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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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Coming from a wide range of backgrounds including the Army, banking, social media consultancy and racecourse management, new deacons and priests will be celebrating their new roles as "Reverends" within the Church of England.
As part of the celebrations those being ordained (ordinands) their friends, family, congregations and clergy are being encouraged to use twitter to congratulate and celebrate these #NewRevs.
As part of the ordination service, the new priests and deacons are addressed by a Bishop of the diocese in which they will serve who will say: "They are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, as agents of God's purposes of love. They are to serve the community in which they are set, bringing to the Church the needs and hopes of all the people. They are to work with their fellow members in searching out the poor and weak, the sick and lonely and those who are oppressed and powerless, reaching into the forgotten corners of the world, that the love of God may be made visible."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
For Niebuhr, Christians have a stake in democratic societies because, given the realism that the Christian understanding of sin requires, Christians know "that a healthy society must seek to achieve the greatest possible equilibrium of power, the greatest possible centers of power, the greatest possible social checks of the administration of power, and the greatest possible inner moral check on human ambition, as well as the most effective use of forms of power in which consent and coercion are compounded." Democracies at their best are, therefore, able to achieve unity of purpose within the conditions of freedom and to maintain freedom within the framework of order.
It is particularly important to note that for Niebuhr democracy is a system of government that does not require the governed to be virtuous. Rather, it is a form of social organization that limits self-interested men from pursuing their interests in a manner that does not destroy community. Of course, a too-consistent pessimism concerning our ability to transcend our interests can lead to absolutist political theories. So Niebuhr is not suggesting that democracies can survive without some sense of justice. Rather he is reminding us that, as he puts it in what is probably his most famous epigram, "man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary."
The task of social Christianity, for Niebuhr, is not to advocate particular solutions for economic or social ills, but to produce people of modesty about what can be accomplished given our sinful condition. It is equally important that same modesty be applied to the church, which is no less under the power of sin. In fact, from Niebuhr's point of view, the sins of the church may even be more destructive given the temptation to identify religious politics with the politics of God.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
In your first column for Christianity Today, you noted that George Herbert helped guide you into the Anglican tradition. How exactly did that happen?
I was raised Southern Baptist and have been a believing Christian since childhood. But for several years during college and afterward, I felt I was still looking for the right ecclesial home. My first exposure to the Anglican tradition was when I attended a Maundy Thursday service during my freshman year of college. I was simultaneously put off by what felt, at that time, like excessive formality, and attracted to what seemed like a form of worship with integrity, mystery, and depth. Eventually I was confirmed in the Church of England, by then-Bishop of Durham Justin Welby. By that time, I had developed theological reasons for becoming Anglican — reasons that had to do with Anglicanism’s identity as “catholic” and “reformed.” But initially, Anglicanism represented more of a sensibility than a theology. It nurtured in me something I didn’t initially have or want: a taste for beauty in liturgy and church art, and an inclination toward theological reticence and reverence.
What thinkers of the Church, present or past, are you most excited about?
I’m very interested in the work that a celibate lesbian Roman Catholic named Eve Tushnet is doing. Her first book is coming out this fall from Ave Maria Press (Gay and Catholic: Accepting My Sexuality, Finding Community, Living My Faith). I’ve been reading Eve’s blog for years, and I think she’s one of the sharpest cultural critics around, in addition to being one of our most provocative and helpful Christian voices on the theology of friendship.
Read it all.
Last week, the Bishop of London and the General Secretary of the Diocese, Andy Brookes, joined young would-be clergy from across the Diocese of London in the Wren Suite of St Paul's Cathedral, to promote young vocations. Young people from a number of vocational schemes around the Diocese, including the North London, Kensington and Stepney Schemes, attended the event.
These schemes offer one- or two-year programmes of theological teaching, practical experience, vocational discernment and personal development for young people exploring their calling and considering future ministry in the church. As part of these schemes, regular sessions are run for the pastoral assistants, offering a programme of Christian formation as well as specific support for those who are at different stages on the journey to test a call to ordained ministry.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues Young Adults * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
The first few years of this century are turning out to be busy ones for anti-religious polemicists. Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion and, soon to appear, Christopher Hitchens’s God is not Great revive a tradition of impassioned criticism of religious belief and of what people do in God’s name.
