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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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Gracious God, who hast inspired a rich variety of ministries in thy Church: We offer thanks for Richard Meux Benson and Charles Gore, instruments in the revival of Anglican monasticism. Grant that we, following their example, may call for perennial renewal in thy Church through conscious union with Christ, witnessing to the social justice that is a mark of the reign of our Savior Jesus, who is the light of the world; and who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
“The decisions which have led to the situation in St Mary’s Cathedral are a matter for the Provost and the Cathedral community but the Scottish Episcopal Church is deeply distressed at the widespread offence which has been caused. We also deeply regret the widespread abuse which has been received by the Cathedral community.
“In response to what has happened at the Cathedral, the Scottish Episcopal Church will bring together all those who are involved in the development of interfaith relations. Our intention will be as a Church to explore how, particularly in the area of worship, this work can be carried forward in ways which will command respect. Our desire is that this should be a worthy expression of the reconciliation to which all Christians are called.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Books Multiculturalism, pluralism * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
I became Anglican because of the church calendar. (Not only because of the church calendar but it was part of the process.) Non-calendar Christians usually observe Christmas (not always Advent, though it is growing) and Good Friday and Easter. That’s about it. The rest of the year is up to the preacher, the pastor, the elders and deacons, and up to the congregation. Many pastors wisely organize their churches to be formed over time through a series of themes — or books of the Bible (Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper preached through Romans for almost two decades) — but none can improve on the centrality of Christ in the church calendar.
Read it all.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, Stephen Cottrell, has been named as the favourite to succeed Richard Chartres as Bishop of London.
Cottrell is 3/1 favourite with bookmakers William Hill for the Church of England's third most senior job after Archbishop of Canterbury and York.
Although the formal appointments process has not yet begun, his name is increasingly being spoken of in Church circles as someone with the experience and charisma to lead the Church of England's fastest-growing, most diverse and most complex diocese.
Read it all from Christian Today.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
The uncertainty and turmoil caused by Brexit could prove worthwhile if it acts as a catalyst in the redistribution of power and wealth to the North, a leading figure in the church has claimed.
According to the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, last year’s vote presents politicians with a fresh opportunity to boost prosperity in the region – and to avoid deepening division across the country. The intervention from the senior clergyman comes amid growing concerns about the impact of Brexit on the North’s economy, following reports that the region is twice as dependant on EU trade as other parts of the UK.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The Archbishop of York is set see how heavenly food is produced during a tour of North Yorkshire.
Dr John Sentamu will embark on a mission in the Northern Ryedale deanery from Friday, which will see him visit a number of places including Michelin-star The Star Inn, at Harome, near Helmsley, over the following three days.
The mission is the first in a series which will see the Archbishop go back on the road to visit all 21 deaneries in the Diocese of York over the next two years.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
A total of 41 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said Britain has “no specific religious identity” in a ComRes poll published to launch the new Faith Research Centre in Westminster.
And a third of 25 to 34-year-olds believed the same, the poll of 2,048 adults found.
Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, had an entirely different perspective on how religious Britain is compared to the over 55s and pensioners.
Read it all.
The financial troubles at Peterborough Cathedral should not be used as “a stick to beat the rest of the cathedrals with”, the Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, has declared.
Dean Dorber was reacting to a suggestion, published last week by the Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, that the independence of cathedrals posed “serious risks” to the reputation of the Church.
The comment came at the end of a legal charge by the Bishop after his visitation of Peterborough Cathedral. This was prompted by the discovery, in July, of a cashflow crisis at the cathedral, which meant that staff were in imminent danger of not being paid....A loan was secured from the Church Commissioners, but it was announced at the same time that the Dean, the Very Revd Charles Taylor, was resigning.
Read it all.
Here are three things that will stay with me:
First is the way that the perpetrators at Auschwitz tried to dehumanise their victims – in a way that actually cost the humanity of both. It worked to some extent. Prisoners killed others in order to live – and were then killed themselves. Others gave their lives, like St Maximilian Kolbe and St Edith Stein.
Second, these atrocities were committed by ordinary people. When one of the priests leading our retreat was asked who was to blame, he said: "People did it to people.”
Third, it was idolatrous and demonic.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Europe Germany Poland * Theology Theodicy
The body of Archbishop Brown Turei, one of three leaders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, is to lie in state at Kauaetangohia Marae near the northernmost point of East Cape for two nights before his funeral on Saturday.
Brown Turei died surrounded by his family and loved ones in Gisborne Hospital on Monday, aged 92.
He was ordained a deacon in 1949 and a priest the following year.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
Bishops have painted a hopeful picture of a post-Brexit Britain in their New Year messages.
After the Prime Minister’s declaration that Article 50 will be triggered in March, so that Britain can leave the EU in March 2019, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his message, spoke of a “tough campaign” that had “left divisions”, but argued that reconciliation was possible: “I know that if we look at our roots, our culture, and our history in the Christian tradition . . . we will find a path towards reconciling the differences that have divided us.”
The message, filmed in Coventry, celebrated the welcome given to refugees in the city
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Read it all.
Thirteen leading international asset owners and five asset managers with over £2 trillion under management launched the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) today to better understand how the transition to a low-carbon economy affects their investments. The TPI will assess how individual companies are positioning themselves for the transition to a low-carbon economy through a public, transparent online tool. The heads of funds involved launched the Initiative this morning at the opening of the stock market at the London Stock Exchange.
The Initiative has been led by the Church of England's National Investing Bodies and the Environment Agency Pension Fund in partnership with the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. Data has been provided by FTSE Russell.
Preliminary assessments released today include the oil and gas and electricity utilities sectors. As part of a phased rollout, management quality and carbon performance assessments of additional sectors and individual companies will follow in the coming months.
Read it all from the C of E.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Corporations/Corporate Life Stock Market Energy, Natural Resources * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The flaw in his approach is that while the Muslims who chose the reading seem to have been only too aware of the differences, and chose to declare them in their Koranic reading during the Christian worship, the Provost, on the other hand, appears to have been unaware.
When asked if he had known what the passage of the Koran said about Jesus, how it denied what Christians hold central to their faith, he “declined to comment further”.
This was not, then, “a dialogue about the ways we differ”. It was not even a strategy of parity. If there had been a conversation in which he had said, “Let us insert into each other’s worship and prayers readings from our sacred scriptures which confront and contradict each others’ faith”, how would the Islamic community have responded? We will never know, because the exercise was not actually the one he claimed it to be.
Read it all from Gavin Ashenden.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Scottish Episcopal Church * Culture-Watch Books Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology Christology
Since it was finally completed in the fourteenth century, the tower of the Priory of St Mary Overie, later the Parish Church of Saviour and now the Cathedral for the Diocese of Southwark, stood high above the surrounding community on the south bank of the Thames. It was the ‘Shard’ of its day, an architectural presence in this busy, congested, exciting district of London. Within the tower, bells were hung, the first ring associated with the marriage in the Priory Church of King James I of Scots to Joan Beaufort, niece of the then Bishop of Winchester, Cardinal Beaufort on 12 February 1424. The bells rang out to call people to prayer, to mark the joyous and the sad occasions of life, to warn and to welcome. In the eighteenth century the ring of twelve was consolidated in the way that we have come to know the ring. Now in the twenty-first century it has been our privilege to undertake much needed work on the bells to ensure that they ring loud and clear for future generations.
Read it all and don't miss the wonderful pictures.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
‘Tim, there’s a priest at the door.’ She gripped her hands in front of her sweatshirt, balling her fists into her stomach. ‘He wants to know if you want to speak with him.’
Tim laboured to chew and swallow the food in his mouth. ‘A priest?’
‘From the Church of England.’ Tim’s father and I checked each other’s faces for comprehension. Only Tim intuited immediately why a priest had come calling.
‘No.’ Tim shook his head. ‘Please tell him no.’
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
The death has taken place of the Very Reverend Victor Griffin, former dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. Dean Griffin died in the early hours of Wednesday in Limavady, Co Derry, where he had been living in retirement.
