Posted by Kendall Harmon

Belief in life after death is as common in Britain as it was 30 years ago in spite of a sharp decline in church attendance, a study suggests.

While the number of people who say they believe in God or call themselves Anglicans has fallen significantly in the course of a generation, some core Christian beliefs appear to be holding their ground.

The proportion of Britons who believe in Hell has risen from 26.2 per cent in 1981 to 28.6 per cent in 2008, while belief in the afterlife held steady over the same period at about 44 per cent.

Over those three decades the proportion of people who hold all five of the religious beliefs covered by the study — God, life after death, Heaven, Hell and sin — has also slightly increased to almost a third of the UK’s population.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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

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Posted January 28, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain’s most senior judge has claimed that “the peddling of pornography on the internet” was a contributing factor in one of the most gruesome murder cases he had to rule on last year.

Lord Thomas of Cwymgiedd said internet porn “played a real part” in the actions of Jamie Reynolds, 23, who convinced 17-year-old Georgia Williams to take part in a “photoshoot” with a noose around her neck before killing her and taking pictures of her naked body.

Reynolds was found to have 16,800 images and 72 videos of extreme pornography on his computer at the time of his arrest – and the Lord Chief Justice told MPs yesterday that he felt the killer would not have come up with his meticulous plan had he not taken inspiration from the internet.

Read it all from the Independent.

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

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Posted January 28, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...most viewers are likely unaware of what they are actually seeing. They are not merely watching an historical drama, they are witnessing the passing of a world. And that larger story, inadequately portrayed within Downton Abbey, is a story that should not be missed. That story is part of our own story as well. It is the story of the modern age arriving with revolutionary force, and with effects that continue to shape our own world.

Downton Abbey is set in the early decades of the twentieth century. Though by season four King George V is on the throne, the era is still classically Edwardian. And the era associated with King Edward VII is the era of the great turn in British society. The early decades of the twentieth century witnessed a great transformation in England and within the British Empire. The stable hierarchies of Downton Abbey grew increasingly unstable. Britain, which had been overwhelmingly a rural nation until the last decade of the nineteenth century, became increasingly urban. A transformation in morals changed the very character of the nation, and underlying it all was a great surge of secularization that set the stage for the emergence of the radically secular nation that Britain has become.

Viewers should note the almost complete absence of Christianity from the storyline. The village vicar is an occasional presence, and church ceremonies have briefly been portrayed. But Christianity as a belief system and a living faith is absent—as is the institutional presence of the Church of England.

Political life is also largely absent, addressed mainly as it directly affects the Crawleys and their estate. This amounts to a second great omission.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 24, 2015 at 2:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The proposals are presented in a report written by Lord Green, a former British trade minister and HSBC chairman, and prepared with outside help from Christopher McLaverty, a former talent leadership chief at BP, an oil supermajor. As much as £2m ($3m) has been set aside to enact the “talent management programme”, which will provide 150 bishops with the means to study at INSEAD’s campus in Fontainebleau, France, over the next two years. The aim is that clergy, who often come into a high-profile post within the church with little training, are given more adequate preparation for their role, including the ability to build and manage a high-functioning support team. “Simply arriving at moments of appointment and then looking to see who might or might not, by a process of amounting to chance, have suitable preparation and gifting, is to abandon all responsibility,” Mr Welby wrote in support of the Green report.

Sending bishops to business school will kickstart a “culture change for the leadership of the church”, the report says. But it admits that the preponderance of phrases such as “talent pool” and “alumni network” peppered throughout the paper may put off more staunch theologians. Yet that hasn’t stopped the language of business breaching the pious institution. In an appendix of Lord Green’s report, the net promoter score (NPS), a loyalty metric developed by Bain & Company, a consultancy, is presented with a straight face as a hypothetical way of evaluating the benefit of the mini-MBA. With a fictionalised NPS of +75 (on a scale of -100 to +100), the church appears to be confident its plans will be well-received.
'
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchEducation* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted January 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Reading N. T. Wright's latest book, Simply Good News: Why the Gospel is News and What Makes It Good (HarperOne), is somewhat like listening to a compilation album. All the classic hits are here: "the kingdom of God is for earth now," "the gospel is the key moment in a story," "resurrection is about bodies," "something has happened," and, of course, the well-loved ballad "fundamentalists and liberals are both missing the point." For those who are new to Wright, Simply Good News will offer a helpful introduction to and summary of his work. For those who have read plenty of him already, or for those who dislike compilation albums in principle, it will probably have less to offer.

The focus of the book is admirably clear: to explain what the gospel is, and why we should think of it as good news. In eight succinct chapters, Wright explains the nature of good news (chapter one), the essence of what that good news is (chapters two and three) and is not (chapters four and five), and what it means for the way we live now (chapter six), think about God (chapter seven), and pray (chapter eight). Each of these chapters is readable and insightful, characterized by Wright's familiar mixture of rich scholarship, vivid illustration, and contemporary application.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 22, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

n his Preface, the Bishop of Coventry notes that that the report is offered as a resource for theological reflection that can "inform the improvisations the church will continue to require in its practice of leadership and anchor them in faithfulness to the gospel…. How do the dynamics of Church life and leadership in the New Testament apply to the Church today? How might we draw faithfully and creatively on the rich traditions of the church over two millennia around authority, responsibility and service? How can we talk constructively about ambition in church life and deal with the realities of disappointment and the experience of failure? These are not just issues for those who exercise senior leadership in the Church of England. We hope this report can contribute to fostering serious thought and prayer about them."

Professor Loveday Alexander, one of the members of the Faith and Order Commission, comments: "What we are offering, as a gift to the Church and as the result of many years of collective reflection, is a theological contribution to practical thinking about leadership development in the Church. We have tried to set out some of the deep spiritual roots of the Church's understanding of what it means to exercise leadership within the body of Christ."

Read it all and note the whole report is there.

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2 Comments
Posted January 21, 2015 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It should have been a fun ­occasion – a boy’s birthday party at a tobogganing centre, ­complete with tea and balloons.

But the event has now turned into the focus of a public row between two families after the mother of the boy holding the party sent a formal invoice to the parents of his friend Alex for a “party no-show fee”.

The document, which included an invoice number, charged Tanya Walsh and Derek Nash £15.95 for the cost of their five-year-old son’s non-attendance at the event, held during the Christmas holidays.

And the Nashes are now being threatened with action at the small claims court if they refuse to pay up, while the mother of the birthday boy has banned her son from ever playing with Alex again.

Read it all.

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4 Comments
Posted January 21, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Much of England is experiencing economic crisis. Our economy appears to be, in one sense, a tale of two cities – one being a growing and constantly improving London (and the south-east generally), and the other being most, but not all, other cities, alike in that they are each trapped in apparently inevitable decline.

Of course, London has many economic problems of its own. While on a national level entire cities are being cast aside and left to their own devices, one cannot walk the streets of London for long before realising that this national trend is happening at an individual level in this massive city. There is poverty around the corner from every multimillion and multibillion pound industry – individuals and families similarly trapped in apparently inescapable circles of despair.

This sketch of our current plight will not come as news to many. It is the reality we experience and see on a daily basis. And I believe that many of the prescribed remedies that so often accompany this diagnosis are deeply flawed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureRural/Town LifeUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 21, 2015 at 7:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since the late 1960s overall church attendance in Britain has dropped steadily, along with adherence to the Christian faith. The proportion of people calling themselves Anglican fell from 40% in 1983 to 20% in 2012. But in pockets, mostly in London and the south-east, churches are thriving. Much of the energy has come from large African Pentecostal churches and from an influx of Roman Catholic immigrants from Eastern Europe. But there is growth in the Church of England, too. Most of this comes from “church plants”, based on a model imported from America in which a group of people move from a thriving, often evangelical, church to an ailing one, and turn it around.

Several big London churches, such as Holy Trinity Brompton (where the popular Alpha course started) and St Helen’s Bishopsgate, have been planting churches in the capital for decades. More recently Holy Trinity Brompton has started to reach farther afield. It was behind the plant to St Peter’s and has also sent people from its London congregation to Norwich and Bournemouth. Some members of the St Peter’s congregation have in turn set up another plant in Hastings.

Most church planters explain that they felt called by God to move. But more mundane things drive them, too. Being part of a team under an entrepreneurial leader is exciting; their friends may also be relocating.

Read it all.

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15 Comments
Posted January 17, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In addition to personal hurt, the baggage accumulated here, again, might result in the “baby” of holiness getting thrown out with the “bathwater” of legalism. If the ex-fundamentalist does not become a New Atheist — the inverted modernist equivalent of the rationalizing fundamentalist — he might drift in the Anglican direction. Here he will decide whether to let John Spong usher him through the dusty halls of a bygone Protestant liberalism back towards Dawkins et. al. or, via the “Canterbury Trail,” he will head towards the more romantic tradition of Anglo-Catholicism. The temptation then is to construct an Anglican identity that is more concerned with “not being fundamentalist” than with being Christian. So ex-fundamentalists are largely reacting against pride and legalism, while ex-evangelicals are reacting against the spiritual emptiness of faddish evangelicalism. But, of course, there are degrees of mixture between the two.