The reason for the relative quiet in the closing years of the last century is plain enough. As long as religion had seemed to have little to do with anything important – such as politics or war – committed secularists were spared the bother of arguing that religion is bad. It is only when people do bad things in the name of their religious beliefs that atheists need to get evangelical about their creed.
Personally, I don’t feel any desire to leap to the defence of Christian faith against this renewed assault. This is not because others are doing the job well enough, but because, Christian though I am, I have some sympathy with the view that belief in God can be dangerous.
If God is not to be abused, it seems important to me to recognise that religious belief can be dangerous for individuals and for society. The fact that most of the time religious convictions in practice make believers good neighbours and good citizens does little to lessen the scandal when God is invoked to justify tyranny or terror.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Adult Education Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Theology Seminary / Theological Education The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Duke University trustee Jack Bovender and his wife, Barbara, have given $1.5 million to endow a professorship at the Duke Divinity School, President Richard H. Brodhead announced...[in May].
The gift will fund the Jack and Barbara Bovender Professor of Anglican Episcopal Studies and Ministry, to be held by the director of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies (AEHS). The endowed professorship will provide financial stability and a foundation for future growth of AEHS, which was founded in 2006 to provide Anglican spiritual formation for Episcopal and other Anglican students at Duke Divinity School. Currently, 30 students are enrolled in the Anglican Certificate Program.
"Jack and Barbara Bovender have been devoted and thoughtful leaders for Duke," Brodhead said. "We are grateful for this generous gift to sustain the work of the Anglican Episcopal House of Studies at Duke Divinity School, whose work of preparing students for service and ministry is a compelling example of Duke's commitment to knowledge in service to society."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
There was a moment while Bishop Mark Lawrence was ordaining his younger son recently when Joseph kneeled as the bishop stood above him in prayer, just before the laying on of hands.
"My arms lifted above him invoking the Holy Spirit, and it seemed the spirit - like the murmuring of a dove's wings - hovered there above and between us," recalls the bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina.
The moment felt more like a father with a son than a bishop with an upcoming priest, although he was there as both.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * South Carolina * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
ust a few weeks ago, Brian McGreevy donned a golden stole for the first time to give his inaugural sermon as a priest, standing before the historic St. Philip's Church congregation that was his own.
Freshly ordained at 57, he spoke of the Easter road that Jesus' disciples traveled to Emmaus while mourning the traumatic death of their messiah. A strange man joined them.
They didn't recognize the resurrected Christ right away.
"Sometimes things seem impossible that are possible," McGreevy explained.
This he knows.
Read it all.
In the course of time almost all the states and territories which at first had constituted a great missionary district under Bishop Kemper’s oversight became separate dioceses which for a time continued under his care but finally selected their own bishops. In this way, after a period of only a few years, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin--where, at the time I began my studies at Nashotah, there were only a few scattered churches and mission stations--and finally Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas--territories which at that time were hardly known even by name--have now churches and ministers enough to be organized into separate dioceses. In Wisconsin alone there are more than fifty ministers, and an equal number of churches without ministers, belonging to the Episcopal church. All of this, under the grace of God, may be ascribed to the tireless labors if Bishop Kemper and the excellent mission school at Nashotah.Read it all.
Contemporary American Christians are faced with their own creation. Their individualistic and democratic views idealize the religious entrepreneur. Moreover, their distrust of hierarchy and institutions combines with a lack of commitment to organic unity (this is a newer development).
The state of the divinity school doesn’t help matters, either. The seminary, in its classical form, is where one engages in deep, orthodox theological study under the authority and spiritual formation of the Church. Obviously, this classic ideal is increasingly rare in the United States these days. As history has shown, seminaries have abandoned orthodoxy, become hyper-academic without thought to spiritual formation, have been reduced to degree factories, or have removed the Church in favor of the parachurch or nondenominationalism.