Dean Griffin was involved with the anti-apartheid movement and protested at Lansdowne Road against a visiting Springboks rugby team. He also helped to organise the peace train to Northern Ireland. He was also part of the Dublin Crisis Conference when Dublin Corporation – now Dublin City Council – planned “to resettle the Liberties with large highways, with large office blocks and large car parks: the unholy trinity”. He was opposed to the idea, saying “it would all end in tears”. He later recalled that it did.
Dean Griffin was the author of a number of books including Anglican and Irish: What We Believe (1976), Mark of Protest (1993), Enough Religion to Make Us Hate (2002) and A Short Catechism of basic Church Teaching (2007).
Read it all.
He was ordained in 1991 and served for 4 years as curate of All Saints, Crowborough in Chichester diocese. He and Heather then left to move to Sydney Australia, as Mike took up a post as Junior Lecturer at Moore Theological College. While there he also did research for an MTh, with a dissertation on the concept of truth in John’s Gospel, and made many friends.
I first met Mike in 1998 when he returned to the UK to be a research fellow at Oak Hill Theological College in London. Some of his lectures were quite stretching (such as this one, and this one which he contributed to The Theologian journal), and I never understood his compulsive need to talk about Arsenal football club and include diagrams or witty quotes in all of his handouts! But he was a good friend and a mentor. We met up weekly to read the Bible and pray together during a year when I was doing MPhil research in the Old Testament, and we’d occasionally pore over the Septuagint or a Latin Church Father, or he’d advise me about college committees he had gotten me involved with. Always with at least one cup of coffee (and occasionally with a glass of something different).
Mike’s PhD from Kings College, London (completed in 2004) was on the eternal relation between God the Father and God the Son in selected patristic theologians and John’s Gospel, which highlights his interest in integrating systematic, historical, and biblical theology. Much of this work made it into his most recent publication Your Will Be Done: Exploring Eternal Subordination, Divine Monarchy and Divine Humility. He was keen to encourage Christians to engage more carefully in systematic theology, which he saw as something of a weakness in evangelical circles. In a helpful talk from 2006, for example, he examined the biblical foundations of systematics and outlined a biblical method of engaging in it, which many found persuasive.
Read it all (my emphasis).
(Oak Hill College)
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Seminary / Theological Education
Being opposed is not fun. It does not lift our spirits. And when, as you have in South Africa, you spent decades and decades facing an atrocious and deeply evil ideology of apartheid, even a trace of wrongdoing brings back the taste of injustice. One thinks, "Perhaps we are simply going round the circle again.”
Yet we are not.
A New Year reminds us that history is not circular. It is not endless repetition, but linear: a story written by God in the colours and characters of human beings. A story that has a beginning, a middle and an end – it ends in triumph. Even if we struggle and suffer along the way, we know that because God raised Christ from the dead, we will see the victory of Jesus Christ and share in his perfect Kingdom.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Southern Africa * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Theology: Scripture
But Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester condemned the reading and called for discipline against those involved.
"The authorities of the Scottish Episcopal Church should immediately repudiate this ill-advised invitation," he said in a statement.
He also called for the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to publicly distance the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion from the event.
" Christians should know what their fellow citizens believe and this can include reading the Qur'an for themselves, whether in the original or in translation. This is not, however, the same thing as having it read in Church in the context of public worship," he said.
Read it all from Christian Today.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Scottish Episcopal Church * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Books * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
[The] Right Reverend Dr Jacob Ayeebo, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Tamale has bemoaned the current situation where faith was becoming insignificant to growing numbers of people in society.
He said “Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life”.
He said most teenagers prioritised education, career development, friendships, and travel, adding “Among adults, the areas of growing importance are lifestyle comfort, success and personal achievements”.
Read it all.
...this obsession with things which are ‘less than God’ is rooted in a more profound malaise – the House of Bishops is not spiritually serious. By this I mean to say that they don’t seem to believe that the substance of Christianity is a matter of eternal life and death. The House of Bishops seems to be filled with just the same sort of social justice pleading that a liberal atheist would be perfectly at home with, with the consequence that the Bishops sound just like every other well-meaning middle class worrier....
The Bishops, in other words, seem to embody the cultural cringe that most Christians in England suffer from – that feeling when you are a reasonably intelligent and committed believer, but in mixed company refrain from mentioning anything to do with Christian faith for fear of causing offence, or, worse, being mistaken for a fundamentalist. The trouble is that the Bishops are there precisely to articulate the Christian faith in the public sphere and – surely! – to run the risk of offending when they do.
What the Bishops have failed to do is articulate a coherent narrative, not about what Christianity is in general and as a whole, but what Christianity means for the English people at this point in our national life.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
As we evaluate and critique the Secretary-General’s position on these matters it’s important to focus on the views themselves, representing those of the senior leadership of the Anglican Communion, rather than the person himself. In reverse order:
a) ‘African antagonism to homosexuality has been taught by American conservatives’. This is simply endorsing the narrative of Western LGBT activists who themselves have been campaigning to introduce their views into Africa with the powerful support of Western governments and even the UN. When they find resistance they assume it to come from the other side in their home culture war, as they cannot conceive of African leaders being able to think for themselves.
b) The harsh, blanket criticism of African church leaders (“unChristlike, despotic, corrupt”) is generalizing and inaccurate.
While of course some Church leaders are like this in Africa as in other parts of the world, there are many godly men and women who lead sacrificially and wisely. To suggest that they focus on sexuality while neglecting issues of deprivation and suffering is, again, simply not true, and again appears to be repeating the views of liberal Westerners who have never seen the heroic work going on all over the continent by churches.
c) The comment that “GAFCON is not a movement of the Holy Spirit” needs to be measured against the gracious forbearance shown by GAFCON leaders towards those with whom they disagreed at Canterbury in January 2016, and the wonderful unity displayed in the Cairo meeting of early October. Such an erroneous and harsh judgement of GAFCON sadly shows a determination not to reconcile with the movement, but to discredit it completely in the eyes of a Western audience. But GAFCON is a movement to hold the Anglican Communion together around the word of God, in line with the classical position of Anglicanism. It has not created schism, but has actually enabled loyal Anglicans to stay in the Communion. Following the teaching of God’s word, it refuses to have fellowship with those who have compromised the faith on matters of salvation. They have abandoned Communion, not GAFCON. This is the true logic of being a ‘conservative’.
d) The emphasis on reconciliation between people holding different views, so that institutional unity must be preserved at all costs is at odds with the New Testament. According to Ephesians 2 and 3, people from warring human religious and cultural backgrounds, alike estranged from God, are brought together by repentance, faith in Christ and obedience to God’s word. There is then one church and one faith. Serious disagreement over core doctrines is not good diversity which can be managed by institutional control and re-organization, but a sign of serious sickness in the body.
Read it all.
First, thank God, often and always… Thank God, carefully and wonderingly, for your continuing privileges and for every experience of his goodness. Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.--Michael Ramsey, The Christian Priest Today (London: SPCK, 1972), 79-81 (the chapter is entitled "Divine Humility")
Secondly, take care about confession of your sins... Be sure to criticize yourself in God’s presence: That is your self-examination. And put yourself under the divine criticism: That is your confession.
Thirdly, be ready to accept humiliations. They can hurt terribly, but they help you to be humble. There can be the trivial humiliations. Accept them. There can be the bigger humiliations… All these can be so many chances to be a little nearer to our humble and crucified Lord…
Fourthly, do not worry about status… there is only one status that our Lord bids us be concerned with, and that is the status of of proximity to himself…
Fifthly, use your sense of humor. Laugh about things, laugh at the absurdities of life, laugh about yourself, and about your own absurdity. We are all of us infinitesimally small and ludicrous creatures within God’s universe. You have to be serious, but never be solemn, because if you are solemn about anything there is the risk of becoming solemn about yourself
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury * Christian Life / Church Life * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Soteriology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)
When the early Christians wrote about Jesus, this was the story they believed themselves to be telling. They didn't see him as simply a teacher, a moral example, or even as one who saved people from a doomed world. They told his story as the point where the dark forces of chaos converged, in the cynical politics of Herod and Pilate, the bitter fanaticism of the Pharisees, the wild shrieks of diseased souls, the sudden storms on the lake. They invite us to see his death on the analogy of Jonah's being thrown into the sea, there to be swallowed by the monster called Death. They insist that in this death God has taken upon Himself the full force of the world's evil. As a sign of that, the final book of the Bible declares that in the new world, now already begun with his resurrection, there will be no more sea.
