (as well as other sites) can be a discouraging study in applied theology.
The immediate, shoot-from-the-hip nature of comments on websites and social media is what can often make them minimally helpful or even destructive. Comments can easily be careless. That’s why we must heed Jesus’s warning: “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). This caution makes commenting serious business to God.
How [then] Should We Comment...?
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Soon, we had settled into a pattern of giving 5 percent to our local church and 5 percent to charity. But one year, when it was time to renew our annual pledge to the church, I was convicted that a radical increase was necessary. God says, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse” (Mal. 3:10, ESV). For our family, that means the local church. So the full 10 percent should go to our church, while charitable gifts (alms) were to be an additional offering.
When I began sharing this with my husband, we were in for a surprise. He had separately come to the same conviction. The problem was that we had just promised 5 percent of our income to a missionary. Overnight, we went from giving 10 percent of our income to giving 15 percent.
Yet we never suffered. We saw God meet our needs in ways that bordered on the miraculous. People were always giving us things we needed but couldn’t afford: a sewing machine, a lawn mower, a new refrigerator. More than once, we found an inexplicable extra $50 in our savings account.
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[Bishop Ed] Konieczky said he voted against a related measure that calls for a change in the the denomination’s canonical definition of marriage as a “union of a man and a woman.”
He said the resolution, which was eventually approved, calls for altering the current canon language to “gender-neutral language,” replacing “a man and a woman” with “both parties.”
In his letter to the Oklahoma diocese on the Sunday after the denomination’s vote on gay marriage, Konieczky said he voted against this language alteration because it places the denomination’s canon in conflict with language used in their Book of Common Prayer and the denomination’s constitution....
Konieczky said he did not think the denomination had done the necessary theological work to make the switch to gender-neutral language.
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Episcopalians formerly associated with a Newport Beach church have filed a formal complaint against a bishop whose actions have paved the way for the church's waterfront property to potentially become luxury condos.
The complaint, known as a presentment, filed with the national Episcopal church in New York City alleges that Bishop J. Jon Bruno violated church doctrine in May after he put the St. James the Great Episcopal Church's Lido Village property and two nearby parking lots up for sale to a developer, Legacy Partners Residential, which plans to construct 22 homes there.
Among the 147 canon violations levied in the presentment, dated July 6, are "instances of reckless or intentional misrepresentation, conduct unbecoming a bishop of the church, possible failure to get required diocesan approval for the sale and creating or promoting conflict," according to a news release from St. James issued Wednesday.
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The Revd Dr Andrew Atherstone, Welby’s biographer, says Church growth is the ‘golden thread’ that ties all the reforms together. Welby, he says, wants people to see that decline is ‘not inevitable’. In Africa and China churches are booming. ‘Globally, church growth is normal,’ he says. Welby, he suggests, is ‘very optimistic about turning the Church of England around’.
Yet Atherstone admits that Welby’s tendency to focus on numbers ‘makes some in the C of E nervous’. One Church observer says the reason clergy are panicky about the reforms is that they seem ‘very bottom line — if you can’t get more punters in then you’ve failed’.
Atherstone suggests Welby wants the Church to be more entrepreneurial. The change to dioceses’ funding is intended to encourage that. Instead of the old model of one vicar looking after his medieval parish, the idea is to fund projects that no one has yet tried. Welby, says Atherstone, thinks the Church is too ‘safety-conscious’, smothering start-ups in paperwork.
Critics, on the other hand, say the reforms are merely depressing the workforce. Talented young clergy are ‘in despair’, they say — head office doesn’t seem to grasp what their ministry is really about.
Read it all from the Spectator.
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Almighty God, the source of all that we can have, and all that we can hope for,
Grant that we may be worthy custodians of the earth in which we dwell.
Make us creative so that we will not burden others;
Make us conservative so that we will not squander what comes our way;
Make us perceptive so that we may properly weigh our necessities against the needs of others;
Make us generous so that we may give freely of what we have that others can enjoy a portion of our fortune.