Many American seminaries languish. Thus, the streams which should feed and guide the theologically curious are insufficient. Making matter worse, social norms encourage more trust in the internet than in the Bride of Christ. Instead, seekers look to ecclesiastically untethered and academically undisciplined smooth talkers for spiritual guidance and insight. Welcome to the Anti-Seminary.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Psychology Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Trinity School for Ministry is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Ridley Institute at St. Andrew’s Church in Mt. Pleasant, SC. With this new partnership, students can take classes towards a Master of Arts in Religion degree within a cohort located at the Ridley Institute. Courses will be taught by Trinity’s expert faculty both in person and online. The first class offered will be Introduction to Old Testament with Dr. Erika Moore.The class will begin with two days of teaching on August 28-30, 2014 and will continue throughout the fall. Registration is now open via Trinity’s website (http://www.tsm.edu/RidleyInstitute/register). The course is open to anyone who is interested, membership at St. Andrews is not required.
“We are thrilled by this opportunity to partner with the Ridley Institute” commented the Very. Rev. Dr. Justyn Terry, Trinity’s Dean and President. “Trinity has long desired to make theological education available to people where they are. This partnership will allow people in the Carolinas to have excellent, graduate-level teaching, combined with a community of learning, all without having to relocate.”
Read it all.
In the front rows, the graduating class sat enthralled. At the back other students shifted excitedly in their seats, some whispering agreement as Provan's language soared.
“I charge you, most seriously . . . [to] be dangerous to all who, in the pursuit of [false] gods, damage other people, and damage God's good creation. Be dangerous to the powerful who want to use and oppress the weak, and to the rich who want to use and oppress the poor.
“Be dangerous to those who diminish the importance of the individual person, in the womb or in the twilight years, or in between – to those who trample the individual soul, out of deference to the convenience of other family members, the health of the economy, the good of the state, or the well-being of the planet.” An Australian listening may be forgiven for thinking that Provan is calling for his young charges to oppose pretty well everything that marks business as usual on Macquarie Street. Normally it might not be fair to use a young man's education as predictive of his future course, but Regent College is not a normal school. Unlike most seminaries, Regent was created not to prepare its graduates to become clergy, but to give them an evangelical Christian education with a view to returning them to the secular world to serve God in their chosen professions.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ Canada * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
I studied architecture after a degree in math and physics because it appeared to be one of the few available professions for generalists. Finding the prospect of specialization in alternative pursuits claustrophobic, I went for it.
As a student, I became aware of the responsibility of making decisions about the built environment on behalf of others. What right do developers and designers have to create potentially manipulative spaces? Even projects with benevolent intent such as public housing in Europe and America has ended up as destructive to their users. To a conscientious designer, the assumptions implied in making decisions that will be formative to users are almost immobilizing in their intensity. It appeared to me that the nature of being human was fundamental to this discussion and that one could only proceed in this profession with a robust and convincing understanding of what it means to be human.
At this time, I came in contact with Francis Schaeffer and Hans Rookmaaker who convinced me to build environments that remind users they are created in the image of God. This thought has immediate implications in terms of materials and scale. The idea that humans are made for relationship implies that I have a right, and maybe even a duty, to use this criterion both in the design and operation of my practice. Consequently, much of my business life and design work has had the intention of fostering relationships and community.
Read it all.
This one’s in honor of everyone finishing up seminary exams or recovering from the Holy Week ministry binge. I don’t know how YOUR denomination do, but mine is all over some “clergy excellence,” and we have all these reports and numbers we have to keep to prove that our church isn’t dying. It’s set up to combat the fact that the mainline denominations really are not growing. It’s also set up to combat lazy or crappy pastoring. The problem is that we have to be more perfect than Jesus, and the pressure to always grow and do great things can really be overwhelming. I find myself pouring more energy into excellent programming, and not enough time in real discipleship formation.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist * Theology Pastoral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Clearly, United Theological Seminary not only emphasizes renewal, they model it. In striving for renewal in local churches or the broader denomination, several take-aways can be lifted from the United story.
• United is saturated by prayer.
• United is committed to the historic, orthodox faith and understanding of the scriptures.
• United honors the faith of the saints who have gone before.
• United was desperate for God to do something supernatural. This seems like an essential characteristic in the study of genuine revivals of the past and present.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Methodist * Theology Christology Seminary / Theological Education Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
Easter is now [almost] upon us, and we await the predictable onslaught of naysayers who declaim with an almost evangelical fervour that the Jesus story is one big lie. Such tirades by the evangelists of scepticism seem almost to constitute a pastoral responsibility on their part annually to reinforce the ideological conceits of their tribe of followers, thus providing atheists, agnostics and "nones" with reassurance that they needn't take Jesus too seriously.
