Posted by Kendall Harmon

The evangelical Church in Europe is on the precipice. Christianity is thriving in Asia and Africa – with new churches popping up all the time – but in Europe it's decline and more decline. Evangelicals make up just 2.5 per cent of our continent's population. Projections suggest that UK Christianity will be wiped out by 2067. Has the Church, the hope of the world – and of Europe – lost its own hope?

While the media paints an ugly picture, there's another story waiting to be told. It's bubbling out of churches helping Syrian refugees along the Greek coast. It's in the hands of Moldova's Baptist community. It's on the lips of the French woman whose life has been transformed by Jesus' love. Perhaps we've been thinking about the Church in Europe all wrong – we've been seeing numbers instead of people, we've been looking in empty churches rather than at the open hearts on our streets. When we focus on the tomb, we miss the resurrection. There is hope – the Church in Europe is alive.

Yes, it's numerically smaller than it was a generation ago, and we should do something about that. But, equally, the social pressure to go to church in many European countries has gone – so, arguably, the people left in our churches actually believe that Jesus is the saviour of the world. This is what Teun van der Leer, Rector of the Dutch Baptist Seminary, is seeing in the Netherlands. He suggests the fact that some of us still go to church even though we don't have to has left those outside curious about the Christian faith.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A 100-year-old church in Porirua is scheduled to be sold and removed, but its angry congregation will fight to the last to ensure its survival.

The blink-and-you-miss-it St Philip's Church, opposite Paremata School, is a well-used and welcome haven to its 27 members.

That's why they were shocked when a parish review, carried out by the Anglican Diocese this year, recommended St Philip's be sold.

Read it all from Stuff.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

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Posted August 29, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang have banned all forms of religious activity in hospitals in an ongoing crackdown targeting the region's burgeoning Protestant Christian community.

A public notice posted at the Central Hospital in Zhejiang's Wenzhou, a city that has been dubbed "China's Jerusalem" because of its high concentration of Christians, made patients and their visitors unequivocally aware of the new rules this week.

"Religious activities are banned in this hospital," the notice said. The Wenzhou Central Hospital was originally set up as a Protestant hospital.

An employee who answered the phone at the same hospital...confirmed the new measures.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina

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Posted August 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

People from all faiths, backgrounds and traditions have come together today as a show of solidarity at a multifaith service at the Anglican Parish of Gosford.

The service was led by Central Coast Anglican Archdeacon Rod Bower and also featured the Islamic Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, local Buddhist leader Gen Kelsang Dawa and Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson.

It was organised as a response to the protest by a group of right-wing extremists from the Party of Freedom who posed as Muslims and stormed a sermon by Gosford Anglican priest Father Bower recently.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* Theology

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Posted August 28, 2016 at 1:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 18-year-old assailant left a bench and ran toward the priest at the altar, but a bomb in his backpack only burned without exploding, said national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar.

Before he was restrained by members of the congregation, the man managed to take an ax from the backpack and attacked the Rev. Albert Pandiangan, causing a slight injury to the 60-year-old priest’s hand, Mr. Amar said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndonesia* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The need for “new leadership, new vision and ideas” are reasons behind Archbishop William Brown Turei’s decision to retire after 65 years as a priest.

Archbishop Turei has announced he will resign as Bishop (pihopa) of Tairawhiti at the end of this year and as Bishop of Aotearoa — leader of the Maori arm of the Anglican Church — from the end of March in 2017. He has planned his resignation in two stages “to allow Tairawhiti and Waipounamu to elect new bishops and have full representation in place before the election for a new Bishop of Aotearoa is convened”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A hired mob attempted to lynch the archbishop and bishops of the Church of Uganda on Tuesday, but were foiled when police arrived and drove off the attackers. On 23 August 2016 the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of Uganda and 34 members of the House of Bishops were inspecting a parcel of church owned land in Ntawo in the Mukono District when the attack occurred.

Sources in the Church of Uganda, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the bishops, reported that at the House of Bishops’ Meeting held before the start of the 23rd Provincial Synod the bishops discussed a ten-year development plan for the church. One of the issues under discussion was the status of a one square mile parcel of land donated to the church in 1940.

Held by the church in trust for Uganda Christian University, a portion of the land has been leased to the government’s National Agricultural Research Organization, with the bulk of the land remaining undeveloped. Under former Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Noll, the university proposed building a commercial housing estate on the site to provide income for the church as well as an agricultural research station for the university.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaUganda* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The charity Us is to return to its previous name USPG following an in-depth review of the current brand.

Back in 2012, the mission agency moved away from its long standing name of USPG (United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel) to move into a new era of its work.

However a number of supporters were unhappy at the face the word 'gospel' had been removed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There’s been a lot of negative campaign language about Islam this election season—calls for banning Muslims from entering the US and for patrolling Muslim neighborhoods. But there are also serious attempts to oppose anti-Muslims rhetoric. Correspondent Kim Lawton reports on efforts in Nashville, Tennessee to counter hateful speech by building personal relationships between Christians and Muslims. She talks with Rev. Josh Graves, pastor of an evangelical megachurch and author of How Not to Kill a Muslim: A Manifesto of Hope for Christianity and Islam in North America, along with Muslim community leaders who are participating in the bridge-building efforts.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted August 27, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Convicts in British prisons who preach terrorism and extreme ideology to fellow inmates will be held in high-security “specialist units,” the government announced on Monday, amid efforts to crack down on Islamic radicalization in jails.

The announcement reflects an emerging trend in Europe to isolate terrorism convicts and influential extremists from the rest of the prison population. Prisons are often regarded as potential breeding grounds for would-be terrorists, particularly for young offenders serving sentences for crimes unrelated to terrorism but who nonetheless fall under the spell of older, charismatic inmates.

Last week, Anjem Choudary, one of Britain’s best-known Islamist activists, was found guilty of inviting support for the Islamic State. He could face a lengthy prison term.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPrison/Prison MinistryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 26, 2016 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Let's turn this around for the ESPN crew: OK, when you look at Christian McCaffrey, who and what do YOU see? What about his name? What about those high-school videos with him playing at Valor High Christian school near Denver? What about his active, outspoken Christian parents, including his NFL pro dad? Might these factors play a role in this in-depth story probing the mystery that is McCaffrey?

Apparently not. Here is a sample of the content in this totally faith-free ESPN report on this young Christian named Christian. This scene is set on an airplane:
The intensity of this kid! There's an immersion and stillness and deep rhythmic groove he achieves as he traces with his right index finger the motions plotted out for him and his teammates while also quietly incanting their mnemonic tethers. White. Sixty. Ox. Robin. One row over, one of McCaffrey's teammates, smirking, unburdens himself. It's silent but deadly – a weaponized, wet-velvet, all-but-visible wave of flatulence that warps the air of the cabin. I exclaim Save us from Satan while pulling my shirt collar over my nose and mouth. Others around me do the same (more or less). But not McCaffrey. No, McCaffrey is in his bubble, impervious, tracing, incanting, learning, maintaining his rhythm: After "finishing" a given play, he moves on, then returns exactly five minutes later to test his retention.
It's not the intensity that I'm loath to disturb but the earnestness. It somehow seems of a piece with his regard for the flight attendant making the safety announcement, quietly touching in the same way. I table my voice recorder for the moment and open a notebook. Perhaps because McCaffrey happens to be a pretty good self-taught pop-song pianist (again, see YouTube), I scribble this mincing fancy: Like a conservatory piano student working his way through a Chopin ?tude. The instant I do, though, another, even less appetizing, phrase bubbles up to consciousness. That phrase.
He's a student of the game. You know it well. We all do, and what it's code for: He's white.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

1 Comments
Posted August 26, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Preparing to marry at the Church of Our Lady, the Lutheran cathedral in Copenhagen, this month, Nigel Rowley had felt nervous that its vast space would feel a little empty. When the doors opened, he saw the pews full of people, including many from his church, St Alban’s, there to support him and Mikel Lindbæk, who is now his husband. He felt “ecstatic”, he said this week.

Having attended St Alban’s, the Anglican Church in Copenhagen, for 30 years, he decided to get married in the Church of Denmark, where gay marriages have been solemnised since 2012. A member of both the deanery and diocesan synods, he felt that it was “very important” that he marry in church, “not just a blessing, but . . . the full works”. The service was conducted by the Bishop of Copenhagen, the Rt Revd Peter Skov-Jakobsen, and the choir of St Alban’s sang alongside the cathedral singers.

There is “no doubt” in Mr Rowley’s mind that the Church of England should permit same-sex marriage in its churches.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Laity* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEuropeDenmark* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture


Posted August 26, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Reading Brave New World can be a peculiar experience, as one is alternatively struck by amusingly quaint and alarmingly timely elements. Although the work has aged surprisingly well for futurological fiction, it’s nonetheless a product of its age. Despite Huxley’s prescience and perceptiveness, his vision was largely a projection from and escalation of the emerging dynamics of his age of mass production, mass consumption, and mass society.

These dynamics have been superseded, or at least greatly complicated, by many subsequent developments. In a post-Fordist economy and a digital age of personalized devices, mass society is no longer as straightforward as it once seemed. Far from being perceived as a threat, for instance, individuality is now deeply assimilated into our economic system, as we’re encouraged to differentiate, identify, and align ourselves through our chosen forms of consumption. The fact we’re all caught up in the same system is less obvious when we all wear bespoke chains we’ve chosen for ourselves.

In fact, from our contemporary vantage point, a number of elements of Huxley’s vision seem far too conservative. Writing before the advent of modern genetics, Huxley couldn’t easily have imagined the direct genetic engineering of human beings now on our horizon and the degree of mastery over human nature this offers. Nor does he seem to have anticipated the form of sexuality in our age—the promiscuous sex in Brave New World is all heterosexual. Further, despite existing within a World State, the England providing the backdrop to Huxley’s narrative seems surprisingly provincial at points: Radical globalization had seemingly had limited effect.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistory* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEschatology

1 Comments
Posted August 26, 2016 at 6:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Born in Louisiana, Mrs. Janu grew up in a predominantly white suburb in upstate New York, joined a white sorority in college and married a white detective. Yet these days, she fears that racism and bias might be “hard-wired” into society and wonders how that might affect her family.