Remove from us all trust in anything but thee;
Strengthen us in the knowledge that thou wilt always provide all that we really need;
And finally, by thy Grace, instill in us that perfect desire to be thy servants and ultimately to be with thee in thy Heavenly Kingdom,
Who reignest forever and ever, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The video reveals Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, discussing the intentional harvesting of organs and other tissues from babies aborted in Planned Parenthood clinics. While reaching with her fork for salad, Dr. Nucatola openly tells a group she believes to be medical researchers that there is a great demand for fetal livers, but “a lot of people want intact hearts these days.”
Dr. Nucatola went on to explain in chilling detail that abortionists often plan in advance how to harvest desired organs, even telling the group that a “huddle” is sometimes held with clinic staff early in the day, so that targeted organs can be harvested from unborn babies.
Her language is beyond chilling as she described how abortions are conducted specifically to harvest intact organs: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part. I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.” She also described using an abortion technique that appears to be partial-birth abortion.
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In the mid-20th century many Anglican Church of Canada parishes joined their mainline and evangelical neighbours in creating tightly-focused programs for even the tiniest demographics. Now, many parishes are tearing down those walls between ages and stages, hoping to bind up scattered, sometimes shattering church communities.
The 20th century craze to split the church into demographic segments was a profound departure from Judeo-Christian tradition. Jesus grew up in a Jewish community where the generations nurtured each other’s faith — in fact, young Jesus was so caught up learning from his elders at the temple in Jerusalem that he let Mary and Joseph start for home without him. The Apostle Paul mentored his spiritual son, Timothy, in ministry; he also instructed older men and women to be good examples and to mentor younger people in faith.
Sadly, segmentation – intended to keep kids, youth, young adults, or even seniors in church – may cut off them off from each other and the worshiping life of the church. This leaves youth with “no sense of what it means to be a mature adult Christian living out a life of faith in the Church,’’ writes the Rev. Valerie Michaelson, pastoral associate and Queen’s Chaplain at St. James’ Anglican Church, Kingston, Ont., in “How to Nurture Intergenerational Community in Your Church,” posted on the Wycliffe College Institute of Evangelism website. It also deprives adults and seniors the opportunity to understand and mentor younger members of the church, say advocates of intergenerational ministry.
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The new charges will add to his recent woes. After the news came out that Bishop Bruno purportedly had arranged a "sweetheart" private deal with a developer -- no bids or listing of the property, but just terms worked out with a single buyer who wants to erect a suite of expensive townhomes on the property -- he received a letter from the original developer of Lido Isle (the area of Newport Beach where St. James is located), the Griffith Corporation. That letter informed him something he ought to have known already: that the property on which the church stands was gifted to the Diocese for use only for church purposes. Griffith stated that if he went through with the proposed sale, the property would automatically revert back to it.
The letter caused Bishop Bruno to instruct his attorneys immediately to sue the Griffith Corporation for "slander of title" -- a rather heavy-handed response to the donor of one's most valuable property. You can read the complaint and see the original deed of gift at this link -- the deed restriction is for real, and the courts enforce them as written.
It will be interesting to watch this scenario play out -- whether the Bishop can remain on top of the situation will require that he first rein in his attack dogs, and begin treating donors and parishioners for the valued assets they are. Meanwhile, some useful information is emerging. According to this letter to the Diocesan Standing Committee, Bishop Bruno told the parish that he was trying to recoup the Diocese's litigation expenses (incurred in suing four former parishes, including the previous congregation of St. James) of Nine Million Dollars. That is five million dollars greater than I had estimated in tallying up all the costs of Church litigation, as reported in this post.
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On the basis of the well-known fact that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, we should ask first what has been going on in the English church in the last half century which has – shall we say – coincided with its collapse. Let me mention a few of what seem to me to be the most significant features.