In closing, I want to say that although this new generation of Canterbury Trail Anglicans has a lot to offer the Anglican and Episcopal churches which we now inhabit — especially in our greater desire for unity than many a Boomer who busies himself with ecclesial marketing, lawsuits, or even doctrinal and moral “purity” — we also carry a lot of baggage. Not having “stayed put” in those places where we originally received the faith, we struggle here too in this Anglican place to practice what we have come to preach. Here we counsel the local “cradle” Anglican evangelical not to throw overboard the riches of the tradition in order to fill the pews. But we also need to be reminded that without mission, evangelism, and, yes, conversion, the tradition simply becomes liturgical histrionics, much to the annoyance of the local Anglican evangelical. Finally, the new Canterbury Trail Anglicans need to be more than “not fundamentalists” or “not-Southern-Baptists.” Not only would such an attitude contradict the ecumenical spirit, not only does this tempt us to throw out the legitimate orthodoxies held by those we react against, but, contrary to the spirit of humility, it also tempts us to “via media” pride, as if we somehow have got it all together. Truth, humility, and unity are a package.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican Identity* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.CanadaEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological EducationSoteriology

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Posted January 16, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Entire regions of the country are trapped in an apparently inescapable economic downward spiral. It is "a tale of two cities", and turning the tide will come only through a commitment to solidarity, the Archbishop of Canterbury says.

"The hard truth is that [many cities and towns where there is long-term decline] are in what appear to be lose-lose situations," he says. "Already in decline, the road towards recovery and growth is made even more difficult. . . As the south -east grows, many cities are left feeling abandoned and hopeless."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureRural/Town LifeUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 15, 2015 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A quarter of Jews in Britain have considered leaving the country in the last two years and well over half feel they have no long term future in Europe, according to a survey published on Wednesday.

Additionally, anti-Semitic beliefs are widely prevalent among the wider public with 45 percent of Britons agreeing with at least one anti-Semitic sentiment, the YouGov poll for the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) group found.

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted January 14, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(For detailed information on the bill, you may go here)-KSH.

I shall not address the elements of the Bill in exhaustive detail. Others have far greater expertise in each of the areas concerned. However, I want to make some points about the Bill’s provisions in their own terms. As I do so, I believe that it is important to step back and see the proposed changes in the context of broader trends in how we live, govern ourselves and seek to ensure the security of our people.

I begin where local churches begin: trying, under God, to be agents of reconciliation; building communities marked by trust, mutual respect and care, and not by fear and suspicion. In many places, faith communities are coming together to build understanding and break down prejudice and stereotypes. Yesterday, in response to events in Paris, in my previous diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, faith leaders from Muslim, Jewish, Christian and other communities enacted a day of fasting as a sign of mutual commitment and dependence on God in seeking peace for all. They stood in solidarity with one another. In my current diocese of Durham, where the numbers of adherents to faiths other than Christianity are relatively small, work is continually done by the faith communities in places such as Sunderland, Gateshead, South Shields, Stockton and Darlington to build strong community relationships. The Near Neighbours programme nationally has had a significant impact on every place in which it is run.

This groundswell of community building is, and is seen by faith groups as, the most powerful force against radicalisation, especially among young people, on whom so much of the sense of risk tends to be focused. The Department for Communities and Local Government is doing some excellent work supporting local initiatives in this field. Groups with wider knowledge than local churches, such as the Quilliam Foundation, emphasise that this type of work in the community is vital to the Prevent Strategy.

Read it all (starts toward the end of column 673).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 14, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Legal experts and the police said a law allowing assisted suicide in Scotland needed more clarity in order to remove the risk of someone being prosecuted.

There is a "fine line" between assisting someone killing themselves and an act of euthanasia which could result in criminal charges, MSPs heard.

The plans, contained in a backbench bill, have widespread public backing, said supporters.

But opponents believed such a move was "unethical and uncontrollable".

Read it all.

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Posted January 14, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The note from the Archbishops, published on Monday, speaks of the "urgency" of the challenges that the Church faces. These include diminishing congregations - attendance has declined by, on average, one per cent a year over recent decades - with an age profile "significantly" higher than that of the general population, and ordination rates "well below" those needed to replace the 40 per cent of the parish clergy who are due to retire in the next ten years.

The current reliance on an increase in individual giving to keep financially afloat is not sustainable, it warns. "The burden of church buildings weighs heavily and reorganisation at parish level is complicated by current procedures."

The Sheffield formula, introduced after the 1974 Sheffield report to determine targets for the number of stipendiary priests in each diocese, and taking into account congregation size, population, area, and number of church buildings, is "no longer generally observed".

The distribution of funds under the Darlow formula (used since 2001 to allocate national funding to dioceses with the fewest resources to assist with their stipends bill) has "no focus on growth, has no relationship to deprivation and involves no mutual accountability".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

3 Comments
Posted January 13, 2015 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England will no longer be able to carry on its current form unless the downward spiral its membership is reversed “as a matter of urgency”, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have warned.

It could face a dramatic shortage of priests within a decade as almost half of the current clergy retire, according to the Most Rev Justin Welby and Dr John Sentamu.

Meanwhile dwindling numbers in the pews will inevitably plunge the Church into a financial crisis as it grapples with the “burden” of maintaining thousands of historic buildings, they insisted.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

7 Comments
Posted January 13, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain is not a secular state, with Anglican Bishops sitting in the House of Lords, and the church makes regular forays into British domestic politics.

But some say it is too partisan on occasions and too involved in domestic politics.

Watch it all (3 minutes and 20 seconds, approx.).

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

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Posted January 13, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Andrew Lloyd Webber calls for Wi-Fi in Churches, the Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, explains how it may work.

Listen to it all but before you listen, guess the number of parishes there are in the Church of England which is mentioned during the interview [the segment starts 20 minutes 58 seconds in; it lasts about 4 minutes)].

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Britain’s fear of criticising Islam has led to a self-imposed ‘blasphemy law’, the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has warned.

Lord Carey’s comments come days after the brutal slaughter of journalists at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, which printed cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed.

He added that the Press should be encouraged to print controversial material, even if Muslims find it offensive.

Read it all.


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Posted January 11, 2015 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is unbelievable that a modern democracy only managed to get round to disposing of these embarrassing laws so recently, but I find it even more shocking that a de facto blasphemy law is operating in Britain today.

The fact is that publishers and newspapers live in fear of criticising Islam. BBC guidelines, we have learnt recently, forbade the publication of images of the founder of Islam, even though this prohibition has not always been universal or absolute in Muslim history. Hastily revising its own guidelines, the BBC has now re-entered the 21st century, even picturing a Charlie Hebdo front cover on Newsnight featuring a cartoon of Muhammad.

Yet since 1988 and the hounding of Salman Rushdie and his publishers over The Satanic Verses, there has been a threat over free speech posed by radical and political Islam. I wish back then we had dealt with it. Every publisher and newspaper at the time throughout the world should have concertedly published extracts from The Satanic Verses to spread the risk and challenge extremist notions of blasphemy and apostasy, which surely apply only to consenting Islamic believers and not to ‘kaffirs’ and ‘heretics’?

Yet since 1988, the spectre of extremist censorship has reared its ugly head time and time again.

Read it all (requires subscription).


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Posted January 11, 2015 at 12:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In English, Eliot, the greatest poet of London, is also the greatest poet of the second world war – not because he fought in it, but because he registered so fully its struggle and destruction: the houses that turned to dust, the raids, the need to persist against wholly unfavourable odds. Those are some of the elements that power “East Coker”, “The Dry Salvages”, and “Little Gidding”. The last named of the Quartets in particular draws on Eliot’s experience as a fire watcher during the London blitz, while “The Dry Salvages”, drawing on and addressing his own American past, was written in the period before America entered the second world war and as Britain was facing defeat. Though in no way directly propagandistic, Eliot’s poem nonetheless seems geared to encourage Americans to understand the necessity of persisting in struggle. After the second world war, as after the first, Eliot went out of his way to voice his Europhilia, his belief in European unity and “the mind of Europe”. All this contributed to his being regarded, rightly, as an Anglophile poet who could contend at one moment that “History is now and England”, but who could see, too, the importance of a sense of pan-European civilisation. So, in the decades after 1945, the importance of this poet to whom Dante mattered as much as Shakespeare can be seen as emblematising European cultural politics. There is a European Eliot, an English Eliot, an American Eliot, an Indian Eliot, a Chinese Eliot: this proliferation of Eliots has made him all the more a world poet.