The opening salvo this year comes courtesy of the indefatigable Bart Ehrman. For those who don't know, Ehrman is something of a celebrity sceptic in the United States. A professor of religion at the University of North Carolina, he was formerly a fundamentalist Christian who de-converted to agnosticism, and now writes books exposing the apparently fallacious claims of traditional Christianity. He has several New York Times best-sellers to his name, including Misquoting Jesus: The Story of Who Changed the Bible and Why, Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible and Forged: Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. Ehrman is a regular on the talk-show circuit, frequenting programs like The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Dateline, CNN, and National Public Radio.
A genuinely erudite scholar of ancient texts and a fierce debater, Ehrman is the bane of traditionalists and the champion of sceptics. A pity, then, that he is almost always wrong.
Read it all.
Understanding the Christian faith in the light of current scientific theories is a vital topic for anyone seeking to commend Christ today. The highly-publicized recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye “the Science Guy” is a case in point, as is the choice to focus on this topic for the recent Mere Anglicanism conference.
With my background in physics, it is a subject that has long interested me. In engaging these conversations, it is important to remember that scientists study a disordered world. It has fallen into sin, death, and destruction, which we know from Scripture are not part of God’s long-term plans for His creation. But this fall is something that probably cannot be detected scientifically. Scientists can only study what they “see” and then draw inferences from that. They observe, for instance, that entropy (disorder) always increases in natural events, but cannot know scientifically that this must be a temporary crisis that will be resolved in the new heavens and new earth that will last forever.
Read it all (page 3).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Science & Technology * Theology Anthropology Apologetics Ethics / Moral Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Where did this all begin? September, 1981, at St Peter’s Toton outside Nottingham Kris and I and kids wandered into the neighborhood Anglican church, loved both Curate John and Elisabeth Corrie, and we began our lifetime appreciation and formative influence of The Book of Common Prayer, and you may have detected my own interest in prayer books through my small book Praying with the Church. So there’s nothing at all close to any kind of major shift in our life to become Anglicans — we have sustained an Anglican connection for three decades.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Whether a lesson be mastered in obedience to conscience, or from a dread of punishment, from filial affection, or determination to beat a rival, is a question of little moment, I grant, in reference to the stock of knowledge acquired, but of incalculable consequence when asked in reference to the bearing upon moral character. The zeal to make scholars, should, in the minds of Christians at least, be tempered by the knowledge that it may repress a zeal for better things. The head should not be furnished at the expense of the heart. Surely, at most, it is exchanging fine gold for silver, when the culture of gracious affections and holy principle is neglected for any attainments of intellect, however brilliant or varied. What Christian parent, would wish his son to be a linguist or a mathematician, of the richest acquirements or the deepest science, if he must become so by a process, in which the improvement of his religious capabilities would be surrendered, or his mind accustomed to motives not recognised in the pure and self-denying discipline of the Gospel. Not that such discipline is unfriendly to intellectual superiority; on the contrary, the incentives to attain it, will be enduring, and consequently efficient, in proportion to their purity. The highest allurements to the cultivation of our rational nature, are peculiar to Christianity. Hence, literature and science have won their highest honors in the productions of minds most deeply imbued with its spirit. The effect, however, of exclusively Christian discipline in a seminary of learning, when fairly stated, is not so much to produce one or two prodigies, as to increase the average quantum of industry; to raise the standard of proficiency among the many of moderate abilities, rather than to multiply the opportunities of distinction for the gifted few.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Parish Ministry Adult Education * Culture-Watch Children Education * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
The Berkeley Divinity School, a partner of Yale Divinity School, has appointed a new Dean – Andrew McGowan.
McGowan will take up the position of President and Dean of BDS, along with that of Associate Dean for Anglican Studies at YDS.
Read it all.
Why we need Ugandan Christians
The East African Revival lives on! Evidences of revival are strong, revealed for me in at least the following four ways
(1) Worship is at the heart of community life
With African rhythm and harmony all you appear to need in order to sing praise to God is a drum! In fact adding extra amplification and electronic instruments (in my view) tended to distract (plus the electricity supply itself is pretty unreliable!)