The last fifty years have seen the rise of theological reductionism. Bluntly, this means that ancient doctrines, always previously proclaimed as true and the foundational beliefs of the church have been, in the jargon, demythologised. So Jesus was not born of a virgin and he didn’t rise from the dead. His miracles were really “acted parables” – that is more jargon for the claim that they didn’t actually happen.
Concurrent with theological reductionism has run a fifty years programme of liturgical “reform” which has seen the discarding of The King James Bible and The Book of Common Prayer. This means that there is no longer observance of the rule that all the realm shall have one use. In fact, these changes mean that you have no idea what you’re going to find in a church service until the service begins. It’s a sort of churchy babel in which no two churches do the same thing and many priests and ministers seem to do as they like.
In addition to these changes, the bishops, the clergy and the synod have endorsed the secular mores of the age.
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The Bishop of Los Angeles urged members of St James the Great Episcopal Church to trust him, because he was their bishop and his word was his bond. However, members of the Newport Beach, Cal., parish have now filed a complaint under the Episcopal Church’s disciplinary canons against the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno alleging fraud, lying, abuse of authority, corruption and conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.
On 6 July 2015 members of the Orange County congregation, who have been locked out of their church since the beginning of July on the orders of the bishop, filed a complaint under Title IV alleging “140 canon violations” by their bishop.
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Early on the morning of Easter 387, just after dawn, the man whom history would come to know as "Augustine of Hippo" was baptized, along with a small group of fellow catechumens, in the large, octagonal baptistery behind Milan's imposing Basilica Nova. The baptism itself, as well as the extensive instruction preceding and following it, was performed by another memorable historical figure: the tenacious and formidable bishop "Ambrose of Milan." The relationship between these two towering figures of church history is the subject of Garry Wills' Font of Life. Curiously, the relationship he describes was not based on personal affinity or compatibility of belief. Rather, according to Wills, the story of Ambrose and Augustine was "a tangled one, full of surprises," a strange admixture of mystagogical initiation and retrospective invocation, deeply rooted in the nuances of early Christian liturgical practice and the conflicts of ecclesiastical politics. In this truly foreign context, Wills masterfully steers his historical reconstruction, artfully avoiding the twin shoals of reductive simplicity and overwhelming complexity by anchoring his narrative in the "sacred drama" of 4th-century baptism. In this, Wills does his readers a great service, bringing to life much of the ritual and symbolism surrounding the practice of late antique Christian initiation.
James J. O'Donnell has noted—at the outset of his three-volume commentary on Augustine's Confessions—the lamentable tendency of most modern readers to anachronistically undervalue the "visceral reverence for cult that all late antique men and women felt." We undervalue cult, liturgy, and ritual, O'Donnell argues, both because of the prejudice of our time, which tends to purge these foreign elements from the beliefs of our spiritual forebears, and because of the paucity of remaining evidence for the specifics of these highly guarded practices. In the late 4th century, it was customary for the central liturgical act of Christian worship (the Eucharist) as well as for key pieces of Christian teaching (the Apostle's Creed, the Lord's Prayer) to be withheld from both non-Christians and catechumens, through a practice known as the disciplina arcani, the "discipline of the secret." Even Augustine, recounting his own baptismal experience in the 9th book of his Confessions, avoids describing the rite itself, preferring instead to comment on how he was moved by the singing of hymns. As there is clear attestation that much of late antique Christian teaching and practice relied heavily upon these "oral" and "performative" traditions of liturgy and sacrament, all too often veiled in silence, the church historian is faced with the dilemma of trying to reconstruct the Christianity of this period while missing key pieces of the puzzle.
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In a more ethereal sense, singing is an influence for a lifetime. Sometimes it has been derided as not cool but the real truth is that it is something beyond and altogether different; a gift from nowhere.
Well rehearsed, like all the best things in life, it becomes time to appreciate something deep and far more than oneself. It is an ultimate in sustained concentration, a skill too often denied at times by multitasking emptiness, in a rushed existence of stressed over-communication.