So when, on Monday in London, the Poetry Book Society and the TS Eliot Trustees host a group of contemporary poets for the TS Eliot prize award ceremony, honouring “the best collection of poetry published in 2014” at an event marking the 50th anniversary of TS Eliot’s death, whether or not the winning poet echoes Eliot directly is immaterial. More than any other 20th-century poet, Eliot showed how to balance tradition and modernity – that is his true legacy; as poet, publisher, critic and editor, his art opened up the space in which we write and read. Sometimes people try to caricature him; his detractors must grant him his full complexity, just as his fans must acknowledge that his background was not just one of ragtime and high culture but also of familial antisemitism and attitudes to race that trouble St Louis to this day. To appreciate him requires an acknowledgement that his life and work were full of daring, astuteness and a preternaturally acute ear for language.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPoetry & Literature* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

0 Comments
Posted January 10, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Syrian-based terrorists are planning attacks in the UK similar to the one that killed 12 people at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Britain’s domestic security chief has warned.

Andrew Parker, director-general of MI5, said there had been more than 20 Syrian-linked terror plots against western targets in the past 14 months.

In one of the starkest assessments from any western counterterror chief since the Syrian civil war broke out, Mr Parker said on Thursday evening that organisations including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, were actively plotting attacks in the UK.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England's Buildings Division has backed a plan to fit all of the C of E's 16,000 churches with WiFi internet access.

The director of the Cathedral and Churches Buildings Division, Janet Gough, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Church was ideally placed to build up a national network.

"We will be talking with those involved to explore how to build on the existing projects, such as the diocese of Norwich's WiSpire programme, and the provision of free WiFi for all visitors at individual cathedrals such as Chester, Canterbury, Ely, and Liverpool, to link up and expand WiFi coverage countrywide."

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted January 9, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For some years I worked in two parts of the West Midlands—wonderful places to live and work; I have many friends there still—but they were both characterised as areas that had extremely low aspirations. It was one thing to change the school but if the child went home and was told repeatedly, “Actually, that sort of thing does not make any difference to us. You are wasting your time”, all the work was undone. There needs to be a profound social and cultural change in the family as well.

That was one of the things that struck me when I was reading the comments in the interim report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility, which reported back in 2012. It summarised its conclusions into seven “key truths”. I will pick out just the first four, which show precisely this connection. The first key truth was:

“The point of greatest leverage for social mobility is what happens between ages 0 and 3, primarily in the home”.

Read it all.

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Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Three local village churches celebrated a special milestone on Sunday 4th January, as they came together to congratulate their vicar on ten years of service to the community.

St John’s in Peasedown and St Julian’s in Wellow are part of the St J’s Group of Anglican Churches, which have been led by Revd Matthew Street since he took up the posts of ‘Rector’ and ‘Priest-in-Charge’ in 2005.

The united parish of St Julian’s Shoscombe and James’ Foxcote are also part of the group – having joined after a Church of England clergy reorganisation in 2010.

Matthew, along with his wife Jane and their daughter Hannah, moved to the Peasedown Vicarage in Church Road after a short stint as curate at Holy Trinity Church in Combe Down, Bath.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted January 8, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


This was by some estimates the worst terrorist attack in France since the Algerian war of independence. It followed exhortations from Islamic State in Syria to kill French civilians with any weapon available, but responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It is not clear what was behind the timing. Minutes before the gunmen struck, Charlie Hebdo had released a tweet mocking Islamic State’s leader, but this was mild next to the magazine’s earlier broadsides on everything that Islamists hold sacred. In past years it has reprinted the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that prompted riots on several continents. It has printed a spoof issue “guest edited” by the Prophet, and a cover cartoon of an Imam trying and failing to use the Koran to stop bullets.

“I don’t blame Muslims for not laughing at our drawings,” Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief, Stéphane Charbonnier, once said. Neither did he apologise. “I live under French law . . . [not] Koranic law.”

Mr Charbonnier is now dead. While he lived he upheld a priceless tradition of broad and often brutal satire, no punches pulled, no prisoners taken. He and his colleagues were equal opportunity offenders. Islamists were often their targets precisely because of their unconscionable threats and spurious claim to special status. But so were Catholic clergy, cardinals, the Pope and, for what it’s worth, the British.

When President Hollande called Charlie Hebdo a “symbol of liberty”, it was no empty cliché....

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and IssuesViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEuropeFrance* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 8, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In summary, the rationale behind the PMM is:

funeral services of suicides conducted by Church of England clergy may be in contravention of Canon B38; and
removing this canonical bar [on the use of “the rites of the Church of England” in these circumstances] “would send a very positive message to society at large, particularly if presented in the context that it was actually recognising current practice.”

Not quite the “legalization of suicide” or a “U-turn on funerals” of the headline; essentially an alignment of canon law with current custom and practice that will have little perceptible impact on the families of those involved. If clergy adherence to canon law were a major concern to the Church, infractions such as these are not necessarily the place at which one would start. As the Revd Gavin Foster has observed[1]:

“the requirements of Canon Law were perceived by clergy to be distant, ‘other’, far away and irrelevant to the everyday life of the Church. [Anglican] clergy seemed to be only vaguely aware of the requirements of canon law and would frequently (and quite often knowingly) breach them.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologySuicideReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

9 Comments
Posted January 7, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jonathan Clark, the Bishop of Croydon who is backing the drive, said: “Detaining people indefinitely in prison-like conditions without judicial oversight is unjust, ineffective and inhumane.That’s why Citizens UK are calling on people of goodwill across the country to join them in taking this issue to their parliamentary candidates.

“We will ask politicians to pledge their support for a time limit on the detention of adults – and to work with us… to make it happen.”

Separately, more than 30 charities and organisations are now calling for a time limit of 28 days’ detention.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsImmigrationPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 7, 2015 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the Lloyd Webber plan ever comes to fruition, the whole concept of Church Wi-Fi will only be of any value if churches actually do something proactive with it. In its own way it will act as a potential catalyst for them to reach out and offer something bigger that can bless their communities. It will only succeed, though, if churches have an understanding of the needs around them, and the vision to put something together that is dynamic and relevant to the 21st-century lives of those who visit.

Traditionally, churches tend to lag behind the prevailing culture and technologies, often playing catch-up when it comes to taking advantage of the opportunities on offer. The gospel has no need at all to be tampered with - God’s truths are eternal – but the method of delivery needs to updated with every generation if the message is to be effectively presented. Andrew Lloyd Webber is no fool with a harebrained scheme: he sees the potential for churches to be vibrant and provide the lifeblood for the communities around them. The more we see the lead of pioneers such as Tubestation being followed, the greater the likelihood that churches – and the Christian faith – will regain local prominence and community approbation. And if free Wi-Fi comes as standard, then that just makes things better still.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted January 6, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Oscar-winning composer behind Jesus Christ Superstar is planning an even more ambitious scheme to connect the nation with its Christian heritage – wi-fi in every church.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose father was music director at a London church, said the initiative would put the increasingly deserted buildings back at the centre of their local communities.

The theatre impresario behind musicals including Cats and Evita has been in talks with Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who is ‘actively’ considering the project.

Read it all.

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

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Posted January 6, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A stained glass window design commemorating Winston Churchill has been revealed.

It will be installed at St Martin's Church in Bladon, Oxfordshire, where the wartime prime minister is buried.

The window includes imagery of a Spitfire, a gas mask and a cat.

Robert Courts, chair of the parochial church council, described it as a "rich mixture of the Bulldog Churchill... and equally Churchill the man".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArtHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop of Armagh Richard Clarke said he believes that Dr Welby will “evaluate the situation” before confirming a date for the next Lambeth Conference which is due to be held in 2018.

Dr Clarke told The Irish Catholic that Archbishop Welby is still a relatively short time in office and that he needed some time to hear the views of the different Provinces about “what kind of Lambeth do we want, what would be appropriate.”

He said: “I think Archbishop Welby, like the good hard-headed businessman that he was, is taking a step back, trying to survey the scene, and seeing what is the best way for us to take counsel together and in what format.

“He is not a man who is going to be wrong-footed, nor is he going to be frog-marched,” Dr Clarke said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican PrimatesAnglican ProvincesChurch of Ireland* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland

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Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“At my age, [Armagh] didn’t seem an obvious career opportunity” he chuckles, and one is left with the impression that having lost Linda, his wife, and mother of their two grown-up children, after a long illness in 2009, he would have remained content in Meath and Kildare until perhaps retiring in his late sixties.

He would have been expected to maintain his sustained ecumenical outreach and perhaps to have increasingly indulged his love for writing about theology and history, having written three books already, including A Whisper of God (Columba 2006).

