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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and prayers today for our community. Our prayers are with the family of Deacon Terry Star. Deacon Terry left this earth for the glories of heaven on March 4. His death was unexpected, caused by a heart attack that likely happened suddenly and peacefully in the night or early morning hours of March 4.
Read it all and enjoy the pictures.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Executive Council * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
The National Council of FIFNA endorses and affirms the ACNA College of Bishops’ statement (See below) issued on Feb 25, 2014, regarding the invitation to Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach at Nashotah House.
In the interest of restoring “the trust that this particular invitation has seriously shaken,” we request that the invitation either be rescinded or that the venue be changed to an academic lecture by Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori in a non-liturgical context, followed by a time for discussion and response.
Read it all
Read it all
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Violence * International News & Commentary Middle East Syria * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Please take the time to read them in order (from bottom to top). An excerpt follows:
My experience at both Trinity and Nashotah House has led me to conclude:
1. You can be an Anglican seminary outside the control of the Episcopal Church and still survive.
2. You cannot be a seminary in the Episcopal Church and remain orthodox.
In witness to that, I point to the following news I received today: Bishop Iker Resigns in Protest From Nashotah House Board (because Bp. Salmon has invited Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach in Nashotah House's Chapel), an event that is shocking and tragic to many alumni.
Just as my "getting the House in Trouble" by reaching out to the AMiA and the ACNA and starting a congregation in the seminary chapel may have been the low point (as some would reckon it) of my deanship, the scandal of inviting Katharine Jefferts Schori to preach in the seminary chapel will probably go down as the low point of Bp. Salmon's deanship. I can only say that I would put the low point of my deanship up against the low point of Bp. Salmon's deanship any day. (I would also gladly compare the high points of my deanship with the high points of his.)
In Bp. Salmon's first interview as Dean and President, Doug LeBlanc reported:
Salmon said he plans to strengthen relationships, both among seminary faculty and staff and between the seminary and bishops of the Episcopal Church. (Emphasis added.)
Well, now we see where that has led, don't we? Salmon is further quoted as saying,
"The name of leadership is relationships - people connecting with each other and working together," he said. "Our broken relationships in the Church are a testimony against the Gospel."
No, Bishop, the heterodoxy of the Episcopal Church, in general, and of Katharine Jefferts Schori, in particular, are a testimony against the Gospel. We are called to separate ourselves from false teachers; and a shepherd, whether of a diocese, a parish, or a seminary, is called to protect his flock from wolves. In the words of the ordination vows Bishop Salmon took: “Are you ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine contrary to God’s Word; and both privately and openly to call upon and encourage others to do the same?” To lead a seminary like Nashotah House in these days, and to fail to keep that ordination vow, is to see your seminary turn into another Seabury-Western, or General, or worse.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori * South Carolina * Theology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
Watch it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis - Anglican: Latest News Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Over the past several years, the U.S. Episcopal Church has filed church property lawsuits against churches and dioceses that have chosen to cut ties with the denomination over theological differences. Conservative Episcopalians have left, denouncing what they believe is the denomination's departure from scriptural authority and traditional Anglicanism....
Anglican Church of North America Archbishop Robert Duncan told Institute on Religion and Demography, "This is a tragic and unwise decision that threatens the future of Nashotah House." Duncan also serves on the seminary's Board of Trustees.
The seminary's dean, Salmon, explained that the decision came after Deacon Terry Star of North Dakota, a student at Nashotah and member of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, said that Schori had advised him against attending the seminary. Two other female Episcopal students said they were also discouraged from attending the seminary. "All three said she should be invited to come and see ACNA and TEC in harmony," Salmon said, according to IRD. "No one here is fighting with anybody."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * Theology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Sacramental Theology Seminary / Theological Education
More than a quarter of students graduating in 2011 with a Master of Divinity degree had more than $40,000 in theological debt and 5 percent were more than $80,000 in the red, a new study found.
Many of these students discovered that not only they or their spouses had to moonlight to make ends meet, but some had to choose another job besides the ministry to pay the bills, according to the study by the Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn Theological Seminary.
Several seminaries already realize the days of balancing budgets by raising tuition may be coming to an end.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Seen here as well as provided via email through multiple sources:
"BISHOP IKER HAS RESIGNED AS A TRUSTEE on the Nashotah House Board, where he has served for the past 21 years. This action was taken in protest of the Dean's invitation to the Presiding Bishop of TEC to be a guest preacher in the seminary's chapel. Citing the lawsuits initiated by her against this Diocese, Bishop Iker notified the Board that he "could not be associated with an institution that honors her." Similarly, Bishop Wantland has sent notification that he "will not take part in any functions at Nashotah" nor continue "to give financial support to the House as long as the present administration remains." He is an honorary member of the Board (without vote) and a life member of the Alumni Association."
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Virginia Theological Seminary Dean Ian S. Markham caused a stir last year after giving a provocatively titled address at the Diocese of Delaware convention on “The Myth of the Decline of the Episcopal Church.”
Recalling that the denomination was not in a state of decline in the 1990s, Markham insisted that the Episcopal Church was primed for a turnaround after shedding hundreds of thousands of members in the 2000s. The address was met alternately with appreciation and incredulity from different corners of the Anglican/Episcopal blogosphere.
Markham has been a voice unabashedly predicting a positive future for the shrinking denomination. But now the institution Markham leads – the largest of the Episcopal Church’s 11 accredited seminaries — may itself be seeing a decline in support.
Read it all.
[ Robert Nash]... participated in a delegation of American scholars to Iran led by Conscience International founder James Jennings.
The purpose was to meet with Iranian counterparts to discuss a wide range of topics and to make arrangements for future academic exchanges. The visit was made possible by recent diplomatic breakthroughs between Iran’s more moderate government and the United States.
Nash said he arrived home Jan. 26 encouraged that there are government and university officials in Iran who seem inclined to build on improved relations with the United States.
“I was surprised at the number of officials in the Iranian government that were trained and educated in American universities, with PhDs from places like UCLA, Boston University, Notre Dame — one after another,” he said.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Middle East Iran * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Churches Baptists * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Primates from across Africa are meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, this weekend to discuss the Church's role in promoting stability across the continent.
The meeting has been organised by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) to enable Primates to “positively engage with each other in their various contexts of their calling, to become drivers of dialogue around pertinent issues in their respective countries.”
“Africa [is] a land of great promise but we are still riddled with all kinds of challenges,” said CAPA General Secretary, Canon Grace Kaiso. “The Church in my view is indispensable in finding solutions to Africa's problems. So am anticipating some deep reflection to take place and clear mechanisms to be developed for the Primates to carry the agreed tasks forward....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Primates * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
Harvard professor Laura Nasrallah's edX online course "Early Christianity: The Letters of Paul," has been called the largest and most concentrated scholarly discussion of Biblical studies in history, according to edX.
Nasrallah told The Huffington Post via email, "The day the course launched was astonishing—like drinking from a fire hose. The edX discussion threads couldn't handle the amount of people who were commenting, and crashed and slowed down. More people participated on Poetry Genius that day than ever before—the apostle Paul beat out Beyonce!"
edX is a massive online open course (MOOC) platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012. It's a non-profit that delivers university-level course material to a global audience for free.
Read it all.
The e-reader may be old hat in some countries but South Africa's Anglican leader plans to use them in training seminarians.
The Anglican archbishop of Southern Africa launched his project to "promote electronic learning in dioceses" in South Africa's Western Cape province at the local residential college for ordinands involving e-readers on January 28.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba launched the new initiative when he opened and blessed a new Centre for Reflection and Development at his official residence and offices in Cape Town.
Read it all.
Thanks to Trinity School for Ministry
His message was simple, but powerful: Jesus first.
As students at Fuller Seminary go through their education and discover new favorite theologians, favorite professors, favorite pastors, or favorite authors, Provost Doug McConnell cautioned them to never forget who is first.
Preaching from 1 Corinthians 1:10-18 in which the Apostle Paul warns against divisions in the church, McConnell said that it is natural for people to make affinities to certain things. Many tribes and nations have totems that symbolize characteristics that are important to their culture, he said.
Read it all and note the option to watch the whole address.