She worries as her husband holsters his Glock 22, kisses her goodbye and heads out the door to pursue gun runners and violent criminals in this predominantly black city. Will he be a target now on the street?

She worries as she has adjusted to the rhythms of round-the-clock feedings and diaper changes. What dangers might Wesley face as a teenager at the hands of the police?

And then there is the racial divide that runs right through her living room, the issues that occasionally create a rift between husband and wife. Mrs. Janu, 31, is a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, for instance, while Mr. Janu, 42, argues that some of its activists “do more harm than good” and spew “a lot of hate” toward the police.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMarriage & FamilyUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted August 25, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The retired Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya and former GAFCON Chairman, together with leaders of All Africa Conference of Churches to South Sudan has urged the political leaders of South Sudan to preserve lives of citizens instead of struggling for power and wealth in the country.

The five member delegation of religious leaders from All Africa Conference of Churches led by Retired Archbishop of Kenya, Eliud Wabukala comprised of Rev. Dr. Jesse Macharia Kamau, Rev. Dr. Lydia Mwaniki, Ms. Afiwa Allahare and Mr. Daniel Wang’ombe Kiriethe have come to encourage Christians and Christian leaders in South Sudan to pray and work towards peace in the region.

Speaking exclusively to Juba Monitor after prayers for peace in South Sudan at All Saints Cathedral Mobil, Archbishop Eliud Wabukala said leaders of South Sudan should not give up engaging each other as they face challenges of nation building in South Sudan.

“What they are going through is part of nation building and therefore they should not give up even in sharing and engaging each other,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of KenyaGlobal South Churches & Primates* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan

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Posted August 25, 2016 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About half of U.S. adults have looked for a new religious congregation at some point in their lives, most commonly because they have moved. And when they search for a new house of worship, a new Pew Research Center study shows, Americans look first and foremost for a place where they like the preaching and the tone set by the congregation’s leaders.

Fully 83% of Americans who have looked for a new place of worship say the quality of preaching played an important role in their choice of congregation. Nearly as many say it was important to feel welcomed by clergy and lay leaders, and about three-quarters say the style of worship services influenced their decision about which congregation to join. Location also factored prominently in many people’s choice of congregation, with seven-in-ten saying it was an important factor. Smaller numbers cite the quality of children’s programs, having friends or family in the congregation or the availability of volunteering opportunities as key to their decision.

Perhaps as a result of the value they place on good sermons, church leadership and the style of worship services, many people – even in this age of technology – find there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction when seeking information about a new religious home.

Read it carefully and read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the OrdainedPastoral CarePreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Theology

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Posted August 25, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who didst call thy servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance

0 Comments
Posted August 25, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has outlined the priorities he'd like to see youth workers make in the UK going forward.

Justin Welby has written a special editorial for Premier Youthwork magazine as the magazine marks its 25 anniversary.

In it he describes himself as "no expert in Christian youth work" but says he'd love to see young people becoming disciples of Jesus, witnesses to Jesus and servants of the kingdom.

Read it all and follow to the bottom for the editorial.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryYouth Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 24, 2016 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When a bomb threat targeted the Thier Galerie shopping mall in Dortmund in July, police rushed to the scene and asked to scour closed-circuit camera recordings.

There wasn’t much footage to go through. An attempt by the mall operator to ramp up video surveillance last fall had been vetoed by local authorities who feared an assault on patrons’ privacy.

“You can’t just say you want to have more cameras,” said Heike Marzen, the mall’s manager. “There are certain laws we have to follow.”

Branded by its dictatorial past, when surveillance was both dreaded and commonplace, Germany has some of the world’s toughest privacy laws. But after two attacks claimed by Islamic State and a mass shooting this summer, the government is pushing to recalibrate the balance between security and anonymity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 24, 2016 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Quoted in the ACNS story is Della Wager Wells, identified as an “Anglican Alliance intern” working with the local diocesan development office “to explore the incorporation of Church Community Mobilization/Umoja approaches to development”.

Wells, a corporate lawyer with the Alston & Bird law firm, is a first-year student at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, where her husband serves in the administration. The attorney has deep roots in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta and serves as lead legal counsel and board member of the Compass Rose Society. The society raises funds for the ministries of the ACC, designates contributions for mission projects approved by the secretary general (Idowu-Fearon) and builds “a community of Anglicans that enthusiastically supports the mission and ministry of the archbishop and the ACC”.

Among the Compass Rose Society’s mission partners are dioceses in West Africa (Ghana), Southern Malawi, Jerusalem, Southern Africa (Highveld), Mexico and Brazil – jurisdictions in close relationship with the Episcopal Church. The Compass Rose Society supports Continuing Indaba, a program pairing Episcopal dioceses from the United States with those in the Global South “to wrestle with differences concerning issues such as human sexuality and theological interpretation”. The program has been criticized by the American Anglican Council and other traditionalist groups as a promotion of revisionist views that conflict with a mainstream Christian view of marriage and sexuality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican ProvincesChurch of NigeriaEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* International News & CommentaryAfrica* Theology

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Posted August 24, 2016 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the United States, diversity has generally been considered an asset. It is frequently cited by public figures as both a source of national pride and a worthy ambition. It is an oft-stated goal of Fortune 500 companies, private colleges and entire sectors of the U.S. economy. And even if Americans don’t claim much diversity in their own social networks, few believe that our differences are not something to be celebrated. At one point it was even argued that America’s religious vitality hinged on its diversity — greater competition between places of worship would contribute to a more vibrant religious culture. However, new evidence suggests that religious pluralism could work in the opposite direction — undermining the vitality of America’s religious communities.

This is not a new debate, but it’s more relevant than ever. The American religious landscape is transforming rapidly. At one time, religious diversity meant: Baptist, Methodist and Episcopalian. Today, it encompasses a multiplicity of religious traditions such as Sikhism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism, as well as an increasing variety of noninstitutional belief systems such as humanism, skepticism, atheism and subjective spirituality. Racial and ethnic shifts have also changed the face of Christianity. The U.S. was once a predominantly white Christian country, but fewer than half of Americans (45 percent) identify as white Christian today.

We don’t know for sure that America’s religious pluralism is causing a drop in religious vitality — there are reasons to think the two might simply be related — but there are a number of different ways diversity might erode commitment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* Theology

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Posted August 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A group of gay Church of England clergy are set to reveal that they have married their partners, defying the official line taken by church leaders on same-sex marriage.

A dozen gay ministers are to sign an open letter that also urges the church to allow clergy to carry out blessings for parishioners entering into same-sex marriages.

Half the signatories have already declared themselves to be in a gay marriage, including Andrew Foreshew-Cain, who was one of the first priests to openly defy the ruling.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted August 23, 2016 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Justin Trudeau came to power in Canada, he promised to repair the country's relationship with its Aboriginal people, after centuries of discrimination. A disproportionate number of indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in recent decades, and suicide attempts have risen dramatically in some communities, writes Stephen Sackur.
Attawapiskat is hard to reach. Generations of Canadian politicians have never lent it a thought, still less a visit. But this ramshackle Aboriginal settlement south of Hudson Bay has been making national news over the past year for the grimmest of reasons.
Last October a 13-year-old girl, Sheridan Hookimaw, headed to the rubbish dump and hanged herself. Since then more than 100 of Attawapiskat's 2,000 First Nation people, most of them teenagers, but one just 11 years old, have attempted suicide.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologySuicideTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 23, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Elsa Moluf, 26, an Ada graduate, said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, still resonated when she thought about personal safety — a feeling compounded recently by a shooting on a Seattle street in broad daylight only a few feet from her. “In the era of terrorism, I think about stuff like, ‘If I go to this crowded festival, what are the chances,’ ” she said.

Baby boomers, to whom millennials are often compared — if only by the force of their numbers — also reached adulthood amid tumult and angst, during the Vietnam War and the struggle for civil rights. But people now in their 20s and 30s say that the 1960s were different, that there seemed to be a clearer goal then — to end racial segregation, poverty or the war. The economy seemed better and the nation’s future more assured.

Now, from niche anxieties like genetically modified crops to defining ones like climate change, questions feel open-ended and unprecedented: Is the food we eat still food? How do you get your head around a threat to the entire planet?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The rate of suicide among young Indigenous men is the highest in the world, according to a new report highlighting the challenges facing young Australians.

The first ever Australian Youth Development Index (YDI) was compiled as part of International Youth Day.

The index helps formulate youth development policy in the domains of education, health and wellbeing, employment as well as political and civic participation, measured across 16 key indicators.

It rates a state or territory's performance with a score between zero and one, with one being a perfect score.

Among the reports findings were alarming statistics on youth suicide, which showed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men between 25 and 29 had the highest suicide rates in the entire world...

Read it all

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ

0 Comments
Posted August 12, 2016 at 8:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even when the dead bodies Zachary Smeltz lifts for a living are hefty, he makes sure to handle even the burliest corpse in a gentle manner, masking any exertion. “Treat every case like that’s your mom that you’re transferring,” is the motto Mr. Smeltz imparts on the staff of the mortuary transport business he owns that sends him all over New Jersey and Pennsylvania and to other locales, picking up bodies.

Mr. Smeltz is part of an unusual niche in the labor market: He is among a proliferating group of independent entrepreneurs capitalizing on the need to collect the dead from houses, hospitals, morgues and accident scenes. It is a little-known link in the chain of death-to-final-resting-place that is growing as places like funeral homes and hospices as well as governments cut their budgets and increasingly outsource the transport of the dead.

A class-action suit unfolding in California has opened a window onto this often lightly regulated industry: Charons of the highway, who shuttle corpses from one place to another. While in some places, like New York, such work must be carried out under the auspices of licensed funeral directors, in others, like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, private contractors without any special permits may pick up bodies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchTravel* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 10, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’m meeting more millennials who embrace the mentality expressed in the book “The Abundant Community,” by John McKnight and Peter Block. The authors are notably hostile to consumerism.