Saying this precisely does not give Christian theology an easy explanation ("Oh, that's all right then") for the continuing presence of evil in the world. On the contrary, it tells a story about Jesus's own sense of abandonment, and thereby encourages us to embrace the same sense of helpless involvement in the sorrow of the world, as the means by which the world is to be healed. Those who work for justice, reconciliation and peace will know that sense, and perhaps, occasionally, that healing.
This isn't the kind of answer that the Enlightenment wanted. But maybe, as we launch into the deep waters of another new year, it is the kind of vocation we ought to embrace in place of shallow analysis and shrill reaction.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Theology Christology Theodicy
And even because this day He took not the angels' nature upon Him, but took our nature in "the seed of Abraham," therefore hold we this day as a high feast; therefore meet we thus every year in a holy assembly, upon us a dignity which upon the angels He bestowed not. That He, as in the chapter before the Apostle setteth Him forth, That is, "the brightness of His Father's glory, the very character of His substance, the Heir of all things, by Whom He made the world;" He, when both needed it His taking upon Him their nature and both stood before Him, men and Angels, "the Angels He took not," but men "He took;" was made Man, was not made an Angel; that is, did more for them than He did for the Angels of Heaven.
Elsewhere the Apostle doth deliver this very point positively, and that, not without some vehemency; "Without all question great is the mystery of godliness: God is manifested in the flesh." Which is in effect the same that is here said, but that here it is delivered by way of comparison; for this speech is evidently a comparison. If he had thus set it down, "Our nature He took," that had been positive; but setting it down thus, "Ours He took, the Angels He took not," it is certainly comparative.
...Now the masters of speech tell us that there is power in the positive if it be given forth with an earnest asseveration, but nothing to that that is in the comparative. It is nothing so full to say, "I will never forget you," as thus to say it; "Can a mother forget the child of her own womb? Well, if she can, yet will not I forget you." Nothing so forcible to say thus, "I will hold my word with you," as thus, "Heaven and earth shall pass, but My word shall not pass." The comparative expressing is without all question more significant; and this here is such. Theirs, the Angels, nusquam, "at no hand He took, but ours He did.
--From a Christmas sermon in 1605.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Anthropology Christology
I started life as a clergyman here in Coventry. I was ordained in the new Cathedral, which was built alongside the ruins. I never imagined I’d work here, but for five years I helped lead Coventry’s global ministry of reconciliation, which grew out of Dick Howard’s vision and now has 200 partners for peace around the world.
Coventry’s always been a place that has caught my imagination and my passion. The story of this city says so much that is true about Britain at its best. About our courage, our standing up to tyranny, how we stand alongside the suffering and defeated. How we stand for human dignity and hope.
It says something vitally important about our generosity. How we’ve embraced the idea of reconciliation, so that our wartime enemies are now friends. Thanks to our creative, innovative spirit, this vibrant and diverse city is also a hugely welcoming place.
Read it all.
Out of the thousand things which follow directly from this reading of John, I choose three as particularly urgent.
First, John’s view of the incarnation, of the Word becoming flesh, strikes at the very root of that liberal denial which characterised mainstream theology thirty years ago and whose long-term effects are with us still. I grew up hearing lectures and sermons which declared that the idea of God becoming human was a category mistake. No human being could actually be divine; Jesus must therefore have been simply a human being, albeit no doubt (the wonderful patronizing pat on the head of the headmaster to the little boy) a very brilliant one. Phew; that’s all right then; he points to God but he isn’t actually God. And a generation later, but growing straight out of that school of thought, I have had a clergyman writing to me this week to say that the church doesn’t know anything for certain, so what’s all the fuss about? Remove the enfleshed and speaking Word from the centre of your theology, and gradually the whole thing will unravel until all you’re left with is the theological equivalent of the grin on the Cheshire Cat, a relativism whose only moral principle is that there are no moral principles; no words of judgment because nothing is really wrong except saying that things are wrong, no words of mercy because, if you’re all right as you are, you don’t need mercy, merely ‘affirmation’....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Theology Christology
Almighty God, who didst rescue Samuel Ajayi Crowther from slavery, sent him to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to his people in Nigeria, and made him the first bishop from the people of West Africa: Grant that those who follow in his steps may reap what he has sown and find abundant help for the harvest; through him who took upon himself the form of a slave that we might be free, the same Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The first ever African Anglican Archbishop, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, of Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/VV9DHkFKoR— Noel Nyasha (@NoelNyasha) December 16, 2015
To give shape and meaning to life we need to inhabit narratives capacious enough to permit development and to accommodate new themes. Not only stories are needed but communities to inhabit them. We all need somewhere we belong and where membership gives us dignity and something to live up to....
God so loved the world that he was generous and gave himself to us in the person of the infant Jesus whose destiny was not command and control but to love his enemies into loving. We no longer regard Caesar as god and the coming of the Christ-child has also changed our picture of God and reveals a generous God who does not in his heart of hearts resemble Caesar.
And so the wise men significantly “departed into their own country another way”.
A genuine encounter with the Christ-child, an infant born in a stable to an ordinary mother in a far off province of the Empire, may not on the surface seem very earth-shaking but in reality it changes everything.
Read it all (emphasis mine).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture
The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has highlighted the importance of truth in public life and pointed to the truth of Jesus, in his annual Christmas message....
“In the Bible, God is called the God of truth. The apostle John describes Jesus as ‘the Word become flesh’ who came to earth and lived among us. He said, ‘We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.’ From politics to personal life, what more do we want for Christmas than people who will tell us the truth?” the Archbishop said.
Read it all.
Listen to it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry
That first Christmas started with a young couple making a difficult journey and having to trust God with every step along the way. And, day by day, as I walked through the streets and fields, talking and praying with people who joined me, and sometimes walking alone, I was aware that I was part of the continuing journey of God’s people. A journey on which we constantly rest on God’s promises, and look ahead to the time when all those promises will be fulfilled.
Some of us feel uncertain about the New Year and what it will hold for us personally. As you reflect on the year that has passed, may I encourage you to reach out to God as part of your journey in 2017? We may also feel unsettled by the uncertainty of Brexit and the US presidential elections. In the face of an uncertain future, we look at our leaders and ask ourselves, “Can these men and women really lead us to a life of prosperity and peace?” The Gospel of John holds a verse of great hope: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it".
In the midst of uncertainty and personal danger, I can testify to the fact that God will never leave us or forsake us. God will always show us a way – as he has done in sending Jesus, his Son, to forgive us all that separates us from God and from each other and lead us into new life. We do not travel alone and God’s promise to us in Jesus is to be with us throughout. Friends, this is not a pie crust promise – easily made and broken. There is nowhere God’s love cannot abound; in prison, in war zones, in refugee camps, in areas of acute hunger, in hospitals and hospices, in isolation, in loneliness, in despair, in mental illness, and even in our lives’ last journey – the journey through death.
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I can bring it so neare; but onely the worthy hearer, and the worthy receiver, can call this Lord this Jesus, this Christ, Immanuel God with us; onely that virgin soule, devirginated in the blood of Adam but restored in the blood of the Lambe hath this Ecce, this testimony, this assurance, that God is with him; they that have this Ecce, this testimony, in a rectified conscience, are Godfathers to this child Jesus and may call him Immanuel God with us for as no man can deceive God, so God can deceive no man; God cannot live in the darke himself neither can he leave those who are his in the darke: If he be with thee he will make thee see that he is with thee and never goe out of thy sight, till he have brought thee, where thou canst never goe out of his.
--John Donne (1572-1631), Preached at St. Pauls, upon Christmas Day, in the Evening, 1624
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * Theology Christology
The end of 2016 finds us all in a different kind of world, one less predictable and certain, which feels more awash with fear and division.
Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said three weeks ago, "Despite immense progress many citizens in advanced economies are facing heightened uncertainty… rather than a new golden era, globalisation is associated with low wages, insecure employment, stateless corporation and striking inequalities."
That uncertainty of our world, our feelings tells us that our values are in the wrong place. I learned last week of a family in one of our cities who lowered their child in a supermarket dustbin to scavenge for food before fishing him out. What will that family eat today?
Economic progress, technological progress, communication progress hasn’t resulted in economic justice. It hasn’t delivered glory for us
It is amongst those on the edge, those ignored, and amongst persecuted believers that I have most clearly seen the glory of God this year, a glory that chases away the fear of terror, the power of death, and the economies of injustice, and presents a path to a more just, more Christ-like world.
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...glimpses into the life of the holy family are rare.
Three qualities, however, seem evident. First, there was a firm, but loving authority in the home. This can be seen in the one episode where there was a misunderstanding between Jesus and his parents. (Luke 2:41ff) A second familial practice was implicit in this event: they were faithful in keeping holy days, as well as in Sabbath and synagogue worship. Thirdly, both Mary and Jesus demonstrated a deep intimacy with the Hebrew Scriptures. Great portions of the Law, Prophets and Psalms appear to have been memorized. We might like to know more about their daily lives, but this much we may safely assume: There was a strong, positive and loving discipline; a sure trust in God’s providential care; a commitment to regular worship; and a deep and practical knowledge of the Scriptures.
How such qualities are needed today in our homes—where
the Bible is read and children hear and see their parents reading and praying the Scripture
prayers are said as individuals and as families
parents and children go to church and worship together
God’s name is spoken with reverence and where his teachings are believed
wholesome and proper authority is respected
It was from this kind of home that Jesus went out to minister to a hurting world. For those of us who are parents or grandparents is there any better gift we can give our children or grandchildren than a decision to model our home and family in this way?
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family Religion & Culture * South Carolina * Theology Christology Theology: Scripture
The future of the partially-demolished earthquake-ravaged cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, remains uncertain after an expected pre-Christmas announcement was delayed. Cathedral and diocesan officials had wanted to demolish the remains of the building, which was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake, and build a new cathedral. But a series of legal and political challenges followed from opponents who are pushing for the previous building to be effectively restored.
In January, a New Zealand government-appointed mediator, Miriam Dean QC, said that restoration work could lead to a new building which was “indistinguishable” from the one that was all-but destroyed by the earthquake. But she said that the “costly and risky project” would be significantly more expensive and take much longer to build than a contemporary replacement.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * General Interest Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.
Churches, parishes, and individuals will be urged next spring to join a global disinvestment mobilisation to end the dependence on fossil fuels.
The campaign Bright Now will launch the event next May to increase pressure on big investors to move their money away from coal, oil, and gas producers into green-energy technologies.
The campaign, which is run by a Christian charity that campaigns on climate change, Operation Noah, is putting together a resource for churches on how they can disinvest from fossil fuels and reinvest in renewable energy.
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An urgent call for funds to help fleeing refugees from embattled South Sudan has been issued by the Archbishop of Uganda.
The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali, issued his appeal last week following the influx of South Sudanese refuges in West Nile and Northern Uganda.
Archbishop Ntagali said that there was a need for the Church in Uganda to supplement government efforts to respond to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.
In his appeal, he said that the increasing numbers of refugees still need shelter, food, clothing, psycho-social support, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); and for their sustainable livelihood, the need to acquire vocational skills is a requirement.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Uganda Episcopal Church of the Sudan * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary Africa Sudan --South Sudan Uganda
[The] Rev Dr Plyming trained at Cranmer Hall, where he gained a first in theology, before undertaking a curacy at an ecumenical church in Basingstoke.
He went on to serve on the General Synod of the Church of England since 2009 and played a significant role in the church’s Renewal and Reform modernisation project, sitting on the Archbishop’s Simplification Task Group.
He is currently Vicar of Holy Trinity Claygate, a parish church in the Diocese of Guildford which has seen significant growth in recent years, and also Area Dean of Emly.
He is married to Annabelle, a hospice doctor, and they have two schoolage sons.
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During this season leading up to Christmas, people all around you are wondering if God is available and if he cares. Is he accessible? Can he be known? The answer is Yes, yes, yes, and yes!
Right now, hearts are open to God. People are wondering about Him because the culture is focused on Christmas. We may lament the crass commercialization and the cultural confusion about reindeer and elves and such things. But the fact is, now is a perfect time to help those you know - neighbors, friends or co-workers - take a step toward Christ. This season offers one of the main times when people will actually come to church — if they are invited.
But here’s a tip to inviting people so that they won’t get cold feet at the last minute. Ask them if you can pick them up. Or offer to meet them in the lobby (don’t call it a Narthex!) so that you can sit together. Then offer to go out to eat together after the service and while you’re eating engage them in conversation about the message they heard and what they think. You’ll be amazed because you’ll discover that God is with you in the middle of it all.
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The Church of England has squared up to commercial giants John Lewis, Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer with its bid for Christmas ad of the year.
The Church's new two minute film "Joy to The World" features Gogglebox vicar and Songs of Praise presenter Kate Bottley and has been released on the Church's official website and social media channels.
The film highlights the hectic life of a vicar at Christmas, combining priest, social worker, parent and dog owner up to the traditional midnight service on Christmas Eve and the magical first moment of Christmas Day.
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In many parts of our troubled, uncertain world, Christian minority communities along with other minorities are being similarly targeted. In some places, this is motivated by a desire to eradicate the indigenous Christian presence completely. These are acts not only of terror but of genocide; criminal acts for which the international community must bring those guilty to account. Yet although so vulnerable and often forgotten and marginalised, our brothers and sisters are being courageous in the Lord. Indeed, ‘God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong’ (1 Corinthians 1.27).
In other places conflict and corruption have become so normal that the world forgets the suffering of the poor.
I ask your prayers for those of us who live in safety that we may not be bystanders afar off, beating our breasts as we retire to the security of our homes, but that we may draw nearer to the cross of Jesus, stand there alongside our suffering brothers and sisters and be ready to take our part in practical action for change. I pray that Christ will strengthen all his people in our inner being with power through the Holy Spirit to be faithful, to have courage and to live in hope.
More than ever we need Christ like communities proclaiming the good news of the gospel in word and action.
Read it all (my emphasis).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Culture-Watch Globalization Religion & Culture * Religion News & Commentary Ecumenical Relations Other Churches
Creator of light, we offer thanks for thy priest Henry Budd, who carried the great treasure of Scripture to his people the Cree nation, earning their trust and love. Grant that his example may call us to reverence, orderliness and love, that we may give thee glory in word and action; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A cross-party group of peers has been set up to come up with ways to reduce the size of the House of Lords.
Earlier this month peers voted to reduce the size of the Upper House, which currently has 809 members.
There have been calls to make it no bigger than the Commons, which is set to be cut to 600 MPs.
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Amazing things happen. Westminster Abbey is building itself a new tower — the foundation stone was laid quietly last week by the Prince of Wales. Not since Hawksmoor slapped his pseudo-Gothic towers onto the west front in 1745 has anyone dared such a venture on so hallowed a building. Could this be the start of something new?
Admittedly almost no one will be able to see the structure. Designed by the abbey’s architect, Ptolemy Dean, it is sandwiched at the back of the abbey between the Chapter House and Poets’ Corner. It will give access to the Abbey’s upper triforium, for a new exhibition gallery. But the principle is important. Old buildings need to stay alive. If Hawksmoor thought he could improve on Henry III, we can too.
The abbey was technically a cathedral only under Mary I but everyone regards it as the “cathedral of the nation”. It is one of my favourites, a dotty old bag lady of a place, perpetually rustling through her aisles, chapels, cloisters and mausoleums, like a Dickensian character in search of a secret.
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The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “I’m a keen social media user and I think it’s a great way to stay in touch with family and friends as well as get a sense of what’s going on in the wider world. That said, it’s greatly encouraging that two thirds of people would consider a social media fast over Christmas.