These Mere Anglicanism 2014 speakers have agreed to speak or preach at the following churches on Sunday:
Dr. Denis Alexander
Christ St. Paul’s/Yonges Island
Professor Peter John Kreeft
St. John’s Parish/Johns Island
Professor John C. Lennox
Parish Church of St. Helena/Beaufort
Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
St. Michael’s Church/Charleston
Students under 30 still make up the largest age cohort in seminaries, according to the Association of Theological Schools. But older students are growing in representation among 74,000 or so students pursuing a seminary degree from an institution associated with the agency that accredits graduate schools of theology. The percentage of students over 50 enrolled in a seminary rose to about 21% in 2011 from 12% in 1995. The percentage of students under 30 has hovered at around 30% during the same period.
Older students bring some advantages to churches, including congregations that may not be able to afford a pastor who seeks a sizable salary, says Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools. Older pastors may have a pension from a previous career and may not carry as much debt as younger candidates.
"Those who are older identify with what people who are going through because they bring a lot of life experience," Mr. Aleshire says. "They may not have the energy, but they may be more skilled overall."
Read it all.
Courage...is the indispensable requisite of any true ministry.... If you are afraid of men and a slave to their opinion, go and do something else. Go make shoes to fit them. Go even and paint pictures you know are bad but will suit their bad taste. But do not keep on all of your life preaching sermons which shall not say what God sent you to declare, but what they hire you to say. Be courageous. Be independent.
----Phillips Brooks, Lectures on Preaching, the 1877 Yale Lectures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), p. 59
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
The Vancouver School of Theology (VST) is selling its Iona Building, in the theological neighbourhood of the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus, to UBC for an agreed price of $28 million.
The deal has yet to be finalized by both sides, but the schools announced in a joint press release that UBC plans to take possession of the building in July 2014 and begin using the facility, which will house UBC’s Vancouver School of Economics.
VST, an independent theological school, plans to use part of the proceeds of the sale to continue its existing operations as a theological college at UBC and to set aside a substantial portion of the remainder in an endowment that will generate income to support professional and pastoral training. It retains ownership of nearby Somerville House and Chapel of the Epiphany. The Iona Building was built in 1927 on land leased from UBC for 999 years.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Economics, Politics Economy Housing/Real Estate Market * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
This is what you call a good problem to have.
You may read about the conference there.
Beeson Divinity School has joined the ranks of non-Episcopal seminaries that offer credits in Anglican studies. Beeson, an interdenominational seminary founded in 1988, is one of eight schools of Samford University, a Southern Baptist school in Birmingham.
In its fall semester Beeson launched a Certificate of Anglican Studies for students pursuing a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in theological studies. The 15-credit program requires one course in doctrine and ethics with an Anglican focus; two practicums (normally completed in Anglican congregations); and two Anglican-themed electives.
The certificate program is taking root as more of Beeson’s 160 full-time students are becoming Anglicans during graduate school, said Graham Cole, Anglican professor of divinity, who directs the program.
Read it all but before you do guess the percentage of Beeson's student body who claim to be Anglican (no fair peeking).
You may need to enlarge the page to see it better; I sure did; KSH.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Books * Theology Anthropology Christology Seminary / Theological Education
Watch it all--thoughtfully and carefully.
I read some C.S. Lewis, I read a good deal of the Bible, and I read a number of books of all schools of thought relating to Christian faith. Two years on after this started, a friend of mine who had gone to university a year before I was due to go, he got suddenly converted through the Intervarsity [IV] people, and when next we met, and thereafter, he took it on himself to try and explain to me that I didn’t have faith. By then I had got to the point where I was prepared to stand up for the creed in debate—we had a 12th grade atheist; most schools do—and we used to have fairly intense arguments. I argued for truth of the creed and I took for granted that since I believed the creed, that’s what it meant to have faith as this friend of mine naturally had. Came the day when I was due to go up to Oxford and he said very quickly before he went off to the university where he was studying, “I haven’t been able to explain it to you very well, but when you get to Oxford, link up with the Intervarsity people. They will be able to make it clearer than I have been able to do.”
At Oxford the Intervarsity people were out on the hunt and we met right at the beginning of my time. They organized a periodic evangelistic preaching service at the university. The first such preaching service that I attended the sermon lasted three-quarters of an hour and was preached by an elderly gentleman who within the first 20 minutes bored me. Then he started telling at length the story of his own conversion and suddenly everything became clear. I am not a person who gets much in the way of visions or visuals, but the concept called up a picture which was there in my mind was that here I am outside of the house and looking through the window and I understand what they are doing. I recognize the games they are playing. Clearly they are enjoying themselves, but I am outside. Why am I outside? Because I have been evading the Lord Jesus and His call.
Read it all (my emphasis).
I found a divinity school…[where] we didn’t come to the Bible until about two weeks before commencement….[and as a result of my theological education]…during the first years of my ministry what I knew about God kept me from God….
[Later when I was reading I learned that] Rembrandt had a powerful painting on… [the subject of the raising of Lazarus in John 11], and it was quite obvious that Lazarus was not being raised in spirit only. The reanimated and bandaged corpse was realistically coming to life. Then I happened to turn to the back of the painting to see what the critic said of it. Critics have done much harm, but the words of that critic left there helped me into the Lord's bright blessing: “Rembrandt did everything he could think of to intensify the miracles of Christ.” I had intended to dampen their effect, but Rembrandt did everything he could think of to enhance them, to give them glory. For some reason those words of that unknown critic did me in. From then on, I too tried to do everything I could think of to intensify the effect of the miracles. When I turned that page, I changed sides….I had never raised my voice in.. [the] Presbyterian pulpit [in the parish where I served] before, but that day, since John said Jesus shouted, I shouted… [the words “Lazarus, Come out!”] as loudly as I could. And for the first time in my life someone asked me for a copy of my sermon.
--David Redding, Jesus Makes Me Laugh (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), pp.14-18, my emphasis
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Presbyterian * Theology Christology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
While at Taizé, I felt called by God to choose the unique experience of spending the week in silence. This meant that I would join a small group of other pilgrims staying in the quiet and quaint village of Taizé in a house near the main grounds. The accommodations were simple and comfortable, providing a private room to be fully immersed in the gift of silence.
Spending a week in silence may not immediately sound like the kind of experience to put at the top of your bucket list. Yet this experience was so formational, I would not hesitate to do it again. It was initially challenging to allow my mind to become quiet and my spirit to settle, but after the first few days, my rhythm became one of great joy in silence. I would spend the morning reading scripture and in the afternoon, I would take time for personal prayer, enjoy a holy nap, and walk through the beautiful French countryside. While the days themselves seemed to pass slowly, the week went by very quickly.
Besides the inspiring prayer services, a poignant part of my week was sitting at the table and sharing meals with my fellow pilgrims. We gathered for meals in a beautiful common room that overlooked the hills of Burgundy. As each meal began, the aroma of freshly peeled tangerines filled the room. The only spoken words that broke the silent fellowship were the Taizé prayers we sang before eating. Each face around the table was of a different nationality—French, German, American, and others. As we served each other in the sacred silence, the real blessing was that we spoke the common language of service to one another. In these moments at mealtime, it was as if I were joining Jesus and the disciples at the table of servanthood.
Read it all.
Listen to it all (just under 24 minutes).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education * Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
You can imagine how my heart raced. I was told that the amount exceeded $500,000 – an unheard of sum in those days. (It actually ended up being well above that – but read on.) There was just one hitch: The man had insisted in his will that the money go only for the seminary education... [under conditions we could not honor].
Still, I didn’t want to let go of an obvious windfall. When the board finally met, they debated the pros and cons, and I made the case for it as best I could. But quietly, I did have my misgivings. When one of our trustees, a bishop, said, “This has the smell of sulphur about it,” I realized the die was cast: We could not accept the gift.
Read it all.
Young people are being given a taste of life behind the dog collar with the launch of the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme (CEMES), run by the Ministry Division.
The scheme, which began with a pilot phase...this September in four dioceses, is a one year programme of theological teaching, practical experience and personal development for young people aged 18-30 who are considering future ministry in the church. The scheme was set up to encourage more young people to consider being involved in ministry and focus on the nine criteria used in the selection of clergy.
The scheme is currently being run in the dioceses of Sodor and Man, Newcastle, Peterborough and the Stepney area of London. Ministry Division are working with 15 more dioceses interested in the scheme, with a view to provide a CEMES programme in every diocese.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Designed to inspire a passion for academic theology and encourage students towards studying theology at university, the event was attended by 150 A-level students from Church of England secondary schools and was opened by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres.