They are anti-institutional and anti-systems. “Our institutions can offer only service — not care — for care is the freely given commitment from the heart of one to another,” they write.

Millennials are oriented around neighborhood hospitality, rather than national identity or the borderless digital world. “A neighborhood is the place where you live and sleep.” How many of your physical neighbors know your name?

Maybe we’re on the cusp of some great cracking. Instead of just paying lip service to community while living for autonomy, I get the sense a lot of people are actually about to make the break and immerse themselves in demanding local community movements. It wouldn’t surprise me if the big change in the coming decades were this: an end to the apotheosis of freedom; more people making the modern equivalent of the Native American leap.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted August 9, 2016 at 3:46 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Soldiers and protesters clashed in an Anglican church in Nigeria on July 28, leaving five people hospitalized, two of whom are in serious condition.

The violent clash happened at St. John's Anglican Church in Amukpe in Southern Nigeria's Edo State in the Niger Delta. Protesters sieged the church, calling for the resignation of Rt. Rev. Blessing Erifeta, the Bishop of Sapele. Soldiers previously guarding an oil pipeline were called on by the vicar of the church to instill order as bishops had started a synod inside the church.

Protesters surrounded the church, waving their placards and even prevented some delegates to enter the church and taking part of the synod. The soldiers arrived and violently disrupted the protest; four women and one minor were hospitalized in the process.

The protesters were calling on for Archbishop Nicholas Okoh to force Bishop Erifeta to resign. They claimed that the bishop is guilty of "financial recklessness, maladmin­istration, disrespect to elders and embark[ing] on incessant trips abroad with the diocese funds."

Read it all from Christian Daily.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria

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Posted August 7, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is more than 130 years since Nietzsche declared that “God is dead”, and forecasts of the demise of organised religion in the UK and elsewhere have been a regular fixture ever since.

But new figures from Britain’s longest-running and most important barometer of general public opinion suggest that reports of the imminent death of Christianity at least may have been greatly exaggerated.

As-yet unpublished findings from this year’s British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA), seen by the Sunday Telegraph, show decades of decline in religious affiliation appearing to level off.

The overall proportion of Britons who described themselves as Christian actually rose one percentage point in the last year from 42 per cent to 43 per cent.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 7, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How did you keep the meeting safe and secure?

That was difficult. A lot of prayer. The meeting started out really tense because those individuals had never really been in a room together. They were seeing each other as enemies. It’s hard to have a one-to-one sit-down, but to have 50-50 sit down and talk was even more difficult.

But I opened in prayers and set the ground rules and kept everyone accountable; that’s how I was able to stay in control of the meeting and communicate on a level that was not intimidating or threatening.

You knew many of the people in the room already?

A lot of the guys in that room, I know them personally. I know their families. I have ministered to many of their families in times of shootings and gun violence. I built relationships and rapport with a lot of people in that room. It isn’t something that happened overnight, but it has been in process for some time now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Guerrilla activity stopped the missionary work among the Yukpa for more than three decades. But since the early 2000s, several Colombian believers have re-established contact with the tribe and discovered a number of strong believers. They built two schools and a church, and work is proceeding again on a Yukpa Bible.

The events of Aug. 3, 1966, were a defining moment in my life. I was certain we would be killed in those awful moments, yet I joyfully looked forward to seeing the face of Jesus. When it didn’t happen, it gave me a larger purpose in life—to live for Him. The next year, I chose as my “life verse” Paul’s words in Philippians 1:21: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Ernest’s legacy is one of a faithful servant. He selflessly served others his entire life. Yet the Yukpa were closest to his heart. Three times he ventured out to live among them; and in the end, he gave his life for them. The “Daily Light,” a classic devotional book from which we read at his gravesite, had this Scripture from Revelation 2:10 for Aug. 3: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyTeens / Youth* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaColombia* Theology

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Posted August 5, 2016 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When it comes to raising money through enterprise, Chris Henderson has one word of advice for the Anglican Church of Canada: think of projects or partners that will be in line with your values—otherwise, it won’t work.

“You’ve got to be true to mission,” he says. “Not being true to mission means you’re almost writing a cheque for failure.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryCanada

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Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Culture-WatchMedia* General InterestHumor / TriviaWeather* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches in the UK are setting an example of how to combat hate crimes and racist abuse within their communities, after the divisive EU referendum vote.

The Community and Urban Affairs division of the Church of England highlighted some of these programmes in a new document, Hate-busters and Neighbour-lovers, published last week.

It lists statements, hashtags, welcome events, training, and worship as examples of ways in which dioceses across the country are promoting inclusion, and tackling racism in their communities.

The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, wrote in an open letter in June that, despite “some deep divisions to emerge in our nation” since the UK voted to leave the EU, the diocese would be “keeping the values of welcome, inclusion, and international friendship at the heart of our communities”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 5, 2016 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Church, which comprises about 71,500 worshippers, will hold a series of emergency meetings in light of reports of a threat being issued to Christians by a Trinidad and Tobago national sympathetic to socalled Islamic State. Bishop Claude Berkley yesterday told Newsday upcoming statutory meetings of the church, which had been due for the second week of September, will be brought forward in order to treat with the security issues that have arisen in the wake of publication of the claims made in an ISIS propaganda publication which features Shane Crawford calling on supporters to destroy “Christian disbelievers”. The details of the meetings will be finalised in coming days, Berkley said.

Crawford, who was detained during the 2011 State of Emergency, also appears to confirm that former prime minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar was a target, saying it would have been “an honour” to attempt an assassination. However he denies his group held that objective but, instead, opted to kill others.

The Bishop yesterday said there was a need for an “intense and serious discussion” on the rapidly changing security landscape.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesWest Indies* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentarySouth America* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* Theology

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 5:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Married couples now make up fewer than half the population, according to an official report on family living yesterday.

In a turning point in the fall of the traditional family, it said that only 48.1 per cent of people aged over 16 were married and living as a couple last year, and that many of those who would once have been married now live together as cohabitees.

The estimates that mean married couples are now a minority also showed that nearly one in 10 people who have shunned marriage now live together as cohabitees.

They also found that the 'boomerang generation' of young people who live with their parents because they cannot afford their own home has contributed to a steady rise in numbers who do not live in a partnership.

Read it all from the long list of should-have-already-been-posted material.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySociology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of York has told Premier that Robert Mugabe must leave power.

Dr John Sentamu has said the country has "become rubble" during his leadership.

The 92-year-old president has been in power since 1980.

John Sentamu was speaking as around five million people in Zimbabwe are in need of assistance as a result of the ongoing drought in southern Africa.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaZimbabwe* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In early August 2015 one of Porritt’s junior colleagues (who asked for his name to be withheld) was looking at CCTV images from the borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where he had worked as a beat cop. The officer noticed the same, smartly dressed thief – the man the team later nicknamed McNulty – in two stills taken in upmarket shops. Snap. Then another, and another – snap, snap. As he broadened his search to other affluent boroughs of London, the officer kept seeing the same face. He printed out the images of the serial shoplifter and tacked them to a wall in the office. He told me: “When I had 13 or 14 crimes, I said to Eliot, ‘There’s £35,000 worth of goods stolen by this guy. We need to do something.’”

They downloaded the CCTV clips from where the stills had been taken. McNulty’s hands were so fast that in some cases the officers had to slow the footage down to ascertain exactly when the theft had occurred.

“I hate using the words ‘talented’ or ‘good’ for a criminal, when they could be so many better things, like a street magician or a dextrous watchmaker,” said Porritt. “But when we watched him [McNulty], it was like: ‘That’s good.’”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A police officer with the Washington transit system has become the first American law enforcement officer to be charged with supporting the Islamic State, accused of trying to send financial help to the group after advising a friend on how to travel to Syria to join it.

In court papers filed on Tuesday and made public on Wednesday, federal law enforcement officials charged the officer, Nicholas Young, with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

The charge is based on the allegation that Mr. Young bought gift cards worth $245 and sent their code numbers to someone he believed had joined ISIS in Syria, to help the group pay for mobile phone messaging with its supporters in the West.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve probably downloaded a few apps, either games to waste some time or something a little more productive! There are apps for everything now, including a few that might be of use to your church. To save yourself sifting through the hundreds of thousands of apps on the market, I’ve selected a few for you which will help your church be creative, work together and save you time. All of them are work on both Apple and Android phones and are all free to use....

Slack is a fantastic tool for coordinating and collaborating as part of a team. The app (and the corresponding website) lets you have conversations on multiple topics with a particular group of people. For instance, as a church team you could have a conversation about planning for Christmas or ongoing building works. By having it all in one place, all those that need to know, can be in the know, ideas can be suggested to the group, links to resources can be shared and plans can be agreed (saving your inbox from email overload!) You can also send files to each other and more.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace told The Church of England Newspaper: “The Archbishop of Canterbury was pleased to meet Shaykh Naqib ur Rehman, a leading Sufi Muslim leader from Pakistan, at Lambeth Palace yesterday. The Archbishop received a first-hand account of the situation in Pakistan, which is a highly significant country for faith relationships in the UK.”

However, the son of Salmaan Taseer told the International Business Times he was perturbed by the news. Taseer, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban and held prisoner for four years said: “These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Banning resident Jim Bailey and his wife went in recently for their annual physicals. They came away with hundreds of dollars in charges for co-pays and tests.

Bailey, 78, told me that he feels duped.

“The Affordable Care Act dictates that all annual physicals be provided at no cost to the policyholders — no deductibles or co-pays,” he said. “But that wasn’t the case with us.”

Nor will it be the case with anyone else — even though many Americans believe otherwise.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebatePsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 4, 2016 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Islamic State said it appointed a new leader for Boko Haram, in a sign that the Nigerian Islamist insurgency is retooling under the command of the terrorist group.

Sheik Abu Mossab al Bornawi was recently assigned to take command of the Nigerian insurgency, Islamic State’s weekly newsletter Al Naba said Tuesday.