But now, health permitting, he can remain in the top post in the Church of Ireland until he is 75. While there is little time for writing and scholarship, there are even greater opportunities for ecumenical endeavour for a Church leader who trained as an historian at Trinity College Dublin and as a theologian at King’s College London.

His role involves doing three jobs: being diocesan bishop in Armagh where he doesn’t have an assistant bishop, being a national Church leader/Primate of All-Ireland and being an Anglican bigwig, one of 38 Primates in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Ireland* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland

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Posted January 5, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The traditional family is dead. Or at least it is for the tens of thousands of people who are choosing to go online to find the parent of their child.

Men and women are finding each other on what look like dating sites in order to have a baby through artificial insemination (AI). Within a platonic relationship, they then share the child without a binding legal agreement.

Co-Parents.co.uk, was begun by Franz Sof in 2008 when he wanted to meet someone he could bring up a child with. The site now has 10,000 members. This website and others like it also caters for those who, rather than looking for someone to “co-parent” with, are looking for a sperm donor, but want to meet him first.

Read it all (requires subscription).


Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesMenScience & TechnologyWomenYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted January 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




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

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Posted January 3, 2015 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dickens and Disney’s Tiny Tims both hope that those who feel pity for a poor crippled boy in church “… will think of Him who made lame men walk” at Christmas time.

This was a lesson that Dickens meant for adults, as well as children.

There is no separating the generosity we owe to others from the generosity God has shown to us by sending his son to give us new hearts. Christmas shouldn’t just bring out the best in us once a year; it should transform our lives—as it did for Scrooge. Dickens knew where he wanted to end his story, and finished it accordingly:

“Some laughed to see the alteration in [Scrooge] but he let them laugh ... he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed that knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two high-profile TV adverts this season seem to point back to the sentiment of Dickens’ tale. Sainsbury’s sign off with the strap line ‘Christmas is for sharing’, whilst John Lewis prefer ‘Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of’. Behind the marketing strategy seems to be a genuine search for a more profound message to accompany the call to consume. Both are centred on sharing and people, not objects or wealth.

Margaret Oliphant, Scottish novelist and historical writer, wrote that A Christmas Carol ‘moved us all those days ago as if it had been a new gospel’. And its popularity and pertinence remain undimmed. But shining even brighter is the old Gospel – the ultimate story of second chances and redemption that is ready to move us again this Christmas and lead us to sharing it with others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans just have this wrong, this is so inefficient and silly to have as a work day from where I sit.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

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Posted December 26, 2014 at 11:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.

A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.

Sometimes it seems that reconciliation stands little chance in the face of war and discord. But, as the Christmas truce a century ago reminds us, peace and goodwill have lasting power in the hearts of men and women.

On that chilly Christmas Eve in 1914 many of the German forces sang Silent Night, its haunting melody inching across the line.

That carol is still much-loved today, a legacy of the Christmas truce, and a reminder to us all that even in the unlikeliest of places hope can still be found.

A very happy Christmas to you all.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristology

1 Comments
Posted December 25, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Looking back to my childhood, I can see that this was what Alice did for me. I loved the thought of plunging down a rabbit hole and falling into a new world, or pushing through a mirror on the wall and stepping into topsy-turvy-dom. In those imaginary places, the laws of normal life didn’t apply any more. Nothing was what it seemed. And yet it didn’t feel any the less real. In some ways, these worlds of fiction seemed almost tangible, populated by characters you got to know. Yes, in the end Alice has to wake up from her dream. But her journey has changed her. And those of us who travel with her.

I don’t reckon it’s fanciful to think about Christmas in this kind of way. It’s a time of year when we not only dream about a kinder, fairer, better world, but even dare to try living it out. How? By thinking of other people through Christmas greetings, the presents we give as symbols of our love and care, noticing the needs of others far and near and responding with compassion. We long for a new start for our world, our society, ourselves and those we care for. And in small ways, we enter into the spirit of that new beginning.

These are the dreams, the hopes, the vision embodied in the Child whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBooksChildrenReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Yet, at this time of great peril, I deeply regret that the British Government seems to be stepping back, rather than stepping up,” writes Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander in The Sunday Telegraph, as he juxtaposed the “no room at the inn” of the Nativity with the horrors being meted out on Christians in Nigeria, Syria, Iraq and Sudan. “Just like anti-Semitism or Islamaphobia, anti-Christian persecution must be named for the evil that it is, and challenged systematically by people of faith and of no faith,” he exhorted.

And he pledged that an incoming Labour government will establish a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom along with a multifaith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “Supporting the newly appointed Global Envoy, this will help ensure a strong focus within the Foreign Office,” he assures. And he lauded Baroness Warsi for her commitment to faith and human rights and “the leadership she showed and the seriousness with which she took her responsibilities”, which was, he submits, “widely recognised...”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was so impressed with this homily that he dared to tweet it out to his 68.3k followers, which caused alarm and dismay to some condescending Tories, as though Justin Welby were being indelicately partisan and unacceptably inattentive to the constitutional constraints of his Office. He didn’t endorse any specific content: all he said was that it was “good debate”, yet this is inexplicably deemed to be “poor judgment by Lambeth Palace” (though the Palace didn’t tweet it: the Archbishop did).

We’ve been here before, of course. Last Christmas the tweeting was uncharitably critical of the Archbishop for not being “disciplined” in speaking about Jesus, which was laughably unjustifiable.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One example Jackson pointed to was an evocative passage adapted from Tolkien’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” as a poetic account of life after death placed on the lips of Ian McKellen’s Gandalf in “The Return of the King”: “The journey doesn’t end here …. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass …. and then you see it: white shores, and beyond …. a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

This is a lovely gloss on Tolkien — and there are similar spiritually themed touches in the “Rings” movies. Yet in the latest “Hobbit” movie, where Tolkien has a dying character utter the memorable line, “I go now to the halls of waiting to sit beside my fathers, until the world is renewed,” the film version unconscionably omits this line entirely.

Changes like these are sadly typical of the “Hobbit” prequel trilogy, which is far cruder and less sensitive to the charm and beauty of its source material than the “Lord of the Rings” films were. As bad as Christopher Tolkien’s fears in 2012 about “The Hobbit” films might have been, the reality is worse.

Read it all from Crux.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksMovies & Television* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

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Posted December 24, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Archbp Fred] Hiltz also met with Nigel Stock, the bishop at Lambeth, about when and what the next primates’ meeting would look like. Hiltz said that although Welby had invited all primates to indicate support for a meeting, it was unlikely that there would be one before the end of 2015. The primates last met in 2011.

Hiltz also expressed hope that the next primates’ meeting would not be dominated by a single issue. “If we’re going to have a primates’ meeting, we need not ignore the same-sex marriage stuff, but we ought not to allow it to dominate,” he said. “The Archbishop himself said he wants to focus on prayer, evangelism and reconciliation.”

Another significant point of conversation was around the possibility of an Anglican Congress. “I think an Anglican Congress would be a great thing,” said Hiltz. “A Congress that was focussed around the church in and for the world could make for some very interesting conversations.” Although such a Congress would take some time to plan, Hiltz was optimistic about the effects it could have. He noted that the Anglican Consultative Council would have to be the driving force behind it. “It would take a lot of careful planning,” he said, “but I think it is time.” The last Anglican Congress was held in Toronto in 1963.
- See more at: http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/hiltz-and-welby-discuss-marriage-canon-reconciliation#sthash.VXWT2mYW.dpuf
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of CanadaSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryCanadaEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

8 Comments
Posted December 23, 2014 at 7:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all (about 4 minutes).


Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyApologetics

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Posted December 23, 2014 at 6:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In pursuing these goals, the Archbishop cuts a different figure from Rowan Williams, his predecessor. While Lord Williams was a cerebral theologian prone sometimes to obscurity and circumlocution, the current Primate is more of a practical doer, reflecting both his past in industry and his membership of the evangelising wing of the church. He has been a serious voice in the debate on banking ethics. He has also been pragmatic. He did not argue, for example, that the government should step in to quash payday lending. Instead he supported community-based credit unions, which can do a similar job to organisations such as Wonga, but not by charging eye-watering interest rates.

The challenges facing the Archbishop in the year ahead will only grow. Holding together the worldwide Anglican communion, which threatens to split over same sex relationships, will be perhaps his biggest test. At one end of the spectrum, the episcopal church in America has consecrated an openly lesbian bishop. At the other, African bishops have supported harsh anti–gay laws. As the Archbishop recently conceded: “Without prayer and repentance, it is hard to see how we can avoid some serious fractures.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In recent months, Church leaders have expressed concern about the departure of a rising number of Christians from the Middle East.

The civil war in Syria and the advance of so-called Islamic State militants in Iraq have led to appeals for greater support for some of the world's oldest Christian communities.