The Bishop of London kicked off the event by speaking of his personal journey into theology and towards God as a result of his own family's experience.
Read it all.
An African bishop, whose appointment as dean of a foundation at Dartmouth College was rescinded over his past comments about homosexuality, has been named a fellow at a Massachusetts divinity school.
Bishop James Tengatenga of Malawi will serve as a Presidential Fellow at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge for six months starting in January 2014, the school said in a statement on Monday.
Read it all.
A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Purves received degrees in philosophy and divinity from the University of Edinburgh, and a Th.M. from Duke Divinity School. His Ph.D. is from the University of Edinburgh. Purves came to the US in 1978 and was ordained by Philadelphia Presbytery. He served as minister of the Hebron Presbyterian Church, Clinton, Pa., until 1983, when he was called to join the faculty of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Purves has a long list of publications, both books and articles, academic and popular. His books include The Search for Compassion: Spirituality and Ministry, Union in Christ (with Mark Achtemeier), A Passion for the Gospel (with Achtemeier), Encountering God: Christian Faith in Turbulent Times (with Charles Partee), Pastoral Theology in the Classical Tradition, Reconstructing Pastoral Theology: A Christological Foundation, The Crucifixion of Ministry, and The Resurrection of Ministry.
The Jean and Nancy Davis Chair of Historical Theology was established at Pittsburgh Seminary in 2013.
Read it all from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and make sure to see who founded the chair--a great story.
For members of St. Michaels (Charleston, S.C.), there is a rare treat in store… Peter will be attending a book signing as part of the release of his latest book From Dry Bones: Reflections on an Unpredictable Life. In his new memoir, Peter takes us behind the scenes of his life—a life of tireless work for the Lord, filled with twists and turns, and a resume of Christ-focused efforts that can be attributed only to a man filled (and energized) by the Holy Spirit. - See more at: http://www.stmichaelschurch.net/peter-moores-new-book-special-book-signing-sunday-november-17th/#sthash.dd99qK3m.dpuf
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Books * South Carolina * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana (UG), has advocated massive investment in the manufacturing industry in Africa to boost the economy and create more jobs.
He said an African country that does not create jobs would always be dependent on other countries who would in turn demand the enforcement of their own policies which may not be the best for the country.
Prof Aryeetey expressed the view at the second of two series of the 7th Archbishop LeMaire Memorial Lectures on the theme: "The Changing State in Africa and Christian Leadership," at the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Cape Coast.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life * International News & Commentary Africa Ghana * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
The Certificate of Anglican Studies aims to help the student deepen in the knowledge of Anglican belief, practice, worship, and spirituality.
This certificate is only awarded with the successful completion of either the M.Div. or M.A.T.S. degree through Beeson Divinity School. Certain courses completed within those degree programs also count towards the C.A.S and are outlined below. Some of the courses that satisfy the requirements are taught exclusively in January and Summer terms.
Read it all.
There is also a sacramental, and even an institutional dimension to the church’s unity. Paul specifically connects the trinitarian unity of the church to the sacrament of baptism: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Eph. 4:5). Paul also writes: “he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”(Eph. 4:12). In Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, he speaks of the distinctive role that has been given to the apostles and their successors: “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (John 17:18). Jesus also prays, “I do not ask for these only, bu also for those who will believe in me through their word” (v. 20). If all that talk about truth and love speaks to the Evangelical dimension of the church, then truth and love are embodied concretely in the church in its catholic dimensions. There is no church without sacraments and gathered worship. There is no church without an ordered ministry that continues the task of the apostles.
And, finally, the unity of the church has a missional purpose. The church is distinct from the world, and yet has a mission to the world. In the concluding words of Jesus’ prayer, he states the purpose of the church’s unity. On the one hand, the church is distinct from those who are not the church. Jesus says: “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am of the world” (John 17:14). At the same time, Jesus also prays that the church may be one for the sake of the world: “that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (v. 23). The church’s call is to let the world know of the love with which the Father and the Son love each other, the love that dwells in the church because the church is one with Christ, and the church is the body of Christ, the body whose head is Christ, the body that grows so that “it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16). And the world will not know of this love if the church is not one, and if the members of the church do not love one another.
That is a very brief outline of the theology of the church that we find in the readings in Ephesians and John’s gospel. This outline has a lot in common with the different understandings of the church that I mentioned earlier. A church whose unity is grounded in the truth and love of the Trinity will be a church where the word is rightly preached and the sacraments rightly administered.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Preaching / Homiletics * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations * Theology Ecclesiology Seminary / Theological Education
Not long ago, United Theological Seminary (UTS) in the Dayton, Ohio area was just another declining, has-been mainline seminary, facing ominous financial hardships, dominated by Scripture-demoting theological liberalism, and reflective of so much of what was wrong with its shrinking sponsoring denomination, the United Methodist Church. The former seminary of the Evangelical United Brethren (which merged with the Methodist Church to form the United Methodist Church in 1968) was founded by Bishop Milton Wright, father of the famed Wright brothers.
Today, the school is a very different place than what many alumni experienced. It is now explicitly committed to a high view of biblical authority, “the historic Christian faith,” “the cultivation of holiness,” and “the renewal of the church.” Rev. Dr. Wendy Deichmann, UTS’s president since 2008, openly associates with the Confessing Movement within the United Methodist Church, an evangelical caucus group with which IRD’s UMAction program has worked closely over the years. Applicants for faculty positions must be explicitly committed “to the historic Christian faith.”
God has clearly been blessing this new direction under the leadership of President Deichmann.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General Senate * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
“Because of our unique witness and commitment to introducing our students to the historic English choral tradition, with its rich and varied approach to change-ringing, the gift of these magnificent bells will enhance our work and common life together,” said Canon Joseph A. Kucharski, professor of church music.
Change-ringing is common in England, where there are more than 5,000 towers, but there are fewer than 50 such towers in the United States.
Read it all.
On October 9, 2013, Judge Thomas H. Ortbal of the Adams County Circuit Court entered a final judgment against ECUSA and its (no-longer-existent) "Diocese of Quincy". The judgment decrees and declares that the Anglican Diocese of Quincy is the sole owner of its real and personal property, including approximately $4 million in its bank accounts that has been frozen ever since ECUSA first wrote a letter to its bank in January 2009.
In order to keep the funds frozen, ECUSA had filed a motion to stay enforcement of the judgment pending its appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeals. It also filed a motion to substitute, in place of its former "Diocese of Quincy", the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, into which the former Diocese of Quincy merged ecclesiastically effective September 1.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Quincy * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Seitz asks, "If a new liturgical rite, a new metro-political PB, and probably a new constitution (in the case of TEC, reinforcing a new polity) are now part of the agenda of the new season, will dioceses and parishes be permitted to do what has been done up until this new time, as the church inhabited this time and space previously?" I think the recent history of the Diocese of South Carolina, as well as several other dioceses, has already given us an answer to that question.
When I read Seitz' statement, "Let justice and mercy kiss each other, as conservatives are permitted to remain on familiar trails, while the larger Episcopal and Anglican bodies in North America forge ahead where they believe God is calling them. If in time they part ways, at least it could happen in a spirit of charity and loving-kindness," I feel as though I am reading something written in 1998, not 2013.
If in time they part ways??? Hello? There is already a parting of the ways....
Read it all.
Do ministers of congregations need to go to seminary?
Not that long ago, historically speaking, this was a perfectly fair question. Today, it’s becoming a point of debate again....
What is changing is a movement in two directions with a single, general effect. On the one hand, nondenominational churches are springing up, with many of the larger, or “megachurch,” institutions having no affiliation with a denominational certification body. Therefore they have no specific requirement for a bachelor’s degree or Bible college certificate of one sort or another. Each non- or undenominational congregation can hire whom it chooses, and even ordain or not ordain as seems right and proper for its history and sense of tradition.
Read it all.
In 1995, Mark Noll opened his The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind with an unflattering observation: "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind."
Now, almost two decades later, has anything changed? In a new roundtable video, three Christian higher education presidents—Michael Lindsay, Albert Mohler, and Philip Ryken—consider evidences of a recovered and maturing evangelical mind in the years since Noll's landmark work.