The article didn’t say what happened to Abubakar Shekau, the former face of Boko Haram, who hasn’t been seen in videos since early 2015. It also isn’t clear if Mr. Shekau’s followers support the change in management.

Boko Haram, whose war with Nigeria’s government has left more than 30,000 people dead, declared loyalty to Islamic State in 2015. Mr. Bornawi told al Naba that the two groups have decided “to fight and unite under one umbrella.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the 1995-96 academic school year, Princeton Theological Seminary has seen 30 percent fewer full-time enrolled students. Reformed Theological Seminary saw a 33 percent decrease to 547 full-time students while Candler School of Theology experienced a 39 percent drop to 414 full-time students.

There were a few positive changes. Since 1995-96, the evangelical Wesleyan-rooted Asbury Theological Seminary experienced a 50 percent increase in full-time student enrollment. “They are drawn to Asbury’s distinctives of a high regard for biblical authority and commitment to preparing women and men for evangelistic ministry,” wrote Dr. Tom Tumblin, Dean of the Asbury seminary Beeson International Center for Biblical Preaching and Leadership, in an article for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “Our faculty includes world-class scholars who have rich field experience and embrace God’s call to go, disciple, baptize and teach.”

Midwestern Theological Seminary sprung into the top ten largest seminaries with an inspiring 136 percent increase in full-time student enrollment since 1995. Similarly, evangelical Gordon-Conwell also moved up among the largest seminaries with a 57 percent increase in full-time students over the past two decades.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted August 3, 2016 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ansbach bomber was just the latest in a spate of German incidents in the past month. In Wuerzburg, a 17-year-old, who identified himself as an Afghan when he registered as a refugee, rampaged through a train with a knife and an axe, severely wounding several people and reportedly shouting “Allahu akbar.” In Munich, a German-Iranian teenager went on a shooting rampage, killing nine people and himself. In Reutlingen, a pregnant Polish woman was hacked to death by a 21-year-old Syrian refugee.

The Munich killer, who was obsessed with mass shootings, seems to have been more inspired by right-wing fascists than by radical Islam. Some of the attackers had a history of mental problems. But frightened citizens don’t really care about the details. What they see is young Muslim men on the rampage, and authorities who seem helpless and incompetent. The French are demanding to know why two known terror risks were on the loose. Germans want to know why criminals and failed refugee claimants aren’t being forcibly deported.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryCanadaEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 3, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s the indirect costs that are high; if anyone wonders why so many of our career politicians are cynics with deep contempt for the public they serve, years of fawning over dumb rich people, pretending to take their silly ideas seriously, assuring each of them that you aren’t like the other stupid rich people, no, you are special, you are smart, and our ten minutes a year friendship punctuated by check writing is deep and sincere—all this tends to corrode the soul. Having a political class who subsist on exploiting the character weaknesses and insatiable narcissism of dilettante plutocrats isn’t the best way to cultivate an ethos of responsibility and patriotism at the highest levels of government.

The fatheaded stupidity of rich liberals is the subtext of the hacked emails: how easily they are exploited, how gullible their vanity makes them, how pathetically eager they are for the hollow satisfaction of a seat next to the powerful. In one sense it’s refreshing: great wealth does not in fact make a nincompoop powerful. Also, it suggests that the real problem with our republic is that what should be our leadership elite is soul-sick: vain, restless, easily miffed, intellectually confused, jealous…

The sense that people like this—a mix of knaves and fools—are running both parties has a lot to do with the anger that fueled both the Sanders and the Trump campaigns. There’s a spiritual disease at work in this, and over time it has the ability to wreck not just individual souls, but our free institutions and the rule of law itself.

Read it all (my emphasis).

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinancePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology


Posted August 3, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He was the senior Newcastle cleric with a prominent role on the Anglican Church’s sexual abuse working group in 2003 that developed national professional standards.

But the 13th Anglican Dean of Newcastle, Graeme Lawrence, was also in a “gang of three” protecting a notorious Hunter paedophile priest, and led a Griffith group of offenders to the Hunter who were later defrocked after child sex allegations, the royal commission has heard.

Over the next two weeks the commission will hear evidence Mr Lawrence’s power and influence protected child sex offenders for several decades, but did not end with his defrocking in 2012.

“It is anticipated there will be evidence that Lawrence had, and continues to have, considerable influence in the diocese,” counsel assisting Naomi Sharp told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse sitting in Newcastle on Tuesday.

Read it all from the Newcastle Herald.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 3, 2016 at 5:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is the fastest growing religious group in Finland, growing by 20 per cent over the past year; the Suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd David Hamid, has said. But, writing on his Eurobishop blog, Bishop David explained that much of the growth is the result of the continuing arrivals of refugees – many of whom are Anglican – from Sudan and South Sudan.

“Aid agencies warn that the upsurge of fighting in South Sudan will see the humanitarian crisis affecting millions of civilians worsening, he said. “The Finnish government, working with the UN, continues to offer settlement to Sudanese [and] South Sudanese fleeing the violence and war.”

As a result of the new arrivals, the priest in charge of the White Nile Congregations in Finland, part of the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe, finds his work growing. “Our church is fully engaged in many parts of this Nordic country in providing care, a spiritual home and pastoral accompaniment to the new arrivals,” Bishop David said during a visit to Helsinki where he was confirmed a number of candidates at St Nicholas’ Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeFinland* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even with the U.S. launching airstrikes on an Islamic State stronghold in Libya, the battle to uproot the extremists from the oil-rich North African nation is expected to be long and difficult.

The U.S. began the attacks on Monday and struck again on Tuesday in support of a ground offensive to retake Sirte, a strategic port on the Mediterranean coast. But Islamic State is also entrenched in other pockets across the country, including parts of the eastern city of Benghazi, Libya’s second largest; Derna, another eastern city; and the western town of Sabratha, near the Tunisian border.

The competing militias and centers of power that have stoked Libya’s civil war complicate the fight against Islamic State. The chaos has given the group an opening to gain its first territorial foothold outside its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaLibya* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...as Mr. Rashid acknowledges, Muslims in the military face numerous challenges. For one, 15 years of war in Muslim countries has made serving in the military a cultural minefield. Among some non-Muslim soldiers, Islam itself is often seen as the problem, not extremism.

In interviews, Muslim soldiers said they had all encountered at one time or another what one called “knucklehead” comments equating them with terrorists. Things got worse after 13 people were killed at Fort Hood in 2009 by a Muslim Army psychiatrist who said America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were wars against all Muslims.

Other problems come from the cultural barriers, like a ban on facial hair, and dealing with military food that is often rife with pork, forbidden by Islam. Few bases have Muslim prayer services, and only five of the Army’s roughly 2,900 chaplains are imams.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

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Posted August 2, 2016 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Adebayo Dada Akinde, has condemned the proposed immunity for members of the National Assembly.

The bishop spoke yesterday while addressing newsmen in his office in Lagos on the 10th anniversary of his church and his retirement from active service on August 23, as he attains the age of 70.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Nigeria* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 2, 2016 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A devastating story of mass child rape perpetrated by an Anglican paedophile ring is unfolding in the latest hearing of Australia's Royal Commission into child sexual abuse.

The first day of the two-week sessions heard of the crimes perpetrated by Rev Peter Rushton, an Anglican priest who was Archdeacon of Maitland and who died in 2007.

His catalogue of child rape and abuse was finally exposed by an ABC investigation. He led a paedophile ring involving other clergy and lay people from the Newcastle diocese over as many as four decades.

Rushton's godson, Paul Gray, told how he was taken to St Alban's School for Boys in Hunter Valley. This was the 1960s, and boys would be anally and orally raped by groups of men in a locked room called the "f***ing room", according to Daily Mail Australia.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted August 2, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Should truth in adver­tising laws apply to religious claims? Should governments be in the business of defining authentic miracles? Which pastors are genuine, and which are fakes?

However fanciful such questions might seem, all these issues are very much alive in contemporary Africa. The Christian upsurge of the past half century has been marked by widespread claims of healing and miracles, often in the context of charismatic revivals and crusades. As in any such great awakening since apostolic times, a number of wild and bizarre claims have been made, and there is some evidence of active fraud. Every society has its own versions of Elmer Gan­try, people who use religious deception as a money-making tool. The question then arises of who is meant to regulate or suppress such outbreaks.

One early attempt oc­curred in Nigeria in 2004, when the National Broad­casting Commission tried to prohibit anyone from showing “unverifiable” miracle healings on television.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfrica* Religion News & CommentaryReligious Freedom / Persecution* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who didst raise up thy servant Samuel Ferguson and inspire in him a missionary vision of thy Church in education and ministry: Stir up in us through his example a zeal for a Church, alive with thy Holy Word, reaching forth in love and service to all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Province of West Africa* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAfricaLiberia* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted August 2, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is just the latest intervention by Christian figures in political debates on the matter. Jozef De Kesel, the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels in Belgium, which has the world’s most liberal assisted-dying laws, suggested in January that the country’s church-run hospitals should be allowed to opt out of helping patients end their lives. And in June Pope Francis said to a group of Spanish and Latin American doctors that “true compassion does not marginalise anyone, nor does it humiliate and exclude, much less considers the disappearance of a person as a good thing.” He cautioned against a “throwaway culture that rejects and dismisses those who do not comply with certain canons of health, beauty and utility.” Life is sacred, he added, and should shine “with greater splendour precisely in suffering and helplessness”.

Research shows that religious people are more likely than the non-religious to oppose assisted dying. But there is wide variation between faiths. A survey of Britons, carried out by YouGov in 2013, found that only three in ten Muslims felt the law should be changed to allow close friends and relatives to help people with incurable diseases take their own lives, should they wish to do so. Around half of Hindus and Sikhs surveyed agreed, and six in ten Catholics, Methodists, Baptists and Buddhists. Seven in ten Jews, and 77% of Anglicans, supported such a change in the law. For comparison, 85% of people who claimed no faith were in favour of legalising assisted dying.