Read and listen to it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKMiddle EastIsrael

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Posted December 22, 2014 at 8:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Who, in the age of the internet, online gaming, Facebook and 3D televisions would want to move a pointer around on a board in the hope of getting a message from the spirit world?

The astonishing answer is, quite a lot of people! The story turns out to be true. Promoted by an apparently dreadful film (sponsored by Hasbro, the toy firm that holds the rights to Ouija boards), sales of the £20+ boards have gone through the roof. And it’s not just me who is mystified. As Simon Osborne wrote in The Independent: 'What better time to talk to dead people for fun than the festival to celebrate the birth of Jesus?'

Hunger for the supernatural

This is yet another phenomenon reminding us that, for all the bold claims of new atheism that the world is moving into an age of rational thought in which every form of the supernatural is rejected, the 'on the ground' reality is very different. The hunger for the supernatural, the paranormal and the mystical remains intense and almost universal. Indeed, it seems that the more a 'universe without God' is talked up, the more people flock to the supernatural. If atheism is true, it's very odd that no one seems to be following it.

A Ouija board is not, in any way, a game....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

6 Comments
Posted December 22, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Regulations for controversial techniques to create three and four-parent babies have been published.

MPs and Peers will vote early in the new year on allowing the two procedures, Maternal Spindle Transfer (MST) and Pro-Nuclear Transfer (PNT).

MST involves replacing the nucleus in a healthy donor egg with the nuclear DNA from the prospective mother – resulting in a child with DNA from three parents....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 21, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Assembly Members (AMs) were asked to vote on whether they supported the principles of the Assisted Dying Bill.

The answer was a clear and refreshing “No” - it does not support it. Only 12 Assembly Members voted to support it, 21 voted against doing so; 20 abstained.

It was heartening to watch the quality of this debate from the public gallery.

I was particularly impressed by the understanding which many Members showed of a Bill that goes to considerable lengths to dress up what it is proposing in reassuring language (for example, by describing the lethal drugs it would supply to terminally ill people as ‘medicines’) yet makes no effort, beyond stating a handful of vague eligibility conditions, to provide for any serious safeguards to protect vulnerable people from harm.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife Ethics* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Wales* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 21, 2014 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is little doubt that those in favour of changing the law on assisted suicide have talked up a storm. In spite of peers expressing very mixed opinions during debates on the Assisted Dying Bill, the casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that all that remains to be done is to find effective safeguards ensuring that vulnerable individuals are not pressured into requesting assistance for ending their own lives; otherwise the matter is a done-deal. Leaving to one side, the rather important point that finding effective safeguards is proving as elusive as finding the Holy Grail, recent announcements from the medical profession have helped to bring some much-needed perspective to the debate.

The Royal College of Physicians’ recent announcement that, in the light of a thorough survey of its members, it will continue to oppose a change in legislation, is significant...

Read it all and follow the links.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church Commissioners have welcomed the news that they are the UK's second most charitable giver in the publication of City AM's list of the World's top 20 donors.

The list, published this week, named the Church Commissioners as the eighth highest donor in the world - and second in the UK - giving £207.84m in charitable donations to support the Church of England. The total giving, which supports the Church's ministry around the country, is highlighted in the Commissioners annual report for 2013, which announced that the performance of the investment fund exceeded it's target of RPI +5% per annum, returning 15.9% for during the year.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There we are: Evangelicals are hidebound and change-allergic, straining attempts at compromise. Never mind that Archbishop Welby – who, as the Times itself says, "backed the push for female bishops" – is himself widely known as an evangelical.

There's also a glitch in the Times saying that Libby Lane's appointment will test the compromise. If Thomas' concern is male oversight for conservative churches, why wouldn't he be satisfied with a female suffragan who draws her authority from a male bishop? He should have been asked, don’t you think?

Nor does the article's grasp of history sound much better. Not when the story says, "The tradition of all-male bishops dates to the Church of England’s break with Rome five centuries ago, in the days of King Henry VIII."

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted December 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Currently, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Durham, London and Winchester automatically take seats in the House of Lords. The remaining 21 seats are occupied by Bishops in order of seniority (length of service). Under the current system, it would be many years before women bishops were represented in the Lords.

The Government’s Bill, which is supported by the Church of England, proposes a modification of this rule for the next ten years....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 19, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Women bishops would be fast-tracked into the House of Lords, under government proposals set out... [yesterday].

Ministers want to change the law to allow female bishops to take up the "spiritual" seats in the Lords, when they become available.

Usually they are allocated to the most senior or longest-serving bishops.

On Wednesday, Reverend Libby Lane was announced as the first female bishop for the Church of England - a month after a historic change to canon law.

The general synod voted to back plans for female bishops in July and formally adopted legislation on 17 November.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 19, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is an old saying that, ‘Delegation without preparation is abdication’. When someone responds to the call to take up a senior post there is a pressing need and responsibility to prepare them for the demands of the ministry entrusted to them.

This is true especially for diocesan bishops, but also for all other aspects of the episcopacy, for deans, for leaders of large churches and great churches, in theological colleges and so forth. The Green report sets out a process which enables proper preparation for wider responsibility to be held within a clear Christian context of development of personal spirituality and prayer in order to be equipped and also to be dependent on the grace that we receive through the gift of the Spirit. Not to undertake this seriously is to put unreasonable stress on those in positions of leadership, neglecting to love them as we are called to do. In the midst of any vocational call there remains the constant need to remember the sacredness of the human person....

The Church, gathered and dispersed, stands as a holy nation, a royal priesthood, and God’s own people. The Green report is one of a portfolio of reforms being proposed cover the whole range of ministry, or to be accurate, will do once they are fully rolled out over a period of years. They will be introduced at General Synod in February and there will be opportunities for people to engage with and comment on the proposals. The reforms are rooted in a love for the whole people of God. They begin with the recognition that we can’t simply go on as we are if we are to flourish and grow as the Church of England. Our call is not to manage decline.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 19, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fair returns to savers, fair interest rates on loans and the aspiration to be a flagship credit union are among the aims of the Churches' Mutual Credit Union Ltd (CMCU) which has received formal authorisation from the regulatory authorities today. This has been a rigorous process undertaken by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. CMCU plans to begin to offer its services to those eligible for membership from February 2015.

CMCU has been formed for and with the help of the Church of England, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales. CMCU President, Canon Antony MacRow-Wood, said, "I am delighted at the news of authorisation. CMCU will help many, even in its first year of operation and, in due course, it should become a significant financial resource to the church and individuals throughout England, Wales and Scotland. CMCU will enable a virtuous re-cycling of money within the church community, through a combined portfolio of savings and loan products."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe Banking System/Sector* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Development and Appointments Group would like to thank Lord Green for this report and for his leadership of the group charged by us and the Archbishops to review the way in which the Church prepares clergy for senior posts and how they are encouraged to develop and grow in their discipleship and leadership in mission once they are appointed. I would also like to thank the members of various task groups who contributed as ideas were developed, and those who have taken part over the longer term - in shaping source material through being members of nomination panels, participating in diocesan consultations for bishops and deans and participating in research projects. This work has emerged from a long period of reflection on the complexity of senior clerical leadership - a ministry in which we are called to be priests, prophets and theologians as well as to be leaders of Christ' great gift, the Church - a body which needs constant nurturing and stewarding to ensure that its organisational life flourishes and resources our call to mission.

The report challenges the nature and quality of the support currently provided in both areas - a challenge we must take seriously as we become increasingly aware of the extent of the issues facing the Church in its witness to and sharing of the Gospel.

Read it all and follow the link to the full report.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological Education

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Downing Street have today announced that the new Bishop of Stockport - and the first woman bishop in the Church of England - will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter's, Hale, and St Elizabeth's, Ashley.

As Bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minster on Monday 26 January 2015.

Libby Lane was ordained as a priest in 1994 and has served a number of parish and chaplaincy roles in the North of England in the Dioceses of Blackburn, York and Chester. For the past 8 years she has served as Vicar of St. Peter's Hale and St. Elizabeth's Ashley.

She is one of eight clergy women from the Church of England elected as Participant Observers in the House of Bishops, as the representative from the dioceses of the North West.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 17, 2014 at 4:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a speech to the Ecclesiastical Law Society in Westminster that offered a staunch defence of the Church of England as an important counterweight to the upheaval created by successive governments, Mr Grieve said: “The desire for addressing [public] discontent is genuine, but we often seem to lurch from efforts at promoting optimism based on economic indicators to hand-wringing expressions of sympathy with our electorate’s concerns.

“There seems little sign at present that any of these exertions are really helping restore the nation’s confidence in existing or reformed political processes and institutions.”

He seized on plans concocted by Chris Grayling, the justice minister, to repeal the Human Rights Act and found a “British bill of rights”.

“I think this proposal is illustrative of a growing trend, which affects successive governments irrespective of party,” he said. “Those in power are failing to look at issues in the round and in the long term.”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted December 16, 2014 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A radical overhaul of the Church of England's leadership is under way.