"We're no longer trying to prove ourselves, trying to get a seat at the table," observes Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts. "I think evangelicals have demonstrated they can do the highest level of scholarship in fields like history, philosophy, and sociology."
Read it all and watch the video also.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Mary MacGregor, who heads the diocese’s Iona School, said programs like theirs and the Bishop Kemper School are what the church needs. She noted that in the Diocese of Wyoming, one of the Iona partners, 90 percent of their priests are bivocational. And the need for local education programs will only grow, she said.
“This is the movement that is going on in the church. There will be more internal schools in the Episcopal Church,” she said. And while quality content is essential, it isn’t the only requirement, she said. “We have to have a mix of quality, accessibility and do-ability.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Mr. [Daryl] Walters is a graduate of one of the most unusual prison programs in the country: a Southern Baptist Bible college inside this sprawling facility, offering bachelor’s degrees in a rigorous four-year course that includes study of Greek and Hebrew as well as techniques for “sidewalk ministry” that inmates can practice in their dorms and meal lines.
There are 241 graduates so far, nearly all lifers who live and work among their peers. Dozens of graduates have even moved as missionaries to counsel or preach in other prisons.
But Burl Cain, the warden since 1995, says the impact has gone well beyond spreading religion among the inmates. He calls the Bible college central to the transformation of Angola from one of the most fearsome prisons in the country to one of the more mellow, at least for those deemed to be cooperative. Watching men quietly saunter from open dormitories to church, many with Bible in hand and dressed in T-shirts of their choice, it can hardly seem like a maximum-security facility, although multiple daily lineups for inmate counts are a reminder.
Read it all.
(Please note that this is a follow up to this article posted on the blog September 22--KSH).
A Methodist minister who resigned her pulpit last year after deciding that she was no longer a believer, and who was recently hired by a humanist group based at Harvard to help build congregations of nonbelievers throughout the country, has acknowledged fabricating aspects of her educational background.
The former minister, Teresa MacBain, whose crisis of faith was described in the On Religion column last Saturday, claimed she had earned a master of divinity degree from Duke University.
She had also listed that degree in the résumé she submitted to the Humanist Community at Harvard in the course of being hired as director of its Humanist Community Project. In addition, she had made references to the degree in previous public statements, some of which were reported online.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Education Media Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Secularism * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
(Please note: you can see basic information about this conference there)--KSH.
Toronto: The Archbishop of Canterbury has laid out his vision for a reformed and renewed Anglican Communion during an address delivered last week at Wycliffe College of the University of Toronto.
The Anglican way forward was through a church whose mission and message had a concrete impact on the real world of modern men and women. But this church was not merely a vehicle for good works, but one that took a wholly Christ-centered approach to theology and was grounded entirely in the New Testament.
In an unscripted address via Skype to the “Back to the Anglican Future: The Toronto Congress 1963 and the Future of Global Communion” Conference held on 18 September 2013 Archbishop Welby acknowledged the impact of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ideal of the Church as “Christ existing as community” as his guide.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
[You may find here]....the cross-examination of ECUSA's expert witness on its polity and history, Dr. Robert Bruce Mullin, who testified all day on both April 29 and April 30 of this year. His cross-examination by Alan Runyan, ...[counsel of] the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina under Bishop Lawrence, is a case study in how to break apart a structure into which every effort has been poured to make it appear as solid.
That cross-examination (on behalf of the Anglican Diocese) was followed by a further and well-honed cross-examination by Talmadge G. Brenner, the Chancellor for Quincy, on behalf of its bishop, the Rt. Rev. Alberto Morales, whom ECUSA had named individually as a counter-defendant in its counterclaim in the case. (That is what comes of suing people personally -- they get their own attorneys, who have the right to participate fully in all aspects of the trial.)
Read it all (courtesy of A.S. Haley).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Primary Source Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Quincy TEC Polity & Canons * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Education History Law & Legal Issues * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Fred Bahnson’s first bit of advice when he started planning a church garden eight years ago came from an elderly tobacco farmer who grabbed a handful of soil, rolled it around in his fingers and shook his head:
“You don wohn fahm heah,” he said in his deep North Carolina drawl.
Those were not the only discouraging words he received as he planted and cultivated one of the earliest and most successful church gardens, 20 miles north of Chapel Hill....
Read it all.
The position carries two titles: President and Dean of Berkeley and Associate Dean of Yale Divinity School. As such, states Rev. Carlsen, “We believe this represents an extraordinary ‘both/and’ leadership opportunity. On the one hand, to lead a highly respected Episcopal divinity school, and on the other, to be part of the leadership of YDS with its ecumenical perspective, superb academic resources, global reach and reputation within one of the word’s finest research universities.”
Carl Anderson, Chair of the Berkeley Board of Trustees, in a letter to the Berkeley community, expressed his gratitude for Dean Britton’s eleven years with the seminary and appreciation for the Dean’s many and important contributions… “to the life of the school, the quality and qualifications of our graduates, and Berkeley’s stature and standing within YDS, Yale University and The Episcopal Church.”
Read it all.
Their latest annual report is there and their website is here.
Realism is used to dismiss pacifism and to underwrite some version of just war. But it is not at all clear that the conditions for the possibility of just war are compatible with realism. At least, it is not clear that just war considerations can be constitutive of the decision-making processes of governments that must assume that might makes right. Attempts to justify wars begun and fought on realist grounds in the name of just war only serve to hide the reality of war.
Yet war remains a reality. War not only remains a reality, war remains for Americans our most determinative moral reality. How do you get people who are taught they are free to follow their own interests to sacrifice themselves and their children in war? Democracies by their very nature seem to require that wars be fought in the name of ideals that make war self-justifying. Realists in the State Department and Pentagon may have no illusions about why American self-interest requires a war be fought, but Americans cannot fight a war as cynics. It may be that those who actually have to fight a war will - precisely because they have faced the reality of war - have no illusions about the reality of war. But those who would have them fight justify war using categories that require there be a "next war."
Pacifists are realists. Indeed, we have no reason to deny that the "realism" associated with Augustine, Luther and Niebuhr has much to teach us about how the world works. But that is why we do not trust those who would have us make sacrifices in the name of preserving a world at war. We believe a sacrifice has been made that has brought an end to the sacrifice of war.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch History Military / Armed Forces Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary Middle East Syria * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
See what you make of it.
Many have mourned theology’s separation from the Church, but in the last 30 years we have witnessed resurgent efforts to reconnect academic theology to its ecclesial roots. The Scholar-Priest Initiative stands in this vein, endeavoring to be the servant in the background of Rembrandt’s picture: to do everything in our power to reintegrate theology back into the life of the parish; to rekindle theological vocation and imagination; in short, to welcome theology home.
The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada face three intractable and seemingly unrelated problems: the double bind of ordained parochial leadership, the diminishment of theological discourse in parish life, and the overall decline of North American theological education.
First, while debates rage on whether and to what extent North American Anglicanism is in decline (and what to do about it), we suffer from an undeniable and debilitating double bind in our parochial leadership. In the Episcopal Church nearly 40 percent of congregations operate without full-time, permanent ordained ministers. Our churches — ever increasingly, it seems — simply cannot afford full-time clergy. Many dioceses have accordingly found themselves with a glut of ordained ministers. Several have suspended their discernment processes because they already have too many unemployed and underemployed priests. We have an overabundance of well-trained, capable priests. We have too many congregations in need of priests. We need to somehow connect the dots.
Second, there is a disconnect between theological discourse and parish life....
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Pastoral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
LIMITED RESOURCES: A printed one-volume annotated Bible and a printed 1979 Book of
Common Prayer but no electronic or Internet resources.
Throughout history, communities have maintained their identity by passing on their traditions (stories, laws, songs, prayers, etc.) from one generation to the next. One of the tasks of a priest specified in the ordination rite is to be a teacher, an educator who passes on and interprets the tradition. The following texts are from the propers for education in the BCP (931):
Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
In no more than 750 words, taking into account the historical, literary, and theological background of each passage, briefly identify the important highlights of the tradition – the
community’s “story” -- to be passed on to the following generations of the community to which the passage is addressed. (NOTE: Your answer should demonstrate an understanding of the historical, literary and theological contexts of these passages. It should not include a detailed exegesis of the texts.)