Some Anglican leaders are starting to shift their positions. The general synod of the Anglican church in Canada, where doctor-assisted dying was recently legalised, has written guidance on the issue for its congregation. Though it does not go as far as to support doctor-assisted dying, it does not oppose its legalisation, either. “The societal and legal context within which the pastoral and prophetic ministry of the church takes place has shifted,” it notes.

Read it all (their title, it would never be mine).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanadaEuropeBelgium* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Another gay Anglican vicar has married his long-term male partner, defying the Church of England's ban on clergy entering same-sex marriages.

Rev Paul Collier has kept his position as priest of St Hugh's in the Diocese of Southwark after he converted his civil partnership to a marriage in early June with a celebratory service in London.

Collier admitted his marriage put him at odds with the House of Bishops, the body which issued guidance banning clergy from entering gay marriages. He told Christian Today that he had heard from his bishop, and said he had been dealt with "in accordance with the House of Bishops' pastoral statement on same-sex marriage".

He declined to elaborate but said: "My personal reading of the situation is I am unlikely to obtain any other positions within the Church of England." But he said he would continue to serve as a priest at his current church.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 1, 2016 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Same-sex marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships

On Friday, the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Amendment) Act 2016 came into force on the Isle of Man following its approval by Tynwald earlier this year. It will be remembered that homosexuality was only decriminalized in 1992 and official recognition for same-sex couples was not available until 2011, when civil partnerships were introduced. An important aspect of the new law is that it permits opposite-sex couples to enter civil partnerships and, even though it is not part of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man has become the first jurisdiction in the British Isles to offer such a choice to heterosexual couples.

We will watch with interest the response of the Diocese of Sodor and Man to these developments – perhaps this is something to be left for the in-tray of the next Lord Bishop, following the retirement of Robert Paterson on 11 November 2016?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted August 1, 2016 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Isle of Palms became the first town in South Carolina to ban plastic bags last year, and now Charleston and Folly Beach are looking to curb consumption of the single-use bags, possibly by banning them or imposing a fee at checkout counters.

In doing so they could bring the nationwide fight over plastic bags to South Carolina, which happens to be the headquarters of one of the largest packaging manufacturers in North America, a company leading the fight against such restrictions.

Folly Beach City Council is voting at its Aug. 9 meeting on whether to prevent the island’s merchants from distributing or selling plastic bags, and also Styrofoam coolers. Members of Charleston County and city of Charleston government, environmental groups and nonprofit organizations have joined forces on an online survey to gauge how the public feels about measures to curb plastic bag use.

Read it all from the local paper.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in GeneralCity GovernmentState Government* General InterestAnimals* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 31, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the dawn of the new millennium, Christianity in China has redirected its growth toward a hundred or so central cities throughout the country. Groups of young, well-educated, active professionals have gathered in urban churches, smashing the stereotype in many Chinese people’s minds of Christians as elderly, infirm, sick, or disabled. These churches are unable to register with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and acquire legal status, but they are a first step toward Christians assuming leadership in the development of a Chinese civil society independent of government control. They have websites, assembly locations, schedules, listservs, communiqués, and even publications, which cannot be sold but can be circulated among church members.

China’s urban churches will be a major force in its democratization, for a free society requires a civil society capable of standing up to tyranny and the abuse of power. First, though, they will have to remedy the erroneous notion, present even among some churchgoers, that religion should be a private matter. What is needed is a political theology underscoring the sovereignty of God’s law rather than separation of church and state.

Christianity has transformed how I see myself as a dissident. Over decades of involvement with the Chinese democracy movement, I have seen so-called dissidents think the same, talk the same, act the same as those from whom they are supposedly dissenting. Too often the Communists and dissidents are kindred spirits. I have also seen personal ambitions and power struggles drive friends apart and turn those who should be working with one another against one another. My fellow dissidents attach great hopes to democracy, but it is simply a better method of public management and division of powers—the least worst, as Churchill said. It is not the horizon of all human hope and longing. If one does not believe in something other than democracy, one is no better off than the Communists, making a god of a ­political system.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaChina* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

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Posted July 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fr [Edward] O’Donnell will join Methodist Minister the Rev Ruth E Patterson, and Presbyterian Minister, the Rev Dr Ruth Patterson, to complete the Cathedral’s complement of three Ecumenical Canons.
Fr O’Donnell said he was surprised to learn from the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, that the Cathedral Chapter had elected him as an Ecumenical Canon, adding that he was ‘very pleased and happy to accept.’
“While this is a personal privilege for me, the honour is shared with all those who work quietly but persistently to improve and strengthen inter–church relationships,” Fr O’Donnell said.
“I recognise that for St Anne’s Cathedral community, and for the Catholic community of Belfast, that this is a significant step, perhaps even historic, but more so, I recognise the generosity of the Dean and Chapter in inviting me, as a representative of the Roman Catholic Church, to be an Ecumenical Canon.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Ireland* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEcclesiology

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Posted July 30, 2016 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Like doping scandals today, rigged outcomes and cheating, though not common, certainly did tarnish the ancient Games. Visit Olympia, and you can still see the bases of the “Zanes,” bronze statues of Zeus erected from fines imposed on cheating athletes, with inscriptions naming and shaming the culprits. But nothing diminished the allure of the Olympics. Only Christianity could overcome them. With the banning of pagan practices by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in A.D. 391, their days were numbered, and by 425 the Olympics were no more.

For well over a thousand years the Games survived seismic shifts in politics and society, not to mention long-raging wars. Their religious focus undoubtedly played a major part in their longevity. And they evolved, too, with new contests being introduced (those for heralds and trumpeters were perhaps the most bizarre) while others (such as the mule race) were phased out.

But it was more than all that, and here we arrive at the continuing appeal of the modern Games as well. The philosopher Epictetus put his finger on it. Even as he noted “the cacophony, the din, the jostling, the shoving [and] the crowding” of the ancient Games, he had to admit that “you are happy to put up with all this when you think of the splendor of the spectacles.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryEuropeGreece* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 29, 2016 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From my vantage point in the evangelical landscape, I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the church. I know we have lots of cause for concern about “the culture,” and I know the church tasked with proclaiming the kingdom in it seems pretty shaky right now. But I when I take a sober look at the young Christians (the millennials!) training for gospel ministry and thinking hard about mission, I like where their head’s at. The rest of us, on the other hand . . .

I find it incredibly interesting, sort of amusing, and more than a bit sad that the attractional church—what we used to call the “seeker church”—hasn’t seemed to grow up at all. Yes, it’s grown big. But growing big and growing up aren’t the same thing. I was thinking about this recently after a few people posted a video of one of the landmark attractional churches featuring a ’90s boy band throwback segment in their worship service. I’m sure it was a lot of fun. I’m also sure it was especially fun for those whose heyday was the ’90s. It’s the same fun that was had by the worship team in my ’90s attractional youth group who were constantly reworking rock hits from the ’70s to make them more Jesusy (“Peaceful, Easy Feelin,” anybody? How about a little “Talkin’ about my Jesus—he’s some kind of wonderful”?).

And it occurs to me that, exceptions being granted, the attractional church is specifically designed for what was said to “work” 20 years ago....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted July 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new $5 million Anglican Centre is to be built in Spain in Santiago de Compostela, the end of the world-famous Catholic pilgrimage route the Way of St James.

The Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain, which is part of the Anglican Community under the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury, is to begin fundraising with the help of Trinity Church, Wall Street in the United States.

The new Anglican centre in Spain will have instant and enormous appeal to Christians from through the Anglican Communion worldwide.

Read it all from Christian Today.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* International News & CommentaryEuropeSpain

1 Comments
Posted July 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St Anne’s Cathedral has appointed a Roman Catholic priest as one of its canons for the first time.

Father Edward O’Donnell, parish priest of St Brigid’s in south Belfast, is now one of three “ecumenical canons” at the Church of Ireland cathedral.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Ireland* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted July 28, 2016 at 3:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Rouen, Dominique Lebrun, is returning to Normandy from Krakow, where he was attending events linked to the Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day. “I cry out to God with all men of good will,” he said. “I would invite non-believers to join in the cry!

“The Catholic Church cannot take weapons other than those of prayer and brotherhood among men. I leave [in Krakow] hundreds of young people who are the future of humanity, the true ones. I ask them not to give into violence and become apostles of the civilisation of love.”

The Bishop-in-Charge of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, Pierre Whalon, responded to the Archbishop’s statement on Twitter, saying: “Amen. This could have been one of ours. . . In fact, it was.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance

0 Comments
Posted July 27, 2016 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The dreaded Nigeria-based terrorist group, Boko Haram, established links with some international terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda, the Presidential Fact-Finding Committee on the Abducted Female Students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, has said.

The committee stated this in its report submitted to former President Goodluck Jonathan before he left office.

The 50-page report, which details were never made public, was obtained exclusively by Premium Times.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted July 27, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The gravity of this crisis has long been hidden by what we like to call the construction of Europe. The energies of our political class have been devoted to buttressing the authority of an enterprise that delegitimizes the nation and promises a new way of bringing humans together. As national political life becomes less and less satisfying, citizens and government officials look elsewhere. The people, unhappy with government, and the government, unhappy with the people, both turn their faces toward the promised land of Europe, a new, post-political way of being, in which each would finally be rid of the other.

These sweet hopes have become less and less plausible. Those who govern and those who are governed remain prisoners of each other. And both are prisoners of a European Union that is now just one more insoluble problem. Neither the institutions of Europe, nor the government of France, nor what is called civil society have enough strength or credibility to claim the attention or fix the hopes of citizens. As rich as we still are in material and intellectual resources, we are politically weak. Nothing seems to have the power to gather us toward the common action we all feel necessary. Faced with crises such as Greek default and the attacks of radical Islamists, we are capable only of offering technical fixes or hollow platitudes. Real political leadership of the kind that calls on our deepest loyalties and highest capacities is nowhere to be seen.