A key report, still unpublished, sets out a programme of "talent management" in the Church. The report has been signed off by the two Archbishops, and a £2-million budget has been allocated. It was discussed by all the bishops in September, and the House of Bishops on Monday. A spokesman said on Wednesday that the Bishops "welcomed the implementation plan prepared in the light of those discussions. Details will be published next month."

The Church Times has seen the report, Talent Management for Future Leaders and Leadership Development for Bishops and Deans: A new approach, prepared by a steering group chaired by Prebendary the Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, the former HSBC chairman. It speaks of a "culture change for the leadership of the Church", and outlines a two-stage process.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 12, 2014 at 5:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


Now Charles Dickens’s legendary tale, A Christmas Carol, has been given a new lease of life in a small Yorkshire town.

For unbeknown to many, while the story was set in the fog of London, it was actually the swirling mists of Malton, near York, and a young lawyer from the town, that inspired Dickens to create his haunting tale.

Still a struggling writer, Dickens met Charles Smithson when he was working for a firm of solicitors in London. The two men, both at an early stage in their careers, shared the same mischievous sense of humour and became lifelong friends.

When Smithson later returned home to Yorkshire, Dickens became a regular visitor to his home, staying for three months with Smithson and his wife, Elizabeth. It was during this time that Dickens was working on the idea for A Christmas Carol. He had already created some of the characters but he was looking for a stage to set them on. And local legend has it that it was in his friend’s tiny office that he decided to place Scrooge and Bob Cratchit, and the single coal burning in the grate.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & CultureRural/Town Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Scottish Government has announced that same-sex marriage ceremonies will be possible under the Marriage an d Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act 2014 from 31December 2014.

Under the legislation, marriage is redefined so that two people can marry irrespective of their gender. The Act also allows for the possibility of civil partnerships being registered in the context of a religious ceremony. The Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) is currently in a period of discussion regarding its understanding of same-sex relationships and pending the conclusion of that period of discussion, the College of Bishops has produced
the guidance contained in this note to support and inform clergy and lay readers, as public representatives of the Church, in the exercise of their ministries and in their provision of pastoral care....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesScottish Episcopal Church* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland

0 Comments
Posted December 11, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Williams has waded into the debate over withdrawal from the European Union insisting it could leave the UK “dangerously dependent” on the City.

He said leaving the EU would be a “deeply regressive” step and claimed Britain would have almost nothing else “distinctive” to offer outside it. Going it alone could turn the country into an “offshore financial facility”, he added.

The former Archbishop also said it was also becoming impossible to have a “reasonable conversation” about immigration in the UK at present.

And he suggested that hostility towards the EU was being fuelled by an increasingly assertive sense of English identity, partly as a response to Scottish nationalism.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

6 Comments
Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (just under 16 minutes).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKEurope* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2014 at 6:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged people to reject the culture of consumerism this Christmas and not to feel pressured to lavish expensive gifts on family and friends.

The Most Rev Justin Welby criticised “tit for tat giving” and said that small and meaningful presents gave just the same caring message as those that cost the Earth.

He said that shopping in charity shops, or donating time to loved ones or worthy causes, could be as equally well received and would prevent the sense of dread that accompanies the arrival of credit card bills in the New Year.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmasParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Truro, together with a group of cross-party MPs, has criticised the effectiveness the benefits system in a comprehensive report into Britain's hunger crisis released today.

The Feeding Britain report was published by the all-party parliamentary inquiry into hunger and food poverty, led by Labour MP Frank Field and the Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton, and was compiled with funding from the Archbishop's charitable trust.

The report said that benefit-related problems were the reason most often given for people resorting to a food bank. Problems with the administration of benefits, creating delays or income gaps which create emergency needs were some of the problems cited.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When a family turns to the food bank in a time of need, they are met with warmth and compassion that is qualitatively different to what the state can provide. So when they are provided with food, it acts as a social gateway to a discussion about the wider problems in someone’s life.

We believe this offers a valuable opportunity for us to redesign a fragmented approach to support. We want to help more food banks evolve into hubs where services like debt and welfare advice are in one place, and end the system where people are sent from pillar to post in a constant cycle of referral.

We therefore propose a practical solution. We will bring together the voluntary sector, stakeholders and retailers in a new national voice: Feeding Britain. This will have three key goals that have been difficult to address by individual food banks in isolation. First, we will seek to double the redistribution of surplus food. Second, we will pilot twelve regional hubs that bring local agencies together. Third, we will pilot schemes to tackle school holiday hunger.

Read it all from Frank Field and John Glen.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 9, 2014 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England said it was in the process of filing shareholder resolutions on climate change at BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

"The resolution is intended to challenge the companies to run their businesses so that they participate constructively in the transition to a low carbon economy", The Church of England wrote in a blog. (bit.ly/1tUBUlN)

The Church said it chose BP and Shell because they have the biggest carbon footprints of all the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Read it all and make sure to read the whole C of E blog post also.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock Market* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has advised cash-strapped families in the UK to show they care about loved ones by buying Christmas presents from charity shops or simply showing kindness.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said that although gifts have become an essential part of the festive period, it is not all about financial outlay and people should not feel pressure to match what others give them.

Writing in the Christmas edition of Radio Times, he said people can show they care with offers of babysitting, dinner invitations to the elderly or giving time to the local community.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have spoken to numerous politicians on this, and I know well that, whereas it’s easy to be cynical, the reality is that there are huge numbers of people, both from government and opposition, all across the spectrum of opposition parties, who are absolutely committed to ensuring the wellbeing of their constituents and all the people in their country.

They are guided by a strong moral compass and we need to recognise that and not always be too cynical about what we see our politicians doing. The issue is how you turn that moral compass into practical action.

If we want to understand what is driving people to the point where they will put up with the shame of having to ask for help from a food bank (and people usually arrive with an unjustified sense of shame); if we want to find the practical solutions that will substantially reduce the numbers of people needing to do so; then the only way we can do this is by a collective effort, drawing on the wisdom of politicians from every political background, of food banks, charities and non-profits working in the sector, of retailers and of Government departments.

You might think from some of yesterday’s coverage, and today’s, that the report is asking the Government to move into the food bank sector. It’s not. It is far more interesting and creative than that.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPovertyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2014 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Koran should be read at the next Coronation, says Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the retired Bishop of Oxford. Or at least, he said in the House of Lords, such a reading had gone down very well in Bristol cathedral before a service last year for the mayor and high sheriff, who were both Muslims. The bishop thought, the next Coronation should reflect similar “hospitality”.

This seems to me damagingly misconceived. For a start, look at it from the Muslims’ point of view. The Koran is not just another book, not even one that is holy, as the Bible is held to be by Christians. The Koran is the uncreated word of God. That is the universal belief. It wasn’t composed by Mohammed. It cannot be changed....

The central fact to grasp about the Coronation is that it is not a mere jumble of colourful ceremonial but a service of Holy Communion. Inserted into this is the anointing and crowning of the monarch. This is less clear from films of the Coronation, which cut out, for example, the reception of the Sacrament by the Queen.

The reason for the “privileging” of one religion is simple: the Church of England is established. The monarch is the head of state and the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. It might not seem that the Queen interferes in the running of the Church, but then how much does she interfere in the running of the country? She is a constitutional monarch, but that does not make the constitution unimportant.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2014 at 5:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The British embassy in Cairo suspended public services on Sunday for security reasons, an embassy spokesperson said.

The embassy declined to give more details due to the sensitive nature of the matter but one official said efforts were under way to make sure it could reopen “safely”. It was not clear when the facility would reopen.

The British embassy website said the office of the British Consulate-General in Alexandria was operating as normal.

Days earlier, the US embassy had released a statement warning staff not to stray too far from their homes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKMiddle EastEgypt* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More help is needed to prevent families in the UK going hungry, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

Justin Welby says food is being wasted in "astonishing" amounts, but hunger "stalks large parts" of the country.

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he backed a parliamentary report, to be released on Monday, which aims to end hunger in the UK by 2020.

The report is expected to call for a new publicly-funded body, known as Feeding Britain, to make this happen.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPovertyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A few weeks later in England, I was talking to some people – a mum, dad and one child – in a food bank. They were ashamed to be there. The dad talked miserably. He said they had each been skipping a day’s meals once a week in order to have more for the child, but then they needed new tyres for the car so they could get to work at night, and just could not make ends meet. So they had to come to a food bank.

They were treated with respect, love even, by the volunteers from local churches. But they were hungry, and ashamed to be hungry.

I found their plight more shocking. It was less serious, but it was here. And they weren’t careless with what they had – they were just up against it. It shocked me that being up against it at the wrong time brought them to this stage.