In no more than 750 words, briefly summarize at least two biblical traditions that you consider most important to be passed on to the next generation in The Episcopal Church, drawing on the material you have presented in Part 1 and any other relevant biblical texts. Provide a rationale for each of your choices, including an example of a situation in the contemporary church where this tradition would be especially pertinent and useful.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
When Congress overwhelmingly approved a measure last month to relieve spiraling student debt, churches probably didn’t realize the problem hits closer to home than expected—many pastors are leaving seminary and divinity school with tens of thousands of dollars in loans.
“It’s becoming a huge issue,” said Bill Wilson, president of the Center for Congregational Health. “I’ve heard of totals approaching $60,000. I had one resident who showed up with $40,000 between school and credit cards.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Stewardship * Culture-Watch Education Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Personal Finance * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
If preaching is central to Christian worship, what kind of preaching are we talking about? The sheer weightlessness of much contemporary preaching is a severe indictment of our superficial Christianity. When the pulpit ministry lacks substance, the church is severed from the word of God, and its health and faithfulness are immediately diminished.
Many evangelicals are seduced by the proponents of topical and narrative preaching. The declarative force of Scripture is blunted by a demand for story, and the textual shape of the Bible is supplanted by topical considerations. In many pulpits, the Bible, if referenced at all, becomes merely a source for pithy aphorisms or convenient narratives.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education Soteriology Theology: Scripture
Jean Bethke was born on Jan. 6, 1941, in Timnath, Colo. (population 185), a farming town north of Denver. She was the oldest of five children of Paul and Helen Bethke, descendants of German immigrants from Russia, and grew up in nearby Fort Collins, Colo., where her father, a schoolteacher, principal and later school superintendent, had moved the family.
When Jean contracted polio, she and her mother moved to Denver for treatment. Her mother worked at the hospital to be nearby and helped Jean get back on her feet despite a prognosis that she would never walk again....
Dr. Elshtain said she took on [the task of her book “Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World”] for both intellectual and personal reasons. She wrote the book, she said, “because I have been provoked by much of what has been written and said about terrorism and our response to it; because September 11, 2001, reminded me of what it means to be an American citizen; because I come from a small people, Volga Germans, who would have been murdered or exiled had they remained in Russia rather than making the wrenching journey to America.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Philosophy Religion & Culture * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Bexley Seabury is an innovative federation formed by the Episcopal Church’s two Midwestern seminaries. Ferlo says the pairing “with the Bexley site with the masters of divinity program and the Seabury site with all of these possibilities for leadership training, seems to be a really great combination.”
Read it all.
Jean was one of the indispensable voices of cultural and political sanity in the post-sixties. She cared deeply about the common good, and she recognized that faith, family, and patriotic solidarity ennobled the lives of ordinary people. So she found herself defending those loves, often setting herself against the academic establishment and its dissolving ideologies. It required determination and courage, both of which Jean had in large, very large, measures.Read it all (and I recommend taking the time to peruse the comments as well).
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Education Religion & Culture * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
This summer was no 'vacation' in the traditional sense as I worked to complete over 370 hours to fulfill the Summer Ministry Intensive but I loved every hour. Most of those hours were spent working with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) community in Kampala, Uganda....
I felt bringing a pastoral care framework in an attempt to re-write exclusive theological narratives in Uganda would be effective because the country is overwhelmingly religious. In the most recent census, only 0.9% of as the population identified as non-religious while 82.6% identified as Christian. This "on the ground" reality of religiosity has been a breeding ground for Western Evangelical missionaries' importation of homophobia and transphobia with few dissenting voices. As a Christian convicted in the belief that God loves and affirms the lives of queer and trans people, I felt called to bring that news here.
In Uganda it is commonly believed that homosexuality is a Western phenomenon, yet a brief history of the country makes it evident that homophobia, not homosexuality, is the Western import. For this reason, I believe the first step towards change is a new theology.
Read it all.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Culture-Watch Globalization Sexuality * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
The North American Lutheran Church (NALC) has chosen to partner with Trinity School for Ministry to create a “Seminary Center” for the training of future NALC pastors. In a nearly unanimous vote on August 8, 2013, the Convocation of the NALC took action to establish a new North American Lutheran Seminary (NALS). This seminary will not be a degree granting institution, rather, it will partner with existing accredited seminaries to provide sound theological education for NALC students. Trinity will soon welcome a new NALS Seminary Director to its Ambridge, PA campus to oversee the formation of NALC students, whether at Trinity or at one of the Houses of Study that will be developed throughout North America.
Lutheran students will earn a degree from Trinity School for Ministry, taking the core courses required in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) curriculum. For some courses they will take Lutheran alternatives taught by NALC professors to ensure a solid foundation in confessional Lutheranism.
Read it all.
More than 130 years after it was founded opposite St Peter's Cathedral, St Barnabas' Theological College is coming home to North Adelaide.
The college is planning a $1.3 million building behind the Anglican Archbishop's historic home, Bishop's Court, in Palmer Place.
Construction will start in October ahead of an opening next July.
Read it all.
Our hope is that [in your theological education] Scripture becomes the keyboard of the imagination, the ordering structure of all the various notes we play in our lives. It is common to hear that order can only be imposed from without, that it is inherently oppressive to the originally free self, that true human freedom is to be unconstrained by order, and that the best ethic is one in which we refrain from claims to know the right or healing order of life. But order is in fact fundamental to Christian understanding. Chaos is neither the rule of God’s creation at its heart nor of new creation in Christ, as Christians ought to know from Genesis and the letters of Paul. No more could an entirely disordered keyboard yield beautiful music than chaos could lead to freedom and a well-lived life. The imagination that works freely and creatively is the one that has been ordered scripturally—a keyboard of virtually endless combinations and beautiful configurations that are the patterns of Christian life. Since speaking of a “scriptural imagination” is not necessarily a common way to talk, however, it makes good sense to explain what we mean.
By imagination we do not mean so much the capacity for certain kinds of play that we have in abundance as a child and often lose as we age, or a distinct area or activity of the brain that corresponds to creativity, fantasy, and the like. Imagination, rather, means more the way the total person is involved in interpreting and being in the world—the part we actively play in constructing a vision of life for ourselves and for others.
Imagination in this sense is thus not something that exists only in our heads or is used only for particular activities such as artistic depiction; it is also practically dense, or lived.
Read it all.
Worship4Today - a course for worship leaders and musicians, successfully tried and tested in the Diocese of Sheffield over several years - is being rolled out nationally from this week.
Compiled by Helen Bent and Liz Tipple, Worship4Today: Part 1: Laying a Firm Foundation tackles the priorities identified in the Liturgical Commission's Consultation of Evangelical Anglicans: a need for theological training for songwriters and worship leaders in local churches, and for musical training and effective formation in worship leading for ordinands. Trialed in 100 churches, it has already been the catalyst for new church services, a new congregation and two new children's choirs, and provided an essential boost for many flagging choirs and music groups.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Read it all.
St Mellitus College, founded in 2007, offers on-the-job experience as well as theology.
The numbers attending church on Sundays may be falling, but an innovative new college to train Anglican clergy has already attracted 500 students, making it the newest and one of the largest in the country.St Mellitus College, which started in 2007, opened the doors of a new building in November. It is the first training college for clergy to focus especially on leadership, and to combine theology with on-the-job experience in churches, youth centres, homeless shelters and Christian work in the inner cities.
“It’s the same pattern as business schools or the way doctors are trained now,” says Graham Tomlin, the college dean. “Previously those training for the ministry went to a full-time residential college. Now they can spend time in parishes as lay workers while coming here part of the week and on several residential periods a year. Or they continue in their jobs as doctors or bus drivers while training part-time for the ministry.”
As a result, St Mellitus, a joint project by the dioceses of London and Chelmsford, has seen a surge of applications from the start, with 110 full-time ordinands and around 400 lay students. A survey showed that three quarters of the ordinands would not have considered going into the church, or would have done so much later, had this work/study pattern not been available.
Read it all (subscription required).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Education Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
About 41 percent of master’s of divinity graduates expect to pursue full-time church ministry, down from 52 percent in 2001 and from 90-something percent a few decades ago, according to the Association of Theological Schools, the country’s largest such group.
Americans, particularly young ones, are becoming less religiously affiliated, and many see churches as too focused on internal politics and dogma and not enough on bettering the outside world. Institutional religion doesn’t have the stature it once did, and pastor jobs are fewer and less stable.