The last generation has witnessed the switch to an existence where pace of life is often overwhelming.
Music, whatever genre, is timeless in what it means. Recent reflections on British values are seldom encapsulated in the great Anglican tradition of making time in the present.
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Around 1,000 apprentices from across Liverpool are set to take part in the UK’s largest graduation ceremony at the end of the month.
Organisers are keen to make sure attendance is as high as possible and have put out a call to make sure apprentices who are eligible should get signed up in time.
The ceremony will take place at the Anglican Cathedral on July 30 but Liverpool City Region Apprenticeship Hub, who are in charge of the event, say apprentices need to register by July 21 to guarantee their places.
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Christians claim to believe the Bible is God's Word. We claim it's God's divinely inspired, inerrant message to us. Yet despite this, we aren't reading it. A recent LifeWay Research study found only 45 percent of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. Over 40 percent of the people attending read their Bible occasionally, maybe once or twice a month. Almost 1 in 5 churchgoers say they never read the Bible—essentially the same number who read it every day.
Because we don't read God's Word, it follows that we don't know it. To understand the effects, we can look to statistics of another Western country: the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom Bible Society surveyed British children and found many could not identify common Bible stories. When given a list of stories, almost 1 in 3 didn't choose the Nativity as part of the Bible and over half (59 percent) didn't know that Jonah being swallowed by the great fish is in the Bible.
British parents didn't do much better. Around 30 percent of parents don't know Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, or the Good Samaritan are in the Bible. To make matters worse, 27 percent think Superman is or might be a biblical story. More than 1 in 3 believes the same about Harry Potter. And more than half (54 percent) believe The Hunger Games is or might be a story from the Bible.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Books Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * Theology Christology Theology: Scripture
..[The] understanding that ordained ministry is a vocation, a calling from God, challenges the contemporary understanding of authority in at least three senses. First, if vocation is a calling from God it is not based on our own self-importance or charismatic capabilities. As Jesus told his apostles, we do not choose this office; Jesus chooses us. Second, because ordained ministry is a divine calling, ordained clergy are answerable to God for their charges. Jesus says in Matthew 18:6, “but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” In the pastoral letters, the apostle Paul gives instructions to his own delegates Timothy and Titus about just how important their responsibilities are to their congregations. Finally, because ordination is a vocation from God, ordained clergy always need to be aware that they are responsible not to deliver their own opinions to their congregation, but God’s own word. Quoting again the passage from Jeremiah, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jer. 1:10).
Jared and Rebecca each affirm this morning: “I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and therefore I hold myself bound to conform my life and ministry thereto, and do solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline and Worship of Christ as this Church has received them.” It is because vocation means that clergy have to deliver a divine word and not their own subjective opinions that the church requires this confession.
Rebecca and Jared understand well the importance of vocation to ministry. I am going to relate an event that most of you probably do not know about. Before Naomi was born, Jared and Rebecca invited some special friends to their home to help them assess whether they indeed had a joint vocation to ordained ministry. I was invited along with my wife Jennie. Our friend and faculty member Martha Giltinan was there. Rebecca’s parents and her youngest sister were there along with two fellow students, Noel and Greg Pfeiffer-Collins. We talked, we prayed, and Martha in particular laid hands on Rebecca and prayed for her unborn child, whose name we did not yet know would be Naomi. I am sure that night meant a lot to Rebecca and Jared, but it also meant a lot to me that they placed such trust in us. I truly wish that our dear friend Martha could be here to see the fruition of that evening, but her namesake is here, in Jared and Rebecca’s youngest daughter, named after Martha.
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How we develop and prepare some of those who have wide responsibilities in leadership is both demanding and potentially prophetic as regards the world around. Our interest is in discerning and developing God's gifts and graces in his people. Let me just say, given a couple of the questions that came up last night: that we're committed to nurturing vocation across the whole of God's people, regardless of sexuality and regardless of whether lay or ordained.