There are many like them. But we can do something about it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchDieting/Food/NutritionPovertyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 7, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What do we make of the latest statistics about cathedral attendances?

I've been a cathedral dean for half my ministry, and was a canon residentiary before that. So I once knew a fair amount about Coventry Cathedral and Sheffield Cathedral. 12 years at Durham completes a trio of three very different cathedrals (and if you count my years as an honorary vicar choral at Salisbury, that makes four).

In the last decade or so, the rhetoric has been that cathedrals are 'a success story of the Church of England'. (Some immodestly replace the indefinite article with the definite.) I've often wondered what this means, and whether success/failure language ought to belong to the way we perceive church life. In the heritage sector, there is now much more talk about the importance of 'intangible values', not just the things we can observe and measure. I'm not the only one to worry that church growth/fresh expressions language is seduced by the easy appeal of measurables ('bums on seats'). I doubt if these are what ultimately matter when it comes to understanding the dynamics of a faith community.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, the report makes it clear that there is no avoiding the need for the exercise of soft power, and in fact the exercise of hard power (from sanctions to the use of violence) is itself only effective as an addition to the impact of soft power. It is soft power in its many ramifications that makes it possible for this country to exert a benevolent and beneficial influence in the world around.

I saw an example of that when at the degree awards ceremony for Coventry University some two or three weeks ago, one of the best modern universities: 60 per cent of students were from overseas; they are a powerful source of earnings, and they will return home with a brilliant education and an exceptional experience of the UK, in most cases they will be our friends for life.

Secondly, the report points especially to the rapid increase in complexity and what it calls hypersensitivity in the modern world. There has been an introduction of information technology, with more than five billion mobile telephones around the world; we have the growth of access to the world-wide web, which means you can sit in Kaduna and look at what is happening in London, you can look at the shops in New York, you have access to cultural influences of the most extraordinary kind; and the possibilities of this both for governments and for non-state actors are ever more powerful with the advent of the sophistication of modern computers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetGlobalizationReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This month marks the tricentennial of the birth of the most famous man in America before the Revolution. George Whitefield, born on Dec. 16, 1714, was a Church of England minister who led the Great Awakening, a series of Christian revivals that swept through Britain and America in the mid-1700s. Whitefield drew enormous audiences wherever he went on both sides of the Atlantic, and his publications alone doubled the output of the American colonial presses between 1739 and 1742. If there is a modern figure comparable to Whitefield, it is Billy Graham. Buteven Mr. Graham has followed a path first cut by Whitefield.

What made Whitefield and his gospel message so famous? First, he mastered the period’s new media. Cultivating a vast network of newspaper publicity, printers and letter-writing correspondents, Whitefield used all means available to get the word out.

Most important, he joined with Benjamin Franklin, who became Whitefield’s main printer in America, even though Franklin was no evangelical. Their business relationship transformed into a close friendship, although Whitefield routinely pressed Franklin, unsuccessfully, about his need for Jesus.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriology

1 Comments
Posted December 5, 2014 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistory* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted December 5, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Writing for Life and Work magazine, he said that churchgoers should embrace digital technology as they set about engaging a new kind of recruit.

He went on: “It might pain me to say it, but it’s time for a radical change and I don’t mean a change of hymns, or a visually aided sermon or a new time of day for traditional forms of worship —– I mean something much more far reaching than that.

“I’m looking for a way of including the many hundreds of people who are fully engaged in the practical and project work that our churches are doing throughout Scotland, but whose belonging to the faith community is not necessarily complemented by regular attendance at Sunday worship.”

Read it all (requires subscription)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterian* Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sir Fred Catherwood, who has died aged 89, was an accountant and businessman who in 1979 became one of the first Conservatives to be elected to the European parliament in Brussels. His life was shaped more directly and profoundly, however, by his evangelical Christian beliefs. He was the sort of pro-European Conservative whose views are almost extinct in the current party and he made little secret of his opposition to the economic price of Thatcherism.

Catherwood’s ecumenism extended to working closely with Labour governments in the 1960s as director general of the National Economic Development Council (NEDC, known in the jargon of the time as Neddy), the ultimately ill-fated attempt to bring management and trade unions together with government to boost Britain’s industrial regeneration. In 1971, the year he stepped down from the post, he was knighted. He transferred that enthusiasm for economic co-operation to Europe, where he ultimately became vice-president of the European parliament (1989-91). For much of this time he also ran weekly Bible classes at Westminster Chapel, the independent evangelical church in central London.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is a fantastic interview by the BBCWS with Denis Brian, author of The Seven Lives of Colonel Patterson How an Irish Lion Hunter Led the Jewish Legion to Victory. Among many other things, he says of Patterson "If you combined Roosevelt, Hemingway and Lawrence of Arabia you might have a man like John Henry Patterson." Listen to it all (about 3 minutes). Careful listeners will also be interested in the quote from Ze’ev Jabotinsky who once said of Patterson: “In all of Jewish history we have never had a Christian friend as understanding and devoted as he.”

Update" you may read more about the book and denis Brian there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--IrelandMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

0 Comments
Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A majority of presbyteries in the Church of Scotland have agreed to a historic legal change, enabling individual congregations to opt out of traditional teaching on marriage and appoint a gay minister who is in a civil partnership.

While official returns will not be released until the new year, it was revealed last night that at least 27 of the 45 voting presbyteries had already accepted the principal of a “mixed economy” within the church, the compromise agreed at this year’s general assembly.

The policy laid out in an “overture” — or proposal — was drawn up as a way of maintaining the doctrinal position of the Church, to the satisfaction of some of its evangelical members, while allowing more liberal congregations to break with tradition and appoint gay clergy.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterianSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted December 4, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"I'm most excited about working to make the [Episcopal] Church something that is important in people's lives," Chittenden said. "It's a complex time in the history of the Church—society's attitude toward the Church is changing, which presents a challenge, but it's an exciting challenge."

[Nils] Chittenden—who came to Duke following eight years of work at the University of Durham, England—said it took some time to understand the philosophy and functioning of an American university. However, he quickly grew to love his work and the people he met at Duke, forming strong relationships across the University.

Part of Chittenden's job involved providing spiritual counseling to anyone who sought it.

"My goal was not to be a chaplain only for Episcopalian students, but a chaplain who could provide an Episcopalian perspective for any students seeking that," Chittenden said.

Read it all.




Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

2 Comments
Posted December 2, 2014 at 3:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What better time to talk to dead people for fun than the festival to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Ouija boards are flying themselves off shelves and under trees this Christmas, according to trends data released by Google. The company has recorded a 300 per cent increase in searches for the spirit-bothering devices, fuelled by a terrible movie that was effectively a feature-length ad for a board game, an appearance on The Archers, and the Victorian belief that if the dead could speak, they would use a plank of a wood and the alphabet.

Ouija, released in October in time for Halloween, was, by all accounts, a cliché-ridden turkey about a group of teenage girls who experiment with a board and get scared. It has a disastrous 7 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the review aggregating site, but became an occult hit, to the delight of its backers. Hasbro, the toy company behind Monopoly, pushed for the revival of the film, which had stalled in development, and partnered with Universal to make it happen. Its Ouija Game, including a glow-in-the-dark version, is – sure enough – the biggest seller online.

Read it all from the Independent. One C of E clergyman is concerned: ‘It’s like opening a shutter in one’s soul and letting in the supernatural,’ says Peter Irwin-Clark, a Church of England vicar who has witnessed the dark side of Ouija. ‘There are spiritual realities out there and they can be very negative.’


Filed under: * Culture-Watch* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

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Posted December 2, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Let my people go." Pope Francis could not have been clearer in his message to Isil: the group’s persecution of Christians in the Middle East has claimed thousands of lives and turned the region into a no-go area for a faith rooted in that soil. Martyrdom has become routine in Christ’s birth place.

In echoing Moses’s plea to the Pharaoh, Francis acknowledged that this kind of dark sectarianism has been part of our history for millennia. Trust an MP to use this tragic history to score a political point. Desmond Swayne, Tory MP for New Forest West and minister for international development, has come out with the crass claim that Isil is acting no worse than Christians have done through the ages.

Swayne’s statement is deeply offensive and morally wrong.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 2, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The next Bishop of Plymouth is to be the Rt Revd Nick McKinnel .

Currently the Bishop of Crediton in Devon, he will be ‘translated’ across back to Plymouth, where he spent 18 years in ministry as Rector of the Minister Church of St Andrews.

He was made Bishop of Crediton in 2012 but his experience of Plymouth made him a good candidate to become the Bishop of the city and the surrounding area, which includes Torbay.

Read it all and you may read more there.