The skepticism about religious institutions has led to a broadened concept of what it means to minister. Like Allen, seminary graduates today use the words “ministry” and “calling” to describe their plans to employ their understanding of theology in a new career or to use their degrees to bring more purpose to what they are already doing. And seminaries are busily trying to accommodate them, creating new degrees for careers in such areas as urban ministry and psychology.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Judge then, young Gentlemen, into what depths of degradation the race of young ministers to which you are to belong must sink, if you not only remain deaf to the voice of conscience, to the admonitions of history, and to the strivings of GOD'S Spirit, but also to the voice of your age and of your country, which is calling you to high and noble things in your ministry. To go forth from this most highly-honored seat of sacred learning in our Church, with low attainment and without studious habits—to enter upon your ministry in this energetic and driving age, without zeal and perseverance—and to place yourselves upon the great missionary field which our Church presents from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, without being animated by the missionary spirit—how certain the fall, how deep the dishonor, how terrible the curse, to which you must inevitably be reduced!
The fathers, the clergy, the friends of the Church, look with increased anxiety and greater hope to each successive class graduating from our theological seminaries. They have a right to expect better scholarship, as the ability of teachers, the number of books, and the aids to study are daily increasing. And surely, as the wants of the Church are better known, and the extent of the missionary field, both at home and abroad, is better understood, they have a right to anticipate a great increase of missionary zeal. A young clergyman, some twenty years ago, might have made many a reasonable excuse for his lack of that holy, self-sacrificing zeal, a want of which would now be utterly inexcusable. What! shall young men just commissioned to the holy office, be deaf to the calls of their country, of the Church, and of her Divine Head, to make full proof of their ministry, and sink down into criminal listlessness, or addict themselves to unworthy worldly pursuits? What! when the cry of souls ready to perish is borne on every wind, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, shall they take counsel of their love of ease, their taste for human literature, or of their worldly-minded friends, and refuse to go to any part of the missionary field to which GOD shall call them?
Remember, young Gentlemen, that the great Head of the Church has placed you under influences more favorable for the formation of a high ministerial character, than with others has been the case perhaps for ages. You may, if you will, unite in yourselves more learning, more pious active zeal, more of a spirit of humility and prayer, than any of your predecessors, it may be, since the Apostles' own times. What you may become, the Church, the world, the Saviour of man-kind, [14/15] all expect that you will become. And yet this kind goeth not forth but by prayer and fasting. You cannot even succeed well in your studies without prayer. Much less can you grow in humility, and in a spirit of benevolence and self-sacrifice without much and fervent prayer.
Read it all from the Bishop of Kentucky, Benjamin Bosworth Smith.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
I stand before you not in any way a self-made man. I have been a product of a lot of people who have loved me and poured into me in a way that is transformed my life, not only as a small child, but as I’ve grown as an adult, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share . . . with you about that, in the hopes of leaving you with what I feel could be something that you could take and remember in an effort to make a difference in the lives of other people, which you inevitably will be called to do in some capacity.
So to that end, I got to a place where I was in my life about six years ago where I was at the end of myself. I have spent some time — I became a Christian when I was 13, but I didn’t have the follow-through that I needed — but nonetheless I found myself in the fall of 2006 at the steering wheel of a car with all the windows rolled up and a garden hose attached from the muffler to the passenger-side window in the hopes of ending it all. Why? Because I had done some things in my life and come to a place in my life where I had realized that I had made a lot of mistakes, and not only had I made a lot of mistakes, but I had been the victim of some things that are tough to wrap your arms around, a Christian or not. So I was in that place and I was about to turn the key and I really felt the Holy Spirit saying, “R.A., I’m not done with you yet. Don’t do that.” Like literally those words: “Do not do that.” And so as lonely as I felt in that moment at the steering wheel of a Chevrolet Cavalier, I never felt truly alone. I think there’s something to be said in that.
I share that with you and I’m vulnerable with you in this moment because I really believe that God has called me to be here for a reason. I do believe in divine appointments, I believe this is one of them.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sports * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Theological education is a deadly serious business. The stakes are so high. A theological seminary that serves faithfully will be a source of health and life for the church, but an unfaithful seminary will set loose a torrent of trouble, untruth, and sickness upon Christ’s people. Inevitably, the seminaries are the incubators of the church’s future. The teaching imparted to seminarians will shortly be inflicted upon congregations, where the result will be either fruitfulness or barrenness, vitality or lethargy, advance or decline, spiritual life, or spiritual death.
Sadly, the landscape is littered with theological institutions that have poorly taught and have been poorly led. Theological liberalism has destroyed scores of seminaries, divinity schools, and other institutions for the education of the ministry. Many of these schools are now extinct, even as the churches they served have been evacuated. Others linger on, committed to the mission of revising the Christian faith in order to make peace with the spirit of the age. These schools intentionally and boldly deny the pattern of sound words in order to devise new words for a new age — producing a new faith. As J. Gresham Machen rightly observed almost a century ago, we do not really face two rival versions of Christianity. We face Christianity on the one hand and, on the other hand, some other religion that selectively uses Christian words, but is not Christianity.
Read it all.
But then the Lord asks, “Do you love me?” It seems an odd question for Jesus to ask. We can’t help but wonder if some redactor got it wrong. Or perhaps some failure in communication may have taken place; someone must have misheard Jesus’ conversation with Peter. It was probably the person who counted the fish. We are not even sure we can trust John to have gotten it right. The disciples have been with the resurrected Jesus, but they go on fishing? They go back to the ordinary life they had prior to following Jesus? It seems unimaginable.
Moreover, Jesus is not supposed to ask Peter -- or us -- to love him. His job is to love us. In spite of our failures to be faithful disciples, in spite of our confusions about what it means to be Christian, in spite of our prideful presumption that we are our own creator, in spite of our sins, Jesus is supposed to love us.
Is that not the heart of the gospel? -- “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” This passage from John seems to have gotten off script; we are to be assured of Jesus’ love for us, and not the other way around....
Read it all.
President Paige Patterson made the recommendation to the board to end tenure at Southwestern, one of six seminaries affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Following Patterson's recommendation, Charles E. (Eddie) Miller, a trustee from Nevada and director of missions for the Sierra Baptist Association in Reno, made a motion stating, "Believing that the majority of trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary agree in principle with the cessation of tenure for this institution, I move that the Bylaws and Policies Committee bring revisions to cease future extension of tenure to the fall 2013 trustee meeting."
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At first, Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., could see itself as exempt from the economic forces shaking seminaries and theological schools nationwide. Luther is the biggest seminary for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States. Among its peers, it had a reputation for being innovative. Individual donors continued to give, and its local area -- in one of the country’s most Lutheran states -- was supportive.
Last fall, though, it all came crashing down. Enrollments were dropping. The seminary found it was running multimillion-dollar deficits, spending down its endowment and relying on loans. In December, its president, the Rev. Dr. Richard Bliese, resigned, as the seminary’s board began to look at options to trim at least $4 million from the seminary’s $27 million annual budget.
The results were announced...[not long ago]: layoffs for 18 of its 125 staff members, many effective within a few weeks; the voluntary departure of 8 of 44 faculty members at the end of the academic year, who will not be replaced; the termination of a master’s program in sacred music; and the decision to no longer admit Ph.D students for at least three years.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Stewardship * Culture-Watch Education Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Lutheran Methodist Presbyterian United Church of Christ * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Almost half a century ago, the Episcopal Church Foundation’s Pusey Report foretold, among other things, consolidation and radical change among the denomination’s theological seminaries. Such change is finally upon us. Several schools in the United States and in Canada have closed, a number are alive in name only, and others in each country approach their demise. Several years ago I was surprised to hear that a majority of Episcopal ordinands had attended none of the established 11.
In the face of this dire climate, the Episcopal seminaries’ effort at cooperation did not touch on core tasks; similarly in 2010 in the Anglican Church of Canada, when all the stakeholders were gathered in Montreal, the life-and-death institutional issues had to be bracketed and left aside. Simultaneous with a major reordering of our parishes and dioceses, this is a turning point for theological education, but we should not expect some grand compromise or new deal. This is as it should be, since the network of schools was never planned systematically. The remedies sometimes float about as well-meaning generalizations: diversity, lay empowerment, the missional. True enough, but such themes do not get to the heart of the matter....