“The festive period is a time to connect at a much more meaningful level. Putting down your phone for just a few days gives you time to strike up conversations you might not have had, get out and enjoy social activities with friends, or just relax and enjoy a traditional Christmas without the constant distraction of newsfeeds and timelines.
“Even if it’s just for a day or two, why not take up the challenge and enjoy a short social media fast this Christmas – you might be surprised how good you feel as a result.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of York John Sentamu * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Blogging & the Internet --Social Networking Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
A message of support to the Bishop of Berlin
Dear Brother in Christ,
I was praying for you and the people of Berlin earlier this morning. As the Bishop of a City which has also experienced terrorism, my heart goes out to the bereaved and injured. This attack on hospitable Germany is felt deeply here.
The dead and injured will be remembered in your Cathedral of St Paul’s in these last days of Advent.
With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel.
The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres KCVO DD FSA
Bishop of London (Found there).
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The first ever Nigerian chosen to be a bishop in the Church of England today spoke of how God is with those suffering pain and loss in Berlin.
He described his personal experiences of the depradations of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.
Rev Woyin Karowei Dorgu told Christian Today: "In time of pain and difficulty, people ask the question, 'Where is God?'
"I often say God is with us. That's the message of Christmas. Emmanuel, God with us.
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“A half a Revelation, please.” The Rev. Stuart Cradduck allowed the theological implications of the request to hang in the air for a moment.
“Why settle for half when you could have a full revelation?” Mr. Cradduck answered.
Then he turned to the bank of wooden kegs under the stained-glass windows to fill the beer-lover’s order.
It was the last Saturday in November and Mr. Cradduck, the rector of St. Wulfram’s Church in this Midlands town, was serving behind an improvised bar in the church, dressed in a black cassock and clerical collar. With events like the “Land of Hops and Glory” beer festival, Mr. Cradduck and other Anglican modernizers are trying to make their churches hubs of increasingly secular communities.
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(Diocese of Southwark Photo)
Downing Street has announced today that the Revd Prebendary Dr Woyin Karowei Dorgu is to be the 13th Bishop of Woolwich. He succeeds the Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave who is now the 99th Bishop of Lichfield. He will be consecrated in Southwark Cathedral on St Patrick’s Day 17th March 2017.
Dr Dorgu was ordained Deacon in 1995 and Priest in 1996 and has served all his ministry in the Diocese of London. His curacy was at St Mark, Tollington Park and since 1998 he has been building the community of faith at St John, Upper Holloway.Bishop of Woolwich designate
Born and brought up in Nigeria, Dr Dorgu worked as a medical doctor before ordination. He has a deep concern for mission and regularly leads open-air evangelism in his parish and has seen his church grow remarkably. He is much involved in the life of the Church Primary School in the parish where he has been Chair of Governors and supports staff and pupils. He is married to Mosun who is a Consultant Child Psychiatrist.
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O Tempore, O Mores. George Carey, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, has been evicted by King’s College London from its "wall of fame" on The Strand (a public gallery of illustrious people associated with the university).
Meanwhile, dozens of other alumni continue to gaze imperiously from an otherwise grey concrete facade. Was Carey too male, pale and stale? Perhaps not, as Desmond Tutu also lost his pane. Yet we smell a rat.
Back in 2010, at the height of the gay marriage debate, LGBT student campaigners demanded the removal of Lord Carey for opposing this policy. The university, however, stood firm, a spokesman explaining that "Lord Carey’s views are his own and offered as part of an open debate".
Read it all from the THE blog.
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A church commission is proposing four ways that Anglicans across Canada can take part in the task of reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people in Canada: praying, learning, building relationships and acting. “Reconciliation is daily individual spiritual practice and communal conversion, the transformation of the whole church,” members of the Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice say in an open letter to Canadian Anglicans.
“We know that many of you are on this path, but we hope to link our efforts to yours, so that we as a whole church might embrace the promise of reconciliation, walking together with other churches, and with others of faith and conscience in persistence and in hope.”
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What’s your favourite part of the county – and why? That is a bit like asking a parent ‘Which is your favourite child?’ Whether it is the glorious beaches of the east coast, the stunning countryside of the moors, the Dales and the Wolds, or the vibrancy of the cities like Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and Middlesbrough, Yorkshire really does have something for everyone. What’s your idea of a perfect day, or a perfect weekend, out in Yorkshire? Every day starts with a prayer. A perfect one would have to include spending some time with my family, and also getting out to explore some of the hidden corners of this amazing county. As many of you probably know, I love my cooking, and Yorkshire has some fantastic produce, so maybe a little time in the kitchen? Do you have a favourite walk – or view? This year I spent six months walking the Diocese of York as part of my Pilgrimage of Prayer, Witness and Blessing and each step offered something different – whether it was the beauty of Thixendale, the rugged expanse of the North York Moors, or coming around a corner and catching sight of an iconic structure like the Humber Bridge or York Minster. Fabulous.
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For rector Sarah Lunn, it’s only a stone’s throw from the small sandstone church of St James to the purpose-built surgery in the tiny Cumbrian village of Temple Sowerby where she often meets troubled parishioners referred to her by one of two GPs.
Lunn, who looks after 12 agricultural parishes nestling between the Lake District fells and the Pennines from her home base at Long Marton, is not at the surgery to talk to patients about Jesus, but simply to listen to whatever they feel they need to get off their chest – and at the same time take the pressure off struggling local primary health services.
The GP practice run by doctors Jo Thompson and Helen Jervis is up against it – like many others in Cumbria – because it is two doctors down and can’t attract anyone else to replace them, despite the beauty of the area.
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Overall, there has been significant decline in English Anglicanism since 1980, but limited growth as well. Between 1980 and 2013 the number of members on the electoral roll (a loose list of those who are church members) dropped by 41 percent and usual Sunday attendance dropped by 37 percent. The number of infants being baptised remains large, but is now decidedly a minority of the birth cohort (around 20%). All dioceses, apart from London, have shrunk in recent years. But the decline is highly varied. Dioceses farthest from London, such as Truro and Durham, have tended to decline fastest. In both cases, their usual Sunday attendance has halved between 1990 and 2014.
But such broad-brush figures about England conceal as well as reveal. The Diocese of London, having declined in the 1980s, saw its adult membership rise by over 70 percent between 1990 and 2010, rebounding back to where it was around 1980. It is unclear to what extent London is an outlier or a harbinger of the future. All other dioceses have seen their electoral roll fall in that time, most by substantial amounts. Below are the “top five” dioceses measured by electoral roll in 2013, compared with 1990. This measure has its flaws, but the picture it presents is backed up by other data.
Read it all from David Goodhew.
Under current Church rules, gay clergy wanting to enter into civil partnerships are required to assure their bishops they will remain celibate – in line with traditional Church teaching that sex is only permitted within heterosexual marriage.
Such clergy also have to make similar official assurances to their archbishop before they can be promoted to the rank of bishop.
But sources said the bishops could now call for the rule to be scrapped so that clerics living with same-sex partners would no longer have to make a solemn vow.
They would still be expected to remain celibate.
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On December 13, Bishop Dennis Drainville, of the diocese of Quebec, announced that he will “step aside” from episcopal ministry for an unspecified period of time due to health reasons, and that Coadjutor Bishop Bruce Myers will serve as commissary in the interim.
In a letter to his diocese, Drainville, 62, says that “as the months have passed it has been increasingly difficult to continue to put in the hours and continue travelling throughout the diocese,” and that his doctor has recommended he take this action.
While the letter does not disclose the nature of Drainville’s medical leave, in an interview with the Anglican Journal earlier in December, he said that he was suffering from an undiagnosed degenerative illness.
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St. John the Baptist Parish was formed through the merger of two smaller local congregations that broke away from the Episcopal Church because of concerns about changes within their denomination: St. Michael the Archangel, which worshiped in Philadelphia’s Mount Airy section and Blessed John Henry Newman, which worshiped in Wayne.
Last year the St. John’s community arranged for a lease to purchase the former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, an Italian personal parish in Bridgeport, which had merged into Sacred Heart Parish in nearby Swedesburg in 2014.