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

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Posted December 2, 2014 at 6:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As many of you on this list are brothers and sisters in Christ who attended Westminster Chapel in the 1950s and 1960s we thought that you might like to know that my father, Frederick Catherwood, one of Dr. Lloyd-Jones's two sons-in-law, passed away very peacefully this morning in Cambridge, England, with my mother holding his hand, which is what she had prayed for. He was 89, and this year was their 60th wedding anniversary. I have pictured him with my mother below, as anyone who knew my father for more than about 5 minutes knew that she was the center of his life here on earth.

Even though my father was in business and politics for most of his life, he always said that the most nervous he had ever been in his life was the day he had to walk down to the front of Westminster Chapel after one of my grandfather's more thundering sermons to ask for his elder daughter's hand in marriage, even though Dr. Lloyd-Jones could not have been more gracious or delighted!

Read it all and enjoy the picture.





Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 2, 2014 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can find a bit in Wikipedia here and a J.I. Packer article on Sir Fred Catherwood+Britain's Evangelical Alliance in 1994 there.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted December 1, 2014 at 8:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The debate about the monarchy will spring back to life when Her Majesty the Queen dies, as sadly we all must, but the next coronation will still be a huge state occasion, a moment that redefines the nation. That is why, for the first time, people of other faiths will be invited to take part.

That's a fact, in my understanding, although the Church of England will not yet admit it. The Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders who will devise and put on the service refuse to talk about a future coronation publicly, saying that to do so while the Queen is still alive would be "very improper". But privately, in conversations over the past 18 months, they have told me they accept the need to be "hospitable" to other faiths.

So Muslims, Hindus, Jews and others can expect an invitation to play some part in this grand occasion, which has been explicitly and exclusively Christian for a thousand years.

This dramatic shift will dismay traditionalists, as did Lord Harries on Friday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther Churches

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Posted December 1, 2014 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The former Bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, has said readings from the Koran should feature in the next Coronation, when Prince Charles succeeds to the Throne.

In a debate on the role of religion in British public life, Lord Harries, now an independent peer, praised what he called "the hospitality" shown in a service last year at Bristol Cathedral.

However, Douglas Murray, author and associate editor of The Spectator, disagreed saying: "A lot of people will think this is an example of Anglican leaders not having faith in their own faith."

Listen to it all (6 minutes).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

3 Comments
Posted November 29, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My love for the Prayer Book began in very early childhood, before I could read - when I could only listen to it. Of course, it was the only book used then. Later, when I could read, during long, boring sermons I would read it and specially loved the instructions - for instance, those to priests for giving holy communion in time of pestilence. That conjured up pictures in my childish mind of the priest walking with the sacred vessels through the almost deserted village, almost certainly to become ill himself; or the prayers for when in danger on the sea, knowing that they would have been read by everyone on board, and the ship would almost certainly founder.

There is so much history, romance, and great beauty in it. And the prayers like the General Thanks­giving and the prayers after com­mun­ion are so superb that they meet my need in praying much better than my own words do, and I still use them in private prayer.

I enjoy services in other denom­inations, like those of the Reformed Church, or going to a Roman Catholic mass with a friend - but what is essential to me is an atmos­phere of devotion and concentration on God. If there's a great deal of happy-clappy singing and an­nounce­ments of birthdays, and so on, I can see that it binds people together, but I don't personally find it's useful to me. I want silence, so I can concentrate on God - not just talking to him and giving him a list of my requirements.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Laity* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & Literature* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

1 Comments
Posted November 29, 2014 at 8:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

She was born Phyllis Dorothy James on Aug. 3, 1920, in Oxford, the eldest of three children of Dorothy and Sidney James, a civil servant who did not believe in inflicting too much education on his daughter. The family settled in Cambridge when she was 11, and before she left the Cambridge High School for Girls, at 16, she already knew that she wanted to be a writer and that mysterious death intrigued her.

“When I first heard that Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall,” she was fond of saying, “I immediately wondered: Did he fall — or was he pushed?” But a marriage to Ernest C. B. White, a medical student, and World War II halted her plans for a writing career.

Ms. James gave birth to the first of her two daughters in 1942, during a bombing blitz. She served as a Red Cross nurse during the war. When her husband returned from military service with a mental disability, marked by bouts of violence, that kept him confined to hospitals, Ms. James was forced to support her family. She went to work for the National Health Service and attended classes in hospital administration.

It took her three years to write her first mystery novel, “Cover Her Face,” by working in the early morning, hours before going to her hospital job. She was 42 when it was published in Britain in 1962. (Like many of her books, it was published in the United States later.) The realistic hospital settings of three early novels, “A Mind to Murder” (1963), “Shroud for a Nightingale” (1971) and “The Black Tower” (1975), owe much to her 19 years of administrative experience with the National Health Service.

Read it all.

Update: Terry Mattingly has rightly noted the Times missed pursuing her serious faith as part of the story.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchBooksChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPoetry & LiteratureWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 28, 2014 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Crime novelist PD James, who penned more than 20 books, has died aged 94.

Her agent said she died "peacefully at her home in Oxford" on Thursday morning.

The author's books, many featuring sleuth Adam Dalgliesh, sold millions of books around the world, with various adaptations for television and film.

Her best known novels include The Children of Men, The Murder Room and Pride and Prejudice spin-off Death Comes to Pemberley.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

5 Comments
Posted November 27, 2014 at 12:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The family of Lee Rigby have said they hold Facebook partly responsible for his murder, after a report found it failed to take action over an online chat in which one of the killers vowed to slay a soldier.

The Intelligence and Security Committee’s long-awaited report yesterday labelled an unnamed internet company, widely reported to be Facebook, a “safe haven for terrorists” because it did not flag up the online exchange between Michael Adebowale and a foreign jihadist, which took place five months before Fusilier Rigby’s murder.

The parliamentary watchdog’s chair Sir Malcolm Rifkind stated that the web firm could have made a difference by raising the conversation, and said there was “a significant possibility that MI5 would have been able to prevent the attack” as Adebowale would have become “a top priority.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all (only 5 1/4 minutes) and see what you make of it.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

1 Comments
Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I'd buy paracetamol rather than food" says 16-year-old Alice, addicted to painkillers, who can purchase an amazing quantity thereof on her way to school.

Listen to it all (26 1/2 minutes) and you can read a bit about Sally Marlow there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sunday morning is an inconvenient time for church services because people are busy shopping and doing DIY, the Church of England has admitted.

Worshippers are increasingly turning their backs on the centuries-old practice of attending worship on Sundays because of other leisure and social “commitments”, it said.

The admission came alongside new figures showing that attendances at midweek services in cathedrals have doubled in a decade while numbers in the pews in parishes on Sundays continue to fall.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, said many people still crave quiet reflection, but are seeking out less “pressurised” times in the week to worship than Sunday mornings.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

4 Comments
Posted November 25, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The number of people attending midweek services at cathedrals has doubled in the past 10 years, show new figures published today from the Church of England's Research and Statistics department. One of the factors attributed is the need for a place of peace in increasingly busy lives.

Midweek attendance at cathedrals was 7,500 in 2003 rising to 15,000 in 2013 (compared to 12,400 in 2012). In a Church of England podcast published today the Dean of Lichfield, Adrian Dorber, said he has seen the need for people wanting a short snatch of peace midweek in what are now very pressurised lifestyles. "At the weekend you've got commitments with children doing sport, shopping, household maintenance - life's run at the double these days and weekends are very pressurised and committed. Taking out half an hour or an hour every week is much more negotiable."

Anecdote to Evidence research published earlier this year showed that that the highest motivating factors for Cathedral attendance were peace and contemplation, worship and music and friendly atmosphere.

Read it all.

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

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Posted November 24, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“I’m Nur. I’m 19. I’m an Arab, I’m a Muslim,” says a young man in a hoodie and grey sweats. “I’m a good person living in a bad area,” he pauses and looks up from his script. “Can someone listen while I speak?” Nur asks.

This is a rehearsal for Conflict of Silence, a radio play to be performed — and recorded — in Birmingham on November 17. The three stars, all unemployed, are different ages and of different ethnic backgrounds. What they share is religious faith: Derek, who reads his script straight, then in West Indian patois, is Christian. Nur and Hanna, a tall, leggy girl in a magenta hijab, are Muslim. And they could not be more different. “What I’ve learnt is the strong effect that different cultures have on Islam,” says Derek. Hanna is of Somali origin, Nur’s family are from Yemen. “We had a bit of a disagreement about women staying at home,” says Hanna lightly.

And that is the point. This is a project for InterFaith Week (which runs from tomorrow until next Satuday), and the aim is to air differences and have open debate. The audience will be invited to respond afterwards, ask questions, share thoughts. “The play is a question mark rather than a full stop,” says Steve, the Christian co-ordinating the play for Soul City Arts. The hope is to spark dialogue between polarised faith communities. He explains: “Our [faith] communities aren’t talking because we are afraid to challenge each other.” People remain polite, he adds, but, often in Muslim majority areas, community relations are perceived “as a question of them and us”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted November 20, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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