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Listen to it all from the parish in which I serve, Christ Saint Paul's Yonges Island, South Carolina, this past Sunday.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Easter Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * South Carolina * Theology Christology Eschatology Seminary / Theological Education
Many of the men in seminary chose to become priests after the eruption of the sexual abuse crisis, at a time when the choice to become a priest is increasingly mystifying to many. Some of their friends and families were wary; others were encouraging.
“It’s pretty obvious, even for us, the situation is not really all sunshine. It is a tough time that we’re entering,” said Jun Hee Lee, a 25-year-old seminarian from Brooklyn. “Patience, perseverance in prayer and courage — having that faith and hope in our Lord that the trueness of the Gospel will prevail, the truth will overcome."
--From a good article in yesterday's New York Times.
My admiration is unbounded for clergy who persist in proclaiming the gospel in the face of the resistance that the world throws at them. But I found too many clergy who allowed congregational caregiving and maintenance to trump more important acts of ministry, like truth telling and mission leadership. These tired pastors dash about offering parishioners undisciplined compassion rather than sharp biblical truth. One pastor led a self-study of her congregation and found that 80 percent of them thought the minister’s primary job was to “care for me and my family.” Debilitation is predictable for a kleros with no higher purpose for ministry than servitude to the voracious personal needs of the laos.--Christian Century, the February 4, 2013 edition (emphasis mine)
Most people in mainline churches meet biblically legitimate needs (food, clothing, housing) with their checkbooks. In the free time they have for religion, they seek a purpose-driven life, deeper spirituality, reason to get out of bed in the morning or inner well-being—matters of unconcern to Jesus. In this environment, the gospel is presented as a technique, a vaguely spiritual response to free-floating, ill-defined omnivorous human desire.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
Shared yesterday at the Mere Anglicanism Conference--check it out.
Dr. Diogenes Allen, a distinguished scholar in the field of the philosophy of religion, and the Stuart Professor of Philosophy emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary, died on January 13, 2013, at the age of 80 in hospice care at Chandler Hall, Newtown, Pennsylvania. He joined the Seminary faculty in 1967 as associate professor of philosophy, and became a full professor in 1974. He was named the Stuart Professor in 1981. He retired and was named Stuart Professor Emeritus in 2002.
Allen was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on October 17, 1932. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Kentucky in 1954, and went on to study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He earned a B.A. (1957) and later an M.A. (1961) from Oxford. He earned the B.D. (1959), the M.A. (1962) and the Ph.D. (1965) from Yale University. His thesis for his Ph.D. was titled “Faith as a Ground for Religious Beliefs.”
Before joining the Princeton Seminary faculty, he taught at York University in Ontario, Canada, from 1964 to 1967. He also was a visiting professor at Drew University and at the University of Notre Dame during his career....
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Our vision is for the gospel to be recognized as public truth again. We want to see Christians owning the gospel in all aspects of their lives, and demonstrating its positive impact at all levels of society—individuals, communities, sectors, and the entire marketplace of ideas.
Our mission is to take the gospel public. Through our research and our grounding in the calibre of theological education found at Regent College, we aim to provide and embody fresh, reliable, and well-informed expressions of the gospel that reveal its truth, necessity, and relevance to all spheres of public life....
Check it out thoroughly.
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Instead of reposting the texts of all the questions which I had by email, I see Tom Ferguson already has them all posted, so I will link to him--KSH.
Here is question two and you can find all the rest of the questions there (scroll down if necessary).
Set 1: Liturgy and Church Music
Limited Resources: A printed one-volume annotated Bible; a printed 1979 Book of Common Prayer; a printed Book of Occasional Services; a printed Lesser Feasts and Fasts; the printed Enriching Our Worship volumes; a printed Holy Women, Holy Men; and printed authorized Episcopal hymnals. NO electronic or Internet resources.
Create a liturgy for a nature-oriented event in your pastoral context. You may imagine any such situation: for example, the planting or harvesting of crops, the blessing of a fishing fleet, the planting of a community garden, the reclaiming of land after a natural disaster, or the blessing of animals.
1. In a well-organized essay of approximately 750 words:
A. Give the pastoral reason for the rite;
B. Explain the theological understanding of creation that informs your liturgical design.
2. In another essay of approximately 750 words:
A. Outline the celebration, explaining why you structured it this way and why you chose the liturgical texts, readings and music, showing how your choices conform to the rubrics of the liturgical books listed above;
B. Describe the roles of the members of the congregation, including the liturgical leaders;
C. Describe the liturgical choreography (the movement of the assembly, including the liturgical ministers) and the use of space.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Before you look see if you can name the seven areas on the exam, then read it all (page 2 of pdf).
In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, I’ve been asked to comment since I am a theologian by profession and the author of a book on the problem of evil, Can God Be Trusted? Faith and the Challenge of Evil (Oxford, 1998; 2nd edition IVP, 2009).
Most of what I have to say is in that book. But I’ve posted remarks here in the past that are relevant to this incident, so I’ll just list them here in case they can be of use to you
Read it all and follow and peruse all the links.
The Anglican Church of Canada should be prepared to be “turned inside out” and to be a church that gives birth to a Spirit-led “people’s movements at all levels,” said the Rev. Dr. Christopher Duraisingh, a noted South Indian theologian.
Duraisingh, who is a professor at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Mass., spoke about mission at the meeting of the Council of General Synod (CoGS) during its meeting Nov. 15 to 18.
Duraisingh was invited to help CoGS members reflect on what direction the church might take in response to its ongoing challenges with diminishing revenues and declining membership. He will also be the keynote speaker at the July 2013 Joint Anglican-Lutheran Assembly in Ottawa.
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I hope the question got your attention, it certainly did that for me. Dan Kimball, Cheryl Sanders, and Winfield Bevins all have some thoughts in response--read it all.
[Lamin] Sanneh acknowledges a debt to the missionary schools that unintentionally introduced him to a desiccated version of Christian faith, and he tells how as an earnest young man he wandered from pastor to pastor, desperately seeking baptism, only to be deflected by missionaries who had compromised mission in their uneasy accommodation to Islamic culture. The story would almost be humorous if it were not so sad. Yet even the account of the missionaries’ rebuff is less painful to read than the account of what he received at the hands of liberal, mainline North American pastors who had long before enmeshed themselves in their culture by reducing their ministry to caregiving rather than conversion. As for many frustrated would-be converts in our age, it was easier for Sanneh to find Christ than for him to find Christian community. Eventually he became a Catholic while at Yale.--Will Willimon in a review of Lamin Sanneh's new Summoned From the Margin (Eerdmans, 2012), Christian Century, the October 17th, 2012 issue, page 53 (emphasis mine)
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life * Culture-Watch Books Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Churches Disciples of Christ Methodist Presbyterian United Church of Christ Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
He schooled himself to change—a long, slow transformation. Once, leading a [Youth for Christ] YFC camp in a remote Sri Lankan village, he decided that years of study had finally made him ready to lead music in the Sinhala language. Afterwards, he stumbled into an informal gathering of young YFC volunteers. As he entered, he overheard them laughing at his Sinhala singing and mimicking him.
He lived simply. YFC salaries were based on family size and experience, not on position. Fernando made no more than others, and he made sure his home and lifestyle were in no way intimidating to the most simple village people who might visit.
Not only did he change, his teaching changed. Considering the prevailing liberalism, he began to teach about the supremacy of Christ, a difficult and controversial message in a country where most religions are pluralistic. He was convinced that without belief in hell and the unique power of Jesus to save, Christians lost the urgency of witness. "I still preach about [those topics] in the West," he says, although the rise of Pentecostalism means that they are no longer pressing issues for the Asian church.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Globalization Religion & Culture Teens / Youth Young Adults * International News & Commentary Asia Sri Lanka * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Pastoral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
A scientist who gave up his job in alternative technology to train as a vicar stars in a new TV series starting next week.
Marcus Zipperlen from Penparcau, Aberystwyth, is one of a number of trainee priests who were followed around for a year by the cameras at St Michael’s College, Cardiff. His journey will be featured in Vicar Academy on BBC1 Wales starting on Monday 15 October.
Made by an independent company, Presentable, Vicar Academy shadowed several full-time students, (“ordinands”) from St Michael’s College – Wales’ only theological college – who came from all corners of the country.