Father David Ousley, the pastor of St. John the Baptist, expects arrangements for the purchase will be finalized in the near future. His congregation, which has about 100 members, is financially stable and he expects further growth.
“Our primary focus is Catholicity for Anglicans who see a need for it,” he said. “Usually they see a need for the sacraments or the need for sound and concrete teaching.”
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The Church of England’s overriding compulsion to jettison its workers in favour of self-protection suggests that promoting (or attempting to re-gain) its reputation is more important than upholding basic principles of justice. The church is sacrificing its present loyal workers and members in order to atone for its past sins and omissions.
Innocence has manifestly become a difficult concept for the church to handle in the area of child safeguarding. What happened to the common law presumption? While the church’s measures and guidelines are developing, there are few safeguards, if any, put in place to protect the innocent and wrongfully accused. David Potter MBE (…) has been caught up in the injustice of the church’s procedures and was supported by his bell ringers who also appreciated the unfairness. They acted like a quasi-jury: consider that these are 30 adult minds – not necessarily impartial, but certainly ‘good men and true’. The Dean and Chapter failed to persuade any of them that David Potter MBE (…) presented an ongoing risk to children. Some of them doubtless have children.
And so we must add the name of David Potter MBE (…) to those of Bishop George Bell, Bishop Michael Perham and Sister Frances Dominica, along with sundry unnamed and unknown others who are suffering indignity if not excommunication. In the fitful fever of paedomania, the mere allegation of child abuse has surpassed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. While the Church of England becomes a safe place for children, it is hell for those wrongly accused of abuse. Pastoral care? What’s that?
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One of CEEC’s tasks, prompted by “Guarding the Deposit”, is to consider together the various ways evangelicals will respond to this situation and how the wider church might face the reality of our diversity over human sexuality. “Guarding the Deposit” outlines three broad ways the church might act in 2017 and beyond.
Its hope is that the Church of England will maintain its current teaching and practice as the 2007 Synod committed us to do. Alternatively there may be a full acceptance of same-sex relationships as in a few other Anglican provinces. This would undoubtedly lead to major division within the CofE and the destruction of the Anglican Communion in its current form. There may therefore be an attempt – as in the Pilling Report – to offer some form of supposed via media with official permission for marking of same-sex relationships.
But, as “Guarding the Deposit” argues, this too would both represent a departure from apostolicity and lead to continuing conflict. It would therefore require some form of agreed visible differentiation and structural separation within the Church of England (and wider Communion).
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The Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, is to take early retirement, he said December 15. The announcement comes two months after he voluntarily stood aside from his duties after admitting that he failed to act on repeated reports that some priests in his former diocese of Newcastle, in the Anglican Church of Australia, were sexually abusing children.
Roger told his diocesan council that he would continue to take accrued leave until he retires on July 7, 2017, a year ahead of schedule.
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On St. Andrew's Eve, 29th November, the Anglican Church at Puerto Pollença celebrated 30 years of its ministry. St Andrew is the patron of this congregation. Although active for these 30 years, only a couple of years ago, the congregation moved to a new multi-purpose premises, which is well used by this active parish, led by their priest, the Revd Nigel Stimpson.
Read it all from Bishop David Hamid.
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...something of my own stuckness was softened by the comments this week of the theatre director Alexander Zeldin. His new play is now on at the National Theatre in London and soon to be on in Birmingham. “In this political moment” he said “it is important to feel life strongly”. He is not offering policy proposals but he is contributing to the conversation by amplifying the stories of people, in the few weeks before Christmas, who are in temporary accommodation. In one scene, a son is washing his mother’s hair in the kitchen sink with washing up liquid – and drying it with a filthy tea towel – that on one review night made the audience gasp. The scenes like this are made much more powerful by the fact that there is no special theatre lighting in this production. As the audience, we are in the kitchen, not watching people in the kitchen. The fourth wall that normally separates actors and audience has been dissolved.
In Advent, much of the theological imagery turns on the themes of light brightening the darkness and the anticipation of God becoming a child, vulnerable to the vagaries of human politics and power. Taking our cue from the play, it might be that we need to change the lighting when illuminating the stories of people who are vulnerable and in need of support
Read it allfrom the BBC.
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The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal is partnering with Christian Aid and Tearfund to respond to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Already one of the world’s poorest nations, it has been devastated by civil war, leaving 7,000 dead, 35,000 injured and millions without food and shelter.
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“Where is the theology?” is a question that has been levelled at the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme. It appears to some that we are being asked to embrace some potentially far-reaching changes, with associated long-term consequences that are not easy to predict, but that no one has sat down and thought all this through theologically. The homework has not been done.
I would like to argue that the Renewal and Reform programme both rests on some substantial theological foundations and makes a significant theological judgment, with roots that go deep into the New Testament and subsequent Christian tradition. Moreover, this theology connects with practical matters such as diocesan funding formulas and clerical training programmes.
The importance of the choice of the words “renewal” and “reform” to be the title of the programme should not be underestimated. These two words have a long history in Christian theology, which their secular co-option in contemporary culture should not obscure. It is not an entirely straightforward or simple history, but the roots stretch back to the New Testament itself via early Latin translations, where the verb “reformare” was sometimes used for Greek words normally rendered in English by “transform”, as at Romans 12.2; 2 Corinthians 3.18; and Philippians 3.21.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Advent Christmas Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Media * Theology
Bellringers at Leeds Minster have turned down an invitation to ring York Minster’s bells at its Christmas services, in an ‘act of solidarity’ with York’s axed ringers.
Deputy ringing master Robert Childs said members discussed the invitation from York’s Dean and Chapter during a practice session, and 13 members voted no, with two abstaining.
He said Leeds’ ringers would normally have relished the opportunity to ring York’s bells, which were the finest in the country in terms of the sound.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
--A New Prayer Book (London: Oxford University Press 1923)
The gunmen, who abducted the wife of the General Secretary of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Venerable Ayodeji Fagbemi, Ebunoluwa had contacted the family, demanding for a sum of N20 million for her release.
The victim, Mrs.Fagbemi was kidnapped by unknown gunmen who invaded her house at Oba-Ile in Akure North local government Area of Ondo State on Monday night.
Leadership learnt that the abductors took the woman away to unknown destination after gaining entrance into her house through the window.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Police/Fire Marriage & Family Violence Women * International News & Commentary Africa Nigeria * Theology Anthropology Eschatology
The College of Bishops of the Church of England met at Lambeth Palace on Monday 12th December.
The meeting began with a service of Holy Communion and reflections from the Archbishop of York. Discussions on issues of sexuality took place as part of a process of episcopal discernment which began in September and continued at the meeting of the House of Bishops in November.
The college discussed the reflections of the House from their November meeting and also received an update from the Chair of the Bishops Reflection Group on Sexuality.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Josiah Idowu-Fearon, appointed secretary general of the Anglican Consultative Council last year, said his commitment to reconciliation remained firm.
But on the issue at the root of the disagreements, human sexuality, he admitted there was "no way" of finding agreement. "It's not possible," he said. The alternative to finding a way to live together was to allow separate "splinter groups".
Idowu-Fearon also criticised the leadership of Anglican churches in Africa as ineffective.
He said he was speaking from experience, and described them as "despotic".
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary Anglican Covenant Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Ecclesiology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
(Church of Ireland Gazette)
00:00 Background to reconciliatioin priority
04.18 Hatred within Anglican Communion and between Christians and Muslims
07:26 Secretary-General’s role in inter-Anglican reconciliation
10:22 Conservatives’ attitudes
12.30 End of Part 1
00:00 Human sexuality an issue for all major denominations
08.02 Possibility of a dialogue body for GAFCON-Anglican Communion Instruments reconciliation
12.20 End of Part 2
00:00 Comments on Primates’ Meeting 2016 & ACC-16
03.17 Churches’ financial contributrions to Anglican Communion Office
06.00 Archbishop Idowu-Fearon’s comments to CAPA in 2015/African Church leadership/Anglican orthodoxy
13:00 Human sexuality debate within Anglican Communion/American conservatives intervening in Africa
15:40 End of Part 3
00:00 The Anglican Covenant
02:48 Anglican Communion Task Force
04:33 Next Lambeth Conference
05:10 Next meeting of Anglican Consultative Council
05:49 End of Part 4
Listen to it all (45 minutes for all 4 segments).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Covenant Anglican Provinces Church of Nigeria Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Theology Anthropology Christology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
On December 6, 2016, the Board of Trustees of Trinity School for Ministry unanimously appointed The Rev. Dr. Henry L. Thompson (Laurie) as the seventh Dean/President of the Seminary, effective immediately. Last May, Dr. Thompson was appointed as the Interim Dean/President. This action of the board makes the appointment permanent. Plans are underway for Dr. Thompson to be installed as Dean/President in early February. The Dean/President is the senior administrator and chief academic officer of the seminary and is responsible for all of the daily operations and fundraising efforts.