This political weakness has not escaped the attention of those who now attack us. To be sure, when men have at each other, they do not precisely calculate the power ratios, and it sometimes happens that the weaker attacks the stronger. Still, it would be a mistake to look at things this way. When some of our citizens take up arms against us so brazenly and implacably, this means that not only our state, our government, and our political body but we ourselves have lost the capacity to gather and direct our powers, to give our common life form and force....

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted July 26, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

ST.-ÉTIENNE-DU-ROUVRAY, France — Attendance was sparse at the 9 a.m. Mass on Tuesday at the Église St.-Étienne, a 17th-century church in a working-class town in Normandy. Many regular parishioners were on vacation; so was the parish priest.

Mass was ending around 9:30 a.m. when two young men with knives burst in. They forced the auxiliary priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, to kneel. When he resisted, they slit his throat. They held several worshipers and at least one nun hostage, while another nun escaped. Officers from a specialized police unit descended on the church. A short while later, officers shot the young men dead when they emerged from the church.

The brutality in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, a suburb of Rouen in northern France, was the latest in a series of assaults that have left Europe stunned, fearful and angry. President François Hollande raced to the town and blamed the Islamic State for the attack; soon after, the terrorist group claimed responsibility, calling the attackers its “soldiers.”

It was the fourth attack linked to the Islamic State in Western Europe in less than two weeks

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Recent fighting in South Sudan has to date forced 37,491 people to flee to Uganda. To put this in context: more refugees have arrived in Uganda in the past three weeks than during the entire first six months of 2016, when 33,838 came there in search of safety.

On 25 July an estimated 2,442 refugees were received in Uganda from South Sudan. Some 1,213 crossed at the Elugu border point in Amuru, 247 in Moyo, 57 in Lamwo and 370 in Oraba. Another 555 were received at the Kiryandongo settlement. The majority of arrivals – more than 90 per cent – are women and children. People are coming from South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria region, as well as Juba and other areas of the country.

UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing in Geneva that the intensity of the violence that broke out in South Sudan between rival factions loyal to Salva Kiir and Riek Machar has subsided since early July. However, the security situation remains volatile.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoverty* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South SudanUganda* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted July 26, 2016 at 12:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Contrary to President Obama’s warning that “the UK would go to the back of the queue”, it seems the US is embracing the prospect of a trade deal with the UK. There is also enthusiasm from Canada, Australia, India, China, Japan, Brazil and New Zealand.

Of course, the really big question concerns our trade relationship with the EU, and on that we still know very little. But at least the penny has begun to drop for many people that being outside the single market does not mean being unable to trade with it.

Read it all

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2016 at 11:09 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..The major danger facing the UK economy now isn’t Brexit, but a systemic meltdown on European bond markets sparked by Italy. For months, this column has warned about the danger posed by the vast swathe of non-performing loans harbored by Italian banks – amounting to over 15pc of all loans outstanding, close to a jaw-dropping 20pc of GDP.

Italy is in this mess partly due to financial mismanagement but mainly because, since adopting the single currency in 1999, the country’s GDP has barely grown. Constrained by a high-currency euro strait-jacket, Italy has stagnated, causing even responsibly extended loans to go bad.

With the cost of recapitalizing Italy’s main banks standing at around €50bn, this crisis should be manageable. Yet EU rules prevent any state bail-out prior to a “bail-in” – that is, shareholders and bondholders taking a hit before any taxpayer backing. But that would mean millions of innocent Italian households lose considerable sums – as uninsured depositors or owners of widely-held retail bank bonds.

Were that to happen, Italy’s Five Star movement, which has recently overtaken the ruling centre-Left party in opinion polls, could easily take power. Having just clinched mayoral seats in Turin and Rome, Five Star is resurgent – not least due to its pledge to hold a referendum on Italian euro membership..

Read it all

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted July 25, 2016 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A notice on a church website, which was removed after The Sunday Times began making inquiries, read: “A ceremony of commitment and blessing . . . Clive will be resigning his post in the church from the day before.”

The notice requested that guests “make a bit of an effort” by bringing “your favourite savoury or sweet dish to share” and suggested bringing “enough [drink] for yourself and maybe a bit extra just in case”.

The service included a blessing from a liturgy originally intended for civil partnerships, beginning: “God the giver of life, God the bearer of pain, God the maker of love, bless, preserve and keep you.”

Larsen said he did not want to embarrass either the Church of England or David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, by discussing the details of his departure...

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted July 24, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I was one of the people moved to tears on the floor of General Synod when the motion to amend the marriage canon failed to achieve the required two-thirds majority in the House of Clergy. I was in shock that, once again, the church had failed to honour the lives of so many people, created in God's image and revealing Christ's love in their loves. I was filled with sorrow that we, as a church, had been unable to follow the leading of the Spirit—because I do not believe that whatever happens on the floor of synod must necessarily be the will of God. God's will and our own interact in ways far more complicated than that.

And then, less than 24 hours later, the story changed. It’s already an old story: one vote, miscounted, tipped the scales, and the just-barely “no” became a just-barely “yes.” It felt like a miracle as my weeping turned into rejoicing.

But, appealing though that story is, it's too simple, too self-congratulatory. The truth of the matter is, almost one-third of the members of synod voted to withhold access to Christian marriage from people who love people of the same gender. That's fewer people than it used to be, but it's still a lot of people. And the people who feel this way use the Bible to justify their position, claiming that it is actually God doing the withholding. And the church, desiring to be inclusive and compassionate, creates space for these arguments to be heard. As a result, LGBTQ2S+ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Two-Spirited] persons and their friends and family members were subjected, yet again, to hearing people and their relationships called unacceptable; in need of disciplining; against the will of God; unnatural; abominations. They were, once again, required to put themselves on display and to make their pain and suffering available for discussion, and compete in the sad sport of comparing oppressions.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture


Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Once a year, Seymour United Methodist Church in Tennessee held a “Laity Day,” in which folks from the pews would handle all the clergy stuff one Sunday -- including the sermon.

The year was 1984, early in the Rev. Charles Maynard’s decade at this fledgling congregation near Knoxville. He already knew that one active member had a knack for motivational speaking, since she coached the University of Tennessee’s Lady Vols basketball team.

“This was before she turned into Pat Summitt, you know? For me, she was just a lady at church named Pat,” said Maynard, now the district superintendent of the region’s Maryville District. “I asked her to speak and she said she didn’t feel comfortable doing that sort of thing. ...

“But the next year, she said ‘yes.’ She talked about teamwork and linked everything to people having their own roles in the Body of Christ. It was all very biblical and she did a great job. I mean, she’s Pat Summitt.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureSportsWomenYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist

1 Comments
Posted July 23, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



One of God's special servants whom I was privileged to have as a teacher from 1982-1984--KSH.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchBooks* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted July 22, 2016 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Primate of Australia Archbishop Philip Freier has expressed solidarity with Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson and his officers before a Royal Commission public hearing in Newcastle on August 2.

Archbishop Freier said evidence of clergy sexual abuse and predatory behaviour in Newcastle that included a former bishop was “shocking and distressing”.

“We express our solidarity with and prayers for Newcastle Bishop Greg Thompson and his officers who have worked diligently to end the culture of abuse and silence within the diocese,” the archbishop said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexualityViolence* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 22, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A line has been crossed in Turkey. You had people who were standing up to the military, but once they stopped the soldiers, they didn’t stop themselves. They lost control. And now they feel they can do whatever they want.

This happened in Istanbul, not in Aleppo. In Aleppo, there is no law, there are no rules, there is anarchy. We’re still in Turkey here. You’re a democracy fighter, you have stopped the army, that’s fine. But once you stop the army, once the soldiers give up, you stop and you tell the world, look what we have done. And they didn’t.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I am preparing for anything. It’s not easy for me. This is my home. I shoot conflicts in other countries and then I come back home. But now I’m preparing for anything to happen in my home.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeTurkey* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ahead of Monday’s Commons vote on Trident renewal, church leaders from a range of denominations have signalled their opposition to nuclear deterrents.

Speaking in the House of Lords, the Bishop of Chester said it was “not unreasonable at this time to contribute to our ongoing reflection upon why we have a nuclear deterrent at all’.

The Rt Rev Peter Forster went on: “In 1983 there was a report, The Church and the Bomb, in which it toyed with the hope that the UK might in fact unilaterally renounce its nuclear deterrent, but the Church rowed back from that and has never adopted that position, recognising that it was not equipped to reach such a conclusion in such a complex, political set of circumstances as surrounds this debate.

“Clearly today the UK is set upon ordering a new generation of submarines equipped with nuclear missiles, which will renew this country’s nuclear deterrent until 2060 or beyond. I simply express the hope that, during that period, ever greater efforts will be made to reduce the threat to our world from nuclear bombs and that we will continue to keep under review why we are making such significant decisions, which will have an impact into such a far-distant future—a future that will change in ways we cannot anticipate today.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches are being urged to climb aboard the Pokémon Go bandwagon, as the game soars in popularity across the UK.

Last week, just hours after the game became available in the UK, the Church of England’s digital media officer, Tallie Proud, published a blog on how churches could use the wildly successful app to evangelise gamers.

Pokémon Go is based on catching Pokémon, animated monsters that first became popular in the 1990s, using the GPS system on a smartphone or tablet, and then battling with them against other players.

Real-life locations and points of interest, including churches, have been designated by programmers as “PokéStops”, or “Gyms”, where gamers can collect resources and fight to establish their team’s control of the area.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchEntertainmentReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Diocese of Northern Uganda has been praised by the country’s armed forces for its crisis response in support for the thousands of refugees streaming into the country from South Sudan.

More than 38,000 people have reported fled from South Sudan in the past week, including Kenyans and Rwandans. South Sudanese nationals fleeing the violence were received in Elegu and transferred to the Refugee Camp in Adjumani.

The refugees are being transported in a 3 km-long convoy under police and army escort to provide security from rebel activity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Uganda* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South SudanUganda

0 Comments
Posted July 22, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans' satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. dropped 12 percentage points in the past month, amid high-profile police killings of black men and mass shootings of police. Currently, 17% of Americans are satisfied with the state of affairs in the U.S.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryPsychologySociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments
Posted July 21, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Sentamu said, “William Wilberforce was one of a team of companions who worked together to further the cause - it took Wilberforce, and his companions,18 years of continuous parliamentary activity before they saw results. Wilberforce’s deep trust in Christ, persistence, courage and determination to transform the lives of many is a wonderful example that should inspire us all today to make a difference”.