Read it all.
[Finally, let me say a word about]... the wider world. Peter Berger has stated that secularization, far from being an inexorable product of modernity throughout the world, is more or less confined to Western and Central Europe and what he calls “an international cultural elite.” In the rest of the world vibrant religious cultures are the default position, not the exception. I see this gap between secularized cultural elites and global religious traditions as potentially one of the most dangerous things in our world. The consequences need to be thought about, especially since research universities like ours recruit most of our faculty and students from Berger’s secularized minorities. We need to know about this gap, how it works, and what its consequences are.
Stephen Prothero has stated that “The United States is one of the most religious places on earth, but it is also a nation of shocking religious illiteracy”—even among college students. We have already paid a heavy price for this ignorance, and we dare not let it go unattended. We have serious work to do at Harvard and beyond to improve religious literacy in this country and in the wider world.
Finally, a flashback to Northern Ireland in 1969–70. That was the year I went to Queen’s University Belfast as a young undergraduate. I was a typical child of the 1960s, more interested in sport, music, and girls than understanding the religious and political dynamics of my own culture. All hell broke loose in Northern Ireland in those years, with hundreds of people a year dying in violent incidents in the early 1970s. Like Prothero’s religious illiterates, I really didn’t know what was going on. I should have. I vowed I would find out. That’s why I’m standing here today. Religious illiteracy matters; we ignore it at our peril. Let’s take it on.
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At its May-June meeting, the college council of the College of Emmanuel & St. Chad in Saskatoon made the decision to suspend college operations effective June 30, 2013. Working with other college stakeholders, the council will develop a plan for restructuring Emmanuel & St. Chad, which since 1967 has been the official accredited theological college for the ecclesiastical province of Rupert's Land.
According to Terry Wiebe, college principal, the college sold its historic buildings to the University of Saskatchewan in 2006. It has since been renting space in the Lutheran seminary and using its chapel.
“This decision, which was not easy, was made only after carefully considering the current financial condition of the college, the ongoing decline in student enrolment, and the current and projected costs of operating the college,” said the Rt. Rev. James Njegovan, bishop of Brandon and college council president, in a statement.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Canada * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Canada * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
In 1948, his career as scholar and teacher took a leap forward with his election as fellow and tutor of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he could exhibit his talents in a more formidable academic setting. He swiftly became known as an inspiring New Testament tutor, forming a tutorial "circus" with JR Porter, the Oriel College Old Testament specialist, and Dennis Nineham, the brilliant young chaplain of the Queen's College, to teach doctrine. With Nineham, Evans gave a memorable series of lectures on the Gospels and the Jesus of history, while not neglecting his pastoral duties.
It was always likely that Evans would be offered a chair; after 10 years at Corpus, he was appointed to the Lightfoot professorship at Durham. However, despite relishing its historic character, he never really settled in the city and the chance to return south came in 1962 with his becoming professor of New Testament studies at King's College London, where he remained for the next 15 years, teaching and lecturing and continuing his challenging and questioning approach to the New Testament.
In 1977 he retired to a bungalow in the village of Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire, a stone's throw from the theological college, where he was a frequent and honoured guest. The death of his wife in 1980 was a grievous blow, but he continued to live positively, tending to the students and staff of the college and keeping a host of friendships from earlier days. To one visitor, at age 98 and over a pub lunch, to the inquiry "What's it like being 98, Christopher?" he replied: "Part of you feels that you shouldn't be here."
Read it all (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Education * Theology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Scripture
(Pr) The Most Reverend Robert Wm. Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America and Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh, will visit the Kentucky campus of Asbury Theological Seminary on September 25, 2012. Duncan will speak in chapel and participate in lunch and a talk-back session with students, faculty and administration immediately following chapel.
The Anglican Church in North America unites approximately 100,000 Anglicans in almost 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada into one Church. Asbury Seminary’s President, Dr. Timothy C. Tennent, said, “We are honored to host Archbishop Duncan on our Kentucky campus. He is an extraordinary Church leader, and his devotion to mission and church planting inspires us.”
In 1972 Duncan was ordained a deacon and then a priest. Early in his ministry, he served the Chapel of the Intercession in New York City, Christ Church in Edinburgh, Scotland and Grace Church in Merchantville, N.J. He was also assistant dean of The General Theological Seminary in New York City, Episcopal chaplain of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and rector of Saint Thomas’s Episcopal Parish in Newark, Del. In 1992, Duncan became canon to the ordinary for Bishop Alden Hathaway in Pittsburgh. In 1995 he was nominated from the floor and elected bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. In 2009, he was elected Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America and immediately made a call to plant one thousand churches (Anglican 1000) in five years. Duncan was a driving force in the creation of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund, a multi-million dollar enterprise for which he continues to serve as president.
Over the years a number of you have asked who are the key influences in my life, especially those who have formed me as a Bible teacher and theologian. I always confess that I am not a scholar of the Bible but I am a lover of the Bible. I have studied with great Bible scholars so I know the difference. There are a handful of scholars that have shaped me in ways I am still trying to understand. I will identify the top three with which I have studied and the books or theologians they introduced me to that continue to inspire me.
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The Rev. John Liebler, an Episcopal priest, lost his faith in an ironic place: seminary. Studying for the priesthood in the late 1970s, Liebler was inundated with a theological liberalism that left him believing that Christianity, and all religion, was just a mirror we hold up to our own wishes rather than a window through which we see true spiritual realities. After a few years pastoring, he finally realized his spiritual emptiness.
We asked Liebler, who now leads St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Fort Pierce, Fla., about how he returned to faith, and why he believes orthodox Christians urgently need to reclaim liberalism.
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Responding to a need to preserve and promote theological training in the Catholic Tradition as Anglicanism has received it and giving tangible expression to St. Paul's exhortation to be "united in mind and thought" (I Corinthians 1:10), Nashotah House Theological Seminary and St. Stephen's House, Oxford will sign "Strengthening the Bonds of Affection: A Mutual Covenant for Ministry" in Oxford on the evening of 4 October 2012.
The Covenant, the first of its kind, pledges the efforts of both seminaries to the work of mutual ministry and prayer, including: calling for the adoption of a joint mission statement, a sharing of prayers, programs and seminarians and the creation of a mutual sabbatical structure. The signing and witnessing of "Strengthening the Bonds of Affection: A Mutual Covenant for Ministry" will take place at St. Stephen's House in Oxford at six o'clock in the evening and will include a Solemn High Mass and reception afterwards.
"Both St. Stephen's House and Nashotah House share a common and rich ancestry, emerging from the Catholic Revival of the nineteenth century," said the Rt. Rev. Edward L. Salmon, Jr., Nashotah House Dean and President, "and by working together we can be a monumental blessing to our Church and to our world." The Rev. Canon Robin Ward, Principal of St. Stephen's House, considers the opportunity invaluable and historic, saying, "St. Stephen's House and Nashotah House are the preeminent Anglo-Catholic seminaries serving the Anglican Communion today, and affirming our common heritage while seeking new ways to expand our vision together will plant seeds that, by God's grace, will produce fruit - fifty, sixty and even a hundred fold."
Many people think that being a Christian – especially during our more festal seasons such as Christmastide – is the silver-lining, that is, the lucky charm to an abundant life in an otherwise lifetime of pain and suffering.
Christianity-lite®, as I’m keen to call this mind-set, is marketed – particularly in the world of mega-church evangelicalism – as the ‘feel good about yourself’ religion of the moment that, like a rabbit’s foot tucked in the proper pocket, is the ticket to paradise on earth, or, at the very least, is an amulet bestowed upon all who earnestly seek wealth, happiness and really white teeth.
Being a christianette, which is really what this movement produces, means adoring those indispensable talismans hidden deep in the treasure chest of our prideful self, the ego and the Western god of individual choice. Hubris is the withered fruit this movement produces.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
This September, Emmanuel College will launch a new program that its creators hope will revitalize theological education.
Founded in 1928 and associated with the United Church of Canada, Emmanuel College is a constituent college of Victoria University in the University of Toronto.
The two-year Teaching for Ministry (TFM) program has been made possible by a $500,000, five-year grant from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. It will produce “scholars…uniquely prepared to teach the next generation of the church’s ministers,” said a statement by Mark Toulouse, principal of Emmanuel College.
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