The FAOC report shows that leadership needs preparation: in prayer, in theology, in skills of every day matters, in collaborative working, in interpreting the times, in safeguarding, in how to ensure that what the church discerns as necessary, the church does. We must have a system that is pastorally sensitive for those being formed, self-consciously inclusive of all those we too easily exclude, and ensures that those being considered for appointment in posts of wide responsibility are from all areas of the church, and are diverse especially in the areas of major weakness: BAME people and gender balance, disability and others. Our theology and practice must challenge inherited or widely accepted bad models through prayer and also theological thinking.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Ecclesiology Theology: Scripture
Emanuel AME Church already was among South Carolina’s most well-known churches long before someone entered the ground floor and shot its pastor and eight others to death during a June 17 Bible study.
But the unspeakable crime —one that led to an outpouring of support and unity from across the nation — has changed the church in ways that are still playing out.
In coming months, the church’s leaders, members and supporters are expected to discuss not only how to memorialize the nine victims on the site but also what repair work is needed. They’ll need to decide how to conduct the repairs to the sanctuary and ground floor, where the crime occurred, while also tending to the spiritual needs of the church.
“Our focus is — as it has been since June 17 — to make sure those families and their concerns, their immediate needs — monetary, spiritual and emotional — are met,” said the Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff, Emanuel’s interim pastor.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Race/Race Relations Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Violence * South Carolina * Theology
The free tickets were for the festival this Saturday in Central Park featuring Luis Palau, one of the world’s leading evangelical Christian figures, whose event is expected to draw 60,000 people to the Great Lawn. For months it has been promoted not only in churches, but also on billboards, on the radio and in the subways, and it promises to be the largest evangelical Christian gathering in New York since the Rev. Billy Graham led a crusade in Queens 10 years ago.
The size of the festival belies the city’s secular reputation and speaks to the vibrant evangelical movement in New York. The phenomenon is driven largely by immigrant-led churches that have proliferated in the boroughs outside Manhattan.
Nearly 900 of the 1,700 churches participating in the festival are Hispanic, organizers said. Latino leaders were the ones two years ago to invite Mr. Palau, an endearing, white-haired bilingual immigrant from Argentina who has built a reputation as the Hispanic Billy Graham, but African-American and Korean-American church leaders quickly got involved in the planning.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Christology Soteriology
Where do we find the antidote to fear? Where do we find the capacity to be prophets of grace and hope, joyful, fervent and clear against injustice in a world of martyrdom and torture, or of inequality and greed? Even in the days of William Temple, his call to a different model of life was ignored, mocked and opposed by the government of the time, when he brought before them the needs of the poor. The language of opposition was the same as today.
Few of us like criticising; we know that, thank God, we have much to praise in our society, much for which to give thanks, under governments of all colours now and for years past. Yet, under this and every government the church is constantly called to a loving critique of the secular powers.
Temple asked what right has the church to speak? So how do we keep our nerve, and find the way to overcome our fears and inhibitions, in love but also with passion for the poor, for the environment, for justice, for the lost, how do we obey the Spirit who sent Amos and John the Baptist?
The answer is found in that great reading of the hymn of the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics
Read it all (page 12).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * South Carolina * Theology Christology Soteriology
Yesterday, Felix, a special touch was felt by you as a number of us surrounded you and placed our hands on your head. If you have a recollection of someone pressing your ear, that was me! That moment of ordination was not a kind of mysterious masonic initiation ceremony but an incorporation in an apostolic calling that, wonderfully, takes us back to the very times of the Lord.