“After observing Laurie’s capable leadership as Interim Dean/President over the past six months, the Board is confident that Laurie is God’s man for Trinity in this season,” remarked Mr. Douglas Wicker, Chairman of Trinity’s Board. “His intimate knowledge of and love for the school are important as we move forward. Many of the faculty and staff have also expressed their confidence in and support of Laurie’s leadership in this role.”
Read it all.
(TSM photo of Laurie and Mary Thompson)
Archbishop Okoh’s Pastoral Letter of 6th December 2016 makes clear that, despite attempts from some in the Church of England leadership both to obfuscate the real situation on the ground in the Church, and to undermine the significance of Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10, the GAFCON Primates are in no doubt either as to the breakdown of discipline in the Church of England or as to the standards for human sexuality that the majority of the Communion expect the Church of England to uphold.
2017 will be the anniversary of two significant decisions of the General Synod of the Church of England. It will be the thirtieth anniversary of the almost unanimous vote of Synod to approve what became known as the “Higton Motion”, a clear declaration of the historic, apostolic teaching of the Church on sex and marriage. 2017 will also be the tenth anniversary of the affirmation by the General Synod (GS Misc 843B) that the Church of England is to:
(a) commend continuing efforts to prevent the diversity of opinion about human sexuality creating further division and impaired fellowship within the Church of England and the Anglican Communion;
(b) recognize that such efforts would not be advanced by doing anything that could be perceived as the Church of England qualifying its commitment to the entirety of the relevant Lambeth Conference Resolutions (1978: 10; 1988: 64; 1998: 1.10);
Read it all
Fortunately, there is a way of clearing all of this up that doesn’t require consulting dead authors, or piling excerpts atop of one another and defending one’s interpretation of each dash and comma. We can ask the Archbishop of Canterbury how he interprets the document. He has actually weighed in on this issue, but in a way that I found confusing. Kendall quotes a fragment of the sentence that he spoke on this topic, but here is the whole thing:
“We have asked for more clarity as to whether a moratorium has indeed been agreed on the election of bishops in active sexual partnerships outside marriage; and we have suggested a similar voluntary moratorium by the bishops on licensing any kind of liturgical order for same-sex blessings (the understanding of the Meeting was certainly that this should be a comprehensive abstention from any public rites), at least for the period during which the wider discussion of the Covenant goes forward.”
To my mind, the language about “licensing any kind of liturgical order” clearly supports the interpretation I have been advancing. But, I have to concede that the language in parenthesis “comprehensive abstention from any public rites” brings us back, at least, to the ambiguity of square one. The blessing of same sex unions in this country almost never involves a licensed rite. But the ceremonies are hardly private.
We can attempt to divine Williams’ intention by citing eight other instances in which he used the comprehensive, and tracing the history of the use of the word “public” since Lancelot Andrewes, but a simple statement of his position would be much more persuasive. At least two reporters that I am aware of have asked for clarification, but Lambeth Palace has yet to respond.
Read it carefully and read it all (and if you are up for it read the comments). It is a very useful reminder of where things were and sheds much light on Anglican affairs today.
Kendall Harmon–Reflections on the Significance of the Dar es Salaam Primates Communique (I): Closing the Jim Naughton-Bishop Sisk Loophole
A week ago Monday, in an interchange with USA Today, I wrote this:
…the American church has turned weaseling out of what words mean into a high art form and that may still be an issue….
Well, soon thereafter the weaseling began. It was very fast.
Here is Jim Naughton:
Note that some papers are buying the “ban” blessings line of thinking, and others understand that we are being asked to refrain from authorizing Rites of Blessings. The difference is signficant, but I am having an awfully hard time explaining it to people. In an nutshell, you don’t need an authorized rite to bless a union. Priests have been blessing unions without authorized rites for three decades. So we can continue that practice without running afoul of the communique.
Says me, anyway.
And seemingly singing from the same song sheet, Bishop Mark Sisk has this to say in the New York Times:
Some liberals yesterday were latching on to what they saw as a loophole because the wording specified that the bishops would not “authorize” rites. There are many bishops who have not formally authorized ceremonial rites for gay unions, but who nevertheless allow priests to perform them. If this is all the communiqué is requiring, they suggested, the Episcopal Church can live with that.
“Blessings happen, sure,” said Bishop Sisk of New York. “But I didn’t authorize them.”
The Episcope blog is playing the same game (in responding to a Time story):
….The communique from Dar es Salaam says nothing about “officiating at gay commitment ceremonies and ordaining gay clergy.” It asks that “the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention.”
Tragically, the Presiding Bishop herself is trying the same tack in her remarks to the church center staff.
We have seen this movie before. Many times.
Recall, for example, Resolution C051 from the General Convention of 2003:
Resolution Number: 2003-C051
Title: Consider Blessing Committed, Same-Gender Relationships
Resolved, That the 74th General Convention affirm the following:
1. That our life together as a community of faith is grounded in the saving work of Jesus Christ and expressed in the principles of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral: Holy Scripture, the historic Creeds of the Church, the two dominical Sacraments, and the Historic Episcopate.
2. That we reaffirm Resolution A069 of the 65th General Convention (1976) that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church.”
3. That, in our understanding of homosexual persons, differences exist among us about how best to care pastorally for those who intend to live in monogamous, non-celibate unions; and what is, or should be, required, permitted, or prohibited by the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church concerning the blessing of the same.
4. That we reaffirm Resolution D039 of the 73rd General Convention (2000), that “We expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God,” and that such relationships exist throughout the church.
5. That we recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.
6. That we commit ourselves, and call our church, in the spirit of Resolution A104 of the 70th General Convention (1991), to continued prayer, study, and discernment on the pastoral care for gay and lesbian persons, to include the compilation and development by a special commission organized and appointed by the Presiding Bishop, of resources to facilitate as wide a conversation of discernment as possible throughout the church.
7. That our baptism into Jesus Christ is inseparable from our communion with one another, and we commit ourselves to that communion despite our diversity of opinion and, among dioceses, a diversity of pastoral practice with the gay men and lesbians among us.
8. That it is a matter of faith that our Lord longs for our unity as his disciples, and for us this entails living within the boundaries of the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. We believe this discipline expresses faithfulness to our polity and that it will facilitate the conversation we seek, not only in The Episcopal Church, but also in the wider Anglican Communion and beyond.
C051 passed with some difficulty in the House of Deputies in 2003, and then came to the House of Bishops, where Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia hailed it as a marvelous compromise. Of course, its meaning all comes down to the phrase in section 5 where is says “That we recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.” Does recognize mean in any way legitimize or authorize? Is the language descriptive or prescriptive?
The debate in the House of Bishops ended with a voice vote and much confusion as to what exactly was going on. To give some notion of the degree of confusion, a number of reasserting bishops voted FOR the resolution. I encountered one in the hall immediately after the session ended. When we met, he was beaming about how good the resolution was. When he said what he thought what he was doing, I observed to him that it was not the interpretation that was going to be given by most others. He had never thought of it in any other fashion. To him, he meant “I recognize it is occurring but it shouldn’t be.” Right at that moment a number of spokespersons for Integrity, the lobby promoting the acceptance of same sex bahvior in the Episcopal Church, were announcing a huge victory to the media.