The Revd Paul Harford, vicar of Markington expressed delight that the Archbishop is attending and said: “The message we want to convey in our celebration is that the Christian faith isn't just an abstract theory, but something that has had a fundamental impact for good on our culture and society time and time again. Jesus Christ still challenges us to confront the injustices of our society, and work with Him to bring good news to the poor, let the oppressed go free, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. Reflecting on that, the Archbishop sprang to mind - I have always had great respect and admiration for the way his faith is so apparent in all he does.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted July 21, 2016 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England's "Shared Conversations" program to resolve its divide over the moral and doctrinal issues surrounding the new thinking on homosexuality have failed to take the testimony of Scripture seriously, 32 members of the 1990 Group of General Synod said in a letter sent to the College of Bishops on 17 July 2016. While progressive members of Synod have applauded the facilitated conversations on the new ethics, seeing them as a fair representation of their views, traditionalists have been less sanguine. Some members of Synod boycotted the talks stating that it proceeded from the faulty assumption that the new ethic had equal moral and intellectual value as the church's traditional teachings. Others who participated in the discussions noted it was unbalanced, with a preponderance of "experts" offering progressive views, or putting forward arguments that had long been discredited by scholars and theologians. Questions about the funding of the process have been raised, as some have observed that two members of the staff of Coventry Cathedral's reconcillation center, who led the program, have their stipends paid by the Episcopal Church. Not disclosing these interests would be akin to an employee of Shell Oil addressing General Synod on climate change without stating his personal interest in the issue.

Read it all.

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Posted July 21, 2016 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The ideological split within German politics is essentially about whether the European commission should become more political after Brexit, or less so. Almut Möller of the European Council on Foreign Relations thinktank said: “All parties can see that the situation requires political answers, but that the European commission isn’t up to it – that’s the dilemma.”

Henrik Enderlein, the director of the Jacques Delors Insitut in Berlin, said: “There are two possible roles the European commission could take in the future: either as a strong, political body that can take [the] initiative in key policy areas and during a crisis, or as a technocratic body that merely protects the treaties. At the moment, it is a hybrid of the two, and that has to change.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsCurrency MarketsEuroEuropean Central BankForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 21, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Statement from Bishop Ron Cutler in regards to General Synod 2016

The triennial meeting of the General Synod of our church met in Richmond Hill, Ontario from July 7-12 under the theme "You are my witnesses" (Isaiah 43:10)

This General Synod bore witness to many significant developments in the life of our church. Changes made in 2013, made this gathering smaller, with 229 voting members. Our diocesan delegation was made up of 8 members. As always when our church gathers in this forum, it was an opportunity to hear stories about the many forms of partnerships we are engaged in, both national and international, within the Anglican Communion and ecumenically. We reflected on ethical investing and passed motions in support of investing in ways that support a low-carbon economy. We witnessed to the tremendous work of PWRDF and the Anglican Foundation, and much more. Our church witnessed further steps in the process of self-determination of Indigenous peoples within the Anglican Church of Canada and authorized new worship rites. We received and adopted financial statements and made housekeeping changes to governing documents. All of our witness was framed by worship, prayer, time to listen and learn from Anglicans from across the country, and deepen our relationships.

While we celebrated the working out of God's mission in our common life, overshadowing everything was the 'issue' of whether to amend the Canon on Marriage to explicitly allow for the marriage of same sex couples within the church. Members spent time in discussion groups to listen to one another before the legislative session on Monday July 11. There was more than four hours of debate involving 60 speakers, which was emotional, passionate, reasoned, mostly respectful (although sometimes not), bringing: scripture, theology, personal experiences, process and pain, hopes and fears followed an appeal from the Primate to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst. The vote on Monday night appeared to have defeated the resolution by one vote in the order of clergy. (To be approved the resolution required a 2/3 majority in each order of Synod: lay, clergy and bishops). When the votes were combined 70% of those present had supported the resolution. The following day, when the paper transcript of the electronic vote was released, it was discovered that there were at least two errors in the electronic system. When the errors were corrected and the votes were properly recorded, the required 2/3 majority in the order of clergy was achieved and the Primate declared that the resolution was in fact carried.
Following the correction of vote, Bishop Jane Alexander of Edmonton wrote: "so yesterday the church tipped in one direction, there was pain and hurt and tears and we all needed one another to hold us up, today the church tipped in the opposite direction and there was pain and hurt and tears and we all needed one another to hold us up. Is it possible that God is telling us that we need one another and for a while we got to stand in the place of the 'other'? May we all reflect on the grace we have been shown." The aftermath of this roller coaster of emotions left most members of synod absolutely drained and like them you might be wondering what we are to do now.
First of all, according to the rules of the General Synod, a resolution which changes the doctrine of the church must be passed by two consecutive meetings of the General Synod by the required 2/3 majorities in order to come into force. Between now and then, it is referred to dioceses and ecclesiastical provinces for consultation - not ratification! Therefore, before General Synod meets again in 2019 we will need to engage in a formal consultative process through our Diocesan Synod. Logically this should happen when our Synod meets in May 2017. With the bruises of this highly divisive debate still fresh, I am hoping that we can take the time to speak and listen to one another, together shaping a diocesan response.
The second outcome to be explored is that the General Synod Chancellor advised us, before the debate began, that there was nothing in the existing Canon on Marriage which explicitly prohibited the marriage of same sex couples in the church. Such exclusions are in the preamble to the Canon. With this knowledge, several bishops have announced that they will immediately give permission for clergy in their dioceses, whose conscience allows them, to begin to officiate at same sex marriages. At this moment I am not willing to give a similar permission. However I will be consulting with persons in leadership throughout our diocese during the summer and will write further on this matter in the early fall. I want to remind you that our diocese currently offers the opportunity for the blessing of same sex couples who have been civilly married. The resolution that asked for this guideline, was approved by an overwhelming majority at our Synod in 2011. I realize that not every member of our diocese will support this change and the current provision in the Marriage Canon that protects the conscience of clergy to not officiate at a wedding, will remain. However the vast majority of people and parishes which wrote to me before General Synod were in favour of this change. All the members of our General Synod delegation, respecting their own consciences, voted to approve the canonical change.
This process has been wrenching for our whole church, especially the members of the LGBTQ2+ community. Yet in the midst of all this, I give thanks for many things. First the way that the General Synod has been surrounded and held up in prayer. Second that we have a process, imperfect as it is, to have this conversation. Third for the leadership of our Primate, who was the epitome of grace under pressure and offered a genuine pastoral presence to both 'sides' of the debate. Fourth for a church which has taken seriously the commandment to love one another. Last but not least, for the engagement of the General Synod members from our diocese, who engaged fully in the process with faith and openness.
Having reflected on Isaiah chapter 43 all week, there are several prophetic words of hope that speak into this moment: "I love you" v.4, "Fear not, for I am with you...I will gather you" v.5, "you are my witnesses and my servants whom I have chosen" v.10, and finally from verse 19: "Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" May the God who still speaks to us, calling us beloved, quelling our fear, gathering us in and sending us out as witnesses to His love, keep us ever mindful of the new things that are spinning forth from God's own heart.

--(The Rt. Rev.) Ron Cutler

(You may find it there among many places).


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Posted July 21, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was bodyguards for opposition leader-turned first Vice-President Riek Machar and Mr Kiir's presidential guards who fought each other, sparking days of violence earlier this month which killed many hundreds of soldiers and civilians.
Bizarrely, both leaders were inside the building at the time, as were the city's press corps - they videoed themselves cowering as the gunfire erupted around them.
As the shooting stopped, the two men gave a joint press conference appealing for calm.
That the fighting continued for the next few days is either a sign they that do not control their troops, or they care more about settling scores than they do about their people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaSudan--South Sudan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 21, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The recent failed coup attempt in Turkey raises lots of questions, most of which are well beyond the scope of this blog. However, there are two matters that are very much our concern: freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the more general issue of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeTurkey* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The retirement of the Bishop of London, who has declined to ordain female priests, will open the door for the first woman to be appointed to one of the Church of England’s highest offices.

The Right Rev Richard Chartres, 69, announced yesterday that he would retire in February after more than 20 years, a tenure during which he delivered the sermon at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and led the state funeral for Margaret Thatcher.

In 2002 he said that he was very much in favour of women priests but that in the interests of unity he did not personally ordain men or women. He said yesterday: “It has been a privilege and a delight to serve in the Diocese of London as priest and bishop for well over thirty years. I have seen confidence return and church life revive.”

The bishopric of London is the most senior role to become vacant since the church voted to permit the appointment of women as bishops in 2014.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has welcomed a new scheme to allow community groups to directly sponsor a refugee family.

Archbishop Justin Welby said the scheme would allow churches and other civil society groups “to provide sanctuary to those fleeing war-torn places.”

The Full Community Sponsorship scheme was launched today by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Archbishop Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the following years, the director said, his initial idea of telling Liddell’s story in a film expanded into a more personal project devoted to understanding Liddell’s life in China. He and his collaborators consulted with Liddell’s daughters, who live in Canada, as well as the Eric Liddell Center in Edinburgh. They tracked down survivors of the camp — most were children at the time — and interviewed Chinese people who had lived nearby.

Eventually, in addition to making “The Last Race,” they also produced a documentary and compiled a book using the material they had gathered.

The film first shows Liddell, played by Joseph Fiennes, trudging into an internment camp in 1943, then flashes back to the eastern port of Tianjin and his years in the city as a teacher and missionary after his Olympic victory. After the Japanese invade, he sends his pregnant wife (Elizabeth Arends) and their two daughters to Canada.