Just over fifty years ago, the great Austin Farrer, surely one of the greatest Anglican theologians of the 20th century, preached at the Ordination of a priest and used these words:
‘Here before you is a new made priest; and what does he do? What place does he hold in the mighty purposes of God? The answer is before you. He is not special in himself, he is special because the sacraments are special. Apples don’t drop from the sky, they grow on apple trees. And sacraments don’t hurtle down here, they grow on the great planting tree of the Apostles’ ministry; the tree planted by Christ when he called twelve men and made them his ambassadors; a tree which has grown and spread and thrown its arms out through history. So, a priest is a living stem, bearing sacraments as its fruit, to give you the body and blood of Christ. And that’s not all, the man who bears the sacrament is sacramental himself. He is, one might almost say, a walking sacrament’.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Sacramental Theology
If humanity wants some quick wins, a good place to start would be road accidents. Traffic killed 1.24 million people in 2010, says the World Health Organisation. That’s about double the toll of homicides and armed conflict combined. Yet we could save many of these lives quite easily. Our failure to do so is in part a simple failure of imagination.
“Road traffic injuries have been neglected from the global health agenda . . . despite being predictable and largely preventable,” says the WHO. Car crashes aren’t considered news precisely because they are routine, remarks the Dutch writer Joris Luyendijk. He says that although road accidents are “the biggest bloodbath in the Arab world”, media instead focus on the much smaller bloodbath of terrorism.
Terrorists killed nearly 18,000 people worldwide in 2013, says the Institute for Economics and Peace. That’s 1.5 per cent of the number killed by traffic. Of course, terrorism might one day escalate to apocalyptic proportions, but then pundits have been predicting that since 2001. Meanwhile, with ever more cars sold, roads will soon probably kill more people than either Aids or tuberculosis.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Globalization Travel * Economics, Politics Politics in General Terrorism * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Every Sunday my regular front row at church is filled with little girls (and Sawyer). I’m not really sure why these sweet little gals like sitting on the front row during worship, but I’m glad they do. They all bring their little notebooks and pens, and they draw during the sermon.
No one is playing on iPads or cell phones. No one is sleeping. No one is eating or drinking. There isn’t a single entertaining thing happening (except for my husband’s brilliant and lively sermons), but still they come to me week after week and sit there.
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The nation’s capital could be on track to join those U.S. jurisdictions where terminally ill patients can legally seek to end their lives with medication prescribed by physicians.
D.C. lawmakers on Friday held a hearing on the Death With Dignity Act of 2015, which would authorize doctors to prescribe lethal medication to patients who have been given six months or less to live and wish to die on their own terms.
The bill, introduced by D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), is modeled on the assisted-suicide law in Oregon, where more than 850 terminally ill patients have taken their lives in the 18 years since the statute was passed.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family * Economics, Politics Politics in General City Government * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Church leaders, trade unionists, and politicians have expressed concern over government plans to relax the Sunday-trading laws.
Currently, large stores can open for up to six hours on Sundays, but the Chancellor, George Osborne, used his Budget speech on Wednesday afternoon to announce his plans to devolve responsibility for Sunday-trading laws to directly elected mayors and local authorities.
The move has come in for sharp criticism. The Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham tweeted: “Sundays are only day people who work in shops can bank on some time with their kids. I will oppose this all the way.”
The leader of the shop workers’ union USDAW, John Hannett, said that the Government should “honour the promise of a full consultation and parliamentary process for any proposed changes to the Sunday Trading Act....'
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
When Bishop William White of Philadelphia became a bishop in 1787, he was No. 2 in the Episcopal Church's chain of apostolic succession.
When Bishop V. Gene Robinson was consecrated in 2003 -- the first openly gay, noncelibate Episcopal bishop -- he was No. 993. This fact was more than a trivia-game answer during a recent sermon that represented a triumphant moment both for Robinson and his church's liberal establishment.
Standing on White's grave before the altar of historic Christ Church, the former New Hampshire bishop quipped that he did "feel a little rumble" when he referenced the recent Episcopal votes to approve same-sex marriage rites. But Robinson was convinced White was not rolling over in his grave.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch History Marriage & Family Psychology Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
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