The Luganda theme chorus was sung several times at every meeting we attended “Tukutendereza Yesu, Yesu Mwana gw’endiga, omusaayi gwo gunnaazizza, nkwebaza, Mulozi” (“We praise you Jesus, Jesus the Lamb, your blood has cleansed me, Saviour, I praise you”). It is quite complex to sing because of the interlocking harmonies – but the power of the message is evident and heartfelt.
Another aspect of worship is the power of testimony: yes, the preaching is important, but so too is the lived experience of the gathered Christians. A couple of us attended a Testimony and Praise meeting at All Saints Church in Kabale. It was hard for us to follow (all in Luganda) but person after person told their story of God’s mercy and faithfulness, interjected by “Praise the Lord” to which the response is “Amen”! There is power in a living, recent testimony of God’s work in a person’s life.
(2) They Pray like they mean it!
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Church of Uganda * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Africa Uganda * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Teach thy Church, O Lord, we beseech thee, to value and support pioneering and courageous missionaries, whom thou callest, as thou didst thy servant James Lloyd Breck, to preach and teach, and plant thy Church in new regions; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Dr. David Yeago has been appointed to the faculty of the North American Lutheran Seminary and Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, as Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics.
“I am honored and delighted to join the faculty at Trinity School for Ministry in partnership with the North American Lutheran Seminary,” said Dr. Yeago. “Trinity’s commitment to the historic Christian faith, focus on Biblical theology, and passion for the mission of the Gospel correspond to my own priorities as a Christian theologian. I look forward to new friendships with new colleagues as we work together to form students for service to Christ and his Gospel in the Church and in the world.”
Read it all.
Seven board members, of which I am one, made a request privately to the Chairman of the Board for a special meeting. That request was denied on both procedural and substantive grounds, with a response to the later questions coming from the Chairman alone even though questions were specifically put to the Dean. The seven then made a second request for a meeting, this time appealing to legal arguments to attempt to affect some discussion. That request was denied by the Secretary on legal grounds, with no mention of the merit of the concerns. One bishop then sent a personal request that we have a face-to-face meeting. The result was an invitation to discussion only, about which I shall say more.
Of the Dean’s video defense of the invitation, the obvious logical and theological issues are manifold and have been covered with far more alacrity and in far more depth than I am able. Suffice it to say that the idea that a seminary’s pulpit is somehow more resilient to heresy than a parish’s is indefensible. The idea that seminarians are more immune to heresy than are “ordinary” parishioners is both demeaning and unjustifiable. If the history of our tradition over the last half century has taught us nothing else, it has at least taught us that our seminaries are precisely where erroneous doctrines are incubated. The idea that professional and courteous attention to one known to present a false gospel will somehow be a witness and corrective thereto defies logic and is in violation of the clear injunctions of Holy Writ.
Read it all.
The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will visit Nashotah House Theological Seminary on May 1, 2014. The invitation was made by the Dean/President the Right Reverend Edward Salmon, Jr at the request of several Episcopal seminarians studying at the House in order that she might become better acquainted with the life, character, and programs of the seminary and its community. Given the untimely and tragic death of one of those students, the Reverend Deacon Terry Star, a second year student from the Diocese of North Dakota who suffered a fatal heart attack on March 4, she has been invited to offer the encomium homily honoring Deacon Star following Evensong.
Deacon Star had served with Bishop Jefferts Schori on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. Her visit and homily will give the community unique insights into his promising life of ministry cut short by this tragedy.
Read it all.
A new good practice document on the appointment and training of clergy who manage curates and readers - training incumbents - has been published by the Church of England. The "critical" role of training incumbents is to look after the continuing development of more than 1500 clergy and readers who are training each year as part of their ministry to the church.
The report Good practice in the appointment and training of training incumbents was showcased at an event held in Sheffield for Diocesan representatives with a presentation by the Bishop of Doncaster, Peter Burrow.
Read it all.
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."
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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.
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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.
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[ 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.
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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....
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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.
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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.
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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."
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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....
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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(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.
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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."
Read it all.
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