At the camp with hundreds of other civilians from Allied countries, including Americans, British, Canadians and Australians, he becomes a quiet but steadfast leader, helping to obtain food and supplies for other prisoners with the assistance of some sympathetic Chinese.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSports* International News & CommentaryAsiaChinaEngland / UK--Scotland* Theology

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Posted July 20, 2016 at 11:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As for Mrs May, she recently (in her old job as home secretary) raised secularist hackles by the emollient terms in which she announced an 18-month enquiry into the operation of Islamic family law in Britain, led by a distinguished Muslim academic, Mona Siddiqui. The adjudication of divorce and inheritance matters by "sharia councils" does pose a dilemma for many liberal-democratic governments. On one hand, Britain (unlike France) allows people to bequeath their property to anybody they choose, and if they choose to make a will on Islamic principles that is formally speaking a free exercise of this entitlement. On the other, a person who grows up deep inside a traditional Muslim sub-culture may feel under overwhelming pressure to accept the adjudication of family affairs on Islamic lines, so there are questions about how free the choice really is.

For secularists (and for Christians of a more militant hue), Mrs May spoke too mildly when she responded by suggesting that the only problem lay in the abuse of a phenomenon which was in itself neutral or benign. What she said, inter alia, was: “Many British people of different faiths follow religious codes and practices, and benefit a great deal from the guidance they offer. [However] a number of women have reportedly been victims of what appear to be discriminatory decisions taken by Sharia councils, and that is a significant concern."

Secularists immediately retorted that some aspects of Islamic family law (for example giving a woman half the inheritance rights of a man, and making it much easier for a man to initiate divorce) are intrinsically discriminatory; the problem lies in the rules, not in their unfair application.

But for someone of Mrs May’s background, there can be no rush to judgment. More than her secularist colleagues, she finds it self-evident that some groups in society can find comfort in “codes and practices” as well as texts, rituals and traditions which seem alien to outsiders.

Read it all.

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Posted July 20, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For the first time in its history, the Anglican Church of Canada will enter into a bilateral ecumenical dialogue with Mennonite Church Canada (MCC) following a motion passed at General Synod, July 12.

The motion’s mover, Bruce Myers, coadjutor bishop of the diocese of Quebec and former co-ordinator of ecumenical relations for the national church, explained that as the Anglican church’s relationship to mainstream society changes, it could benefit from talking to a church that has always had a fraught relationship with the mainstream.

“Mennonites have often existed as a church on the margins, both historically and in the contemporary Canadian context,” he noted. “As the Anglican Church of Canada enters a new stage of its life, some of us have been asking if there is something we can learn from our Mennonite sisters and brothers, about living faithfully as disciples of Jesus on the margins of society.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryCanada* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther Churches

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Posted July 20, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

​Zosima/Dostoyevksy then pushes the idea further:
But when he knows that he is not only worse than all those in the world, but is also guilty before all people, on behalf of all and for all, for all human sins, the world’s and each person’s, only then will the goal of our unity be achieved. For you must know, my dear ones, that each of us is undoubtedly guilty on behalf of all and for all on earth, not only because of the common guilt of the world, but personally, each one of us, for all people and for each person on this earth.
This suggests that, in some sense, we are responsible for police brutality; for the decay of the inner city; for police shootings; for lack of sympathy with law enforcement; for politicians and social activists, left and right, that have inadvertently fostered a culture of violence; and so on—“for all people and for each person on this earth.”

To be honest, I don’t quite know what this fully means. We are so locked into an individualistic worldview, that Dostoyevsky’s idea is hard to grasp. But I sense he’s on to something, and we hyper-individualistic Christians would be wise to heed it.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireRace/Race RelationsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 20, 2016 at 5:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In these difficult times, we must reject these false choices. Acknowledging that black life has historically been devalued does not inherently devalue the lives of others. Advocating for more and better community policing can happen in a manner that doesn’t marginalize law enforcement. Bearing witness to the legacy of racial division in our community does not undermine the necessary steps toward progress. It is possible to deplore and mourn the conditions surrounding the death of Mr. Sterling and those of Officers Jackson, Gerald and Garafola. We can oppose unnecessary, excessive force just as zealously as we oppose violence against the police.

Officer Jackson not only understood this as a black male police officer, he modeled it for us. In a Facebook post from July 8 he wrote:
I’m tired physically and emotionally. Disappointed in some family, friends, and officers for some reckless comments…. I swear to God, I love this city but I wonder if this city loves me. In uniform I get nasty, hateful looks and out of uniform some consider me a threat…. I’m working in these streets so any protesters, officers, friends, family or whoever if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer, I got you.
That quotation was shared with me in the initial hours after the shooting. Before the news released the names of the officers, friends of the families were hearing through social media. Upon learning of his death, a friend showed me Officer Jackson’s Facebook page. My friend described him as a “true community police officer.” Officer Jackson’s haunting comments caution us against reductionist thinking. He openly wrestled with his identity as a police officer and a black man. He called on his family and his colleagues to not let hate infect their hearts. He understood the complexities of the moment. He set the example for how we all must proceed.

Read it all.

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Posted July 19, 2016 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The affirmation culture of pop psychology has made its way into the theological academy, at least at mainline Protestant seminaries. We are told that we can be the leaders who will fix the church and that all of our snazzy ideas are totally going to work, indeed, that they are “prophetic” (please stop using that word to describe anyone you know).

Of course, the problem with this system is that then our seminaries send these “prophetic” newly ordained people into actual churches with actual lay people. And the ability of lay people to spot bad ideas is very strong. This combination usually makes for a painful, short marriage. One need only glance at the numbers of clergy who last less than five years in parish ministry to know that perhaps that professor was right. Maybe we are all idiots for wanting to do ministry in churches; the smart ones got out ahead of time.

Or maybe our seminaries could do better by the people they are training. Why are we not telling people in seminary that if they do not want serve in churches then they should not be pursuing ordination? I understand the practical reasons (mostly money), but I am astonished that we do not see the negative endgame for the church, not to mention the damage it does to the individual paying for an education: Paying student loans for a ministerial education that proved worthless is a sure and certain path to embitterment.

When I was in seminary, I remember having an endless number of conversations with people in their 20s who wanted to be ordained but classified themselves as “just not sure” about the church. Most of them were interested in academics. I wonder how many professors of systematic theology or biblical studies we will need in the future. According to the flood of people in our seminaries, I am guessing 4 million.

I would suggest that our seminaries are inadvertently devastating our churches. Most people who are ordained do end up in some kind of ordained ministry at some point in their career. However, if they have been encouraged and you are so special-ed through seminary, then it seems perfectly logical to them that they can make their living being an urban garden planter who occasionally talks about Jesus.'

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Posted July 19, 2016 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) head Jackson ole Sapit has decried the rise in crime rate.
He said widespread insecurity had led to fear and despondency among citizens. Archbishop Sapit said the poor feel insecure while the rich fear being robbed or attacked by criminal gangs, which operate freely. "The Kenyan society is at a crossroads. Husbands are massacring their wives, wives killing their spouses, police shoot indiscriminately and kill their colleagues and those in their custody," said the archbishop.
Speaking at St. Thomas Cathedral in Kerugoya town when he launched Pillar Television Station, Sapit attributed the trend to emerging social challenges which most Kenyans are not able to overcome.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Kenya* Culture-WatchRace/Race RelationsViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenya* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Throughout his life, Franklin – now 50 and living in Portland, Oregon – has never chosen one. In fact, he’s never had a monogamous relationship in his life, even while he was married for 18 years. “Monogamy has never connected with me, it’s never made sense to me,” said Franklin, who took two dates to his high school prom and lost his virginity in a threesome.

Yet it wasn’t until the 1990’s that he found the language to describe his lifestyle. Until then, he just considered himself “open”.

Polyamory is the practice of intimate relationships involving more than two people with the consent of everyone involved. In recent years, polyamory is working its way to becoming a household term. Researchers have estimated that 4 to 5% of Americans practice some form of consensual non-monogamy. A 2014 blog post by Psychology Today revealed that 9.8 million people have agreed to allow satellite lovers in their relationships, which includes poly couples, swinging couples and others practicing sexual non-monogamy.

And in Portland – home to swingers’ clubs, the most strip bars per capita, and annual porn festivals – it seems you can’t throw a stone without finding a poly relationship.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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Posted July 19, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now that he is dead — killed by police minutes after the rampage he carried out on his 29th birthday — much of what is known about Long comes from his vast online trail, where he fashioned himself as a lifestyle guru and activist with fans who were aching to know his life story.

As racial tensions escalated nationwide with the police shootings of black men this month in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the killings of five police officers in Dallas, Long's messages grew more pointed.

“I’m not gonna harp on that, you know, with a brother killing the police,” Long said in a video uploaded the day after the Dallas shootings. “You get what I’m saying?”

“It’s justice,” he said. In the same video, he seemed to hint at his own plans: If “anything happens to me … don't affiliate me with anybody.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FirePsychologyRace/Race RelationsViolence* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted July 19, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Robert has been telling radio listeners in Britain about how the church in Nice has been responding to the aftermath of Friday’s terror attacks when a lorry careered into the crowds celebrating Bastille Day.

The Bishop had already planned to be in Nice for a meeting with clergy on Saturday (16 July 2016) and he was able to share in the special service of commemoration and see for himself the effects of the incident and the ministry of Holy Trinity Church just off the Promenade des Anglais.

Read and listen to it all (a little over 4 1/2 minutes).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeFrance

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Posted July 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Syrian woman wore a floral-patterned, full-length dress and head scarf. She ducked inside her tarp-house. Moments later she emerged with a rug.

She placed it and a cushion on the ground, and motioned for Tullie to sit.

[Ann] Tullie, whose white blouse matched her curly hair, sat.

The refugee offered her tea.

“I guess she could tell I was tired and thirsty,” Tullie said Monday as she and her husband, Dick, sat on the sofa in their living room. Dick Tullie made the short-term mission trip with her, like he has about a dozen times before. The couple, members of The Parish Church of St. Helena, have performed mission work since 2004 in the United States, Central America and Africa.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeMissions* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastSyria* South Carolina

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Posted July 18, 2016 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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