The next morning in the news conference there was a very entertaining exchange between Bishop Mark Sisk of New York and Monica Davey, the reporter for the New York Times covering the 2003 General Convention. “Recognize does not mean authorize,” Bishop Sisk was insisting. Ah. But that didn’t satisfy Ms. Davey. Were there same sex blessings going on in the Diocese of New York, she asked. Indeed, Bishop Sisk said. Was he aware of them. Yes came the bishops response. Did he encourage those who wanted to do them, Ms. Davey wanted to know. The Bishop demurred. So what is the difference between that and authorization, she asked. The Bishop smiled a wry smile and then looked down and didn’t answer, seemingly as if a secret door in his desk had been exposed.
Now fast forward ahead to the BBC Sunday programme on February 25, 2007, in which Bishop Mark Sisk was interviewed:
BBC Well, the primates at their meeting put an end stop to this. By September 30, they said, your church has to promise not to allow clerics in same sex relationships to become bishops. Can your church agree to that?
+MS : I am not sure at all that I agree that that is the question put to us. It seems to me that what they were asking for was a clarification of actions taken at our General Conventions. It seems to me that one of the perhaps major challenges is to clarify what in fact was done and I believe that what in fact was done was a positive response to the request that we have in effect a moratorium on the consecration of bishops that are in same-sex unions.
BBC: Will you cease to authorise blessings or ensure that in the future you do not authorise blessings for same-sex couples?
+MS One of the misconceptions is that such blessings have been authorised. In fact they were not authorised. That was recognised by the committee that received the report from the actions of General Convention.
BBC : But they are taking place in your church. Clearly what most of the Anglican Primates want you to do is stop such blessings. Do you think your church will be prepared to do that?
+MS I do not believe that that is clearly what is being asked. The statements that were continually we being made were “Will you refrain from authorising?” We clearly decided at our last General Convention not to authorise such actions.
BBC: But not to stop them.
+MS: We were not asked to stop them by the Windsor Report, as it was presented to the Primates, as it was received by the ACC, none of them asked us to not allow blessings, they asked us not to authorise them and we do not.
BBC: Some people will think this is like discussing the number of angels on a pin….
Welcome to the Alice in Wonderland world of “process” which so dominates the upper echelons of the leadership life of the Episcopal Church. If words COULD be interpreted in a way that does not favor the leadership’s goals, they are not, but when the wording does, they are interpeted that way, restrictively. There is some talk that this whole conflict and crisis among Anglicans is all about power, and it is not primarily about power, actually, but about truth and other things. Yet power plays a role, it is just that TEC leadership does not do much self-criticism about how they exercise their own power. Words mean what those in leadership in TEC want them to mean in too many instances. One wishes there would be some self-scrutiny on such matters because the implications would be considerable. The lack of honesty in this church in some matters has become intolerable. People are saying one thing and doing another and using words to mislead others into thinking they are not doing what in fact they are doing.
Now move from the General Convention of 2003 and resolution C051 to the Windsor Report. I quote from section D:
144. While we recognise that the Episcopal Church (USA) has by action of Convention made provision for the development of public Rites of Blessing of same sex unions, the decision to authorise rests with diocesan bishops. Because of the serious repercussions in the Communion, we call for a moratorium on all such public Rites, and recommend that bishops who have authorised such rites in the United States and Canada be invited to express regret that the proper constraints of the bonds of affection were breached by such authorisation. Pending such expression of regret, we recommend that such bishops be invited to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion. We recommend that provinces take responsibility for endeavouring to ensure commitment on the part of their bishops to the common life of the Communion on this matter.
145. We urge all provinces that are engaged in processes of discernment regarding the blessing of same sex unions to engage the Communion in continuing study of biblical and theological rationale for and against such unions. Such a process of study and reflection needs to include clarification regarding the distinction, if such exists, between same sex unions and same sex marriage. This call for continuing study does not imply approval of such proposals.
146. We remind all in the Communion that Lambeth Resolution 1.10 calls for an ongoing process of listening and discernment, and that Christians of good will need to be prepared to engage honestly and frankly with each other on issues relating to human sexuality. It is vital that the Communion establish processes and structures to facilitate ongoing discussion.
Here again we are dealing with that word “authorise” and what are called public rites. Jim Naughton used the same interpretation he is using now–saying that somehow pastoral practices which do not involve authorized rites are allowed which do in fact allow for the blessing of same sex unions– with the Windsor Report.
I do not believe this is a legitimate interpretation of the Windsor Report:
..it will not do to say that because the language speaks of “official liturgies” it does not apply to the Episcopal Church, whereas numerous diocesan practices, whether same sex blessings in house or private same gender partnership celebrations are not in view. The Windsor Report focused on official liturgies for two reasons: because as Anglicans we pray and live out in liturgy what we believe, and so if there is a theological change there will necessarily follow a liturgical change, and, secondly, because the specific instance the Windsor Report was addressing in New Westminster had to do with official liturgies. But the key point as addressed in Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10 is the practice, in whatever worship or setting, and these blessings have not ceased, they have continued, to the shock and shame of The Episcopal Church’s sisters and brothers around the Anglican world.
However, the degree to which the Windsor Report was understood to be based on Lambeth 1998 1.10 was not sufficiently emphasized in the report, and in the extreme there was a way to try to take this point of view, even though I do not believe it was the way the majority of the Lambeth Commission members understood it, nor the way the majority of Anglicans around the world would read it.
The American member of the Lambeth Commission, Bishop Mark Dyer, did in fact take that point of view:
The same-sex blessings if public-again underlined-we talk about the public expression of same-sex blessings. Namely, in New Westminster, Canada, where the bishop is directly involved in the approval of the Book of Prayer that has same-sex blessings. We are not talking in this document about pastoral provisions that local priests make in pastoral situations within the diocese-within the parishes of that diocese. We are not talking about them.
Here we reach another place of cultural distance between the common life of the Episcopal Church and that of many other Anglican Communion member provinces which must be mentioned. In our week to week worship in this province, there is confusion which in some cases approaches chaos, and which in a few instances even borders on near anarchy, in terms of what kind of local practices actually occur as compared to what the diocesan bishop has “authorized” so as to permit their occurrence or indeed even knows that they are occurring at all.. Parishes rewrite the creeds (altering some words), they use liturgies for which they do not have permission (some of them quite bizarre indeed), and in an increasing number of cases they practice the communion of the unbaptized which is not only contrary to early Christian practice it is explicitly against the canons.
Now of course around the Anglican Communion there is a breadth of local practices as ministers seek to express the gospel appropriately so that its truth may be heard in their particular context. But it must be said that in most parts of the Anglican Communion, it is not conceivable that a significant pastoral practice could occur at the local level without a key authority’s knowledge and permission. I simply do not believe that most Anglicans could believe that something like the communion of the unbaptized would be occurring in various parishes throughout their province without a common discussion about it and perhaps a Synodical decision about it–but at least the Bishop’s permission for it or allowance of it. Most provinces could not imagine any other kind of significant pastoral event that was not authorized in that sense.
To pick but one example, consider the statement from the Bishop of New Hampshire in 1996 on the bless of same sex unions in that diocese:
A number of inquiries have been made concerning the position of the Bishop of New Hampshire on the blessing of same-sex unions. In response to those questions, the following reflections and guidelines are offered to the clergy of the diocese.
The Book of Common Prayer makes no position for the blessing of same-sex unions. The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, The Blessing of a Civil Marriage and An Order for Marriage in The Book of Common Prayer are clearly intended for heterosexual unions and are, therefore, not appropriate for use in blessing homosexual relationships, although they may serve as models for the development of such ceremonies and portions of them may be adapted for that purpose. Likewise, the Order for the Blessing of a Home in The Book of Occasional Services is not intended for the blessing of personal unions or partnerships, but it may serve that purpose with little or no adaptation.
Until such time as the Standing Liturgical Commission of the Episcopal Church may, with the consent of the General Convention, offer trial or permanent ceremonies for this purpose, clergy planning to provide such blessings will have to improvise appropriate ceremonies (my emphasis).
Does anyone really believe that in most Anglican provinces such improvisation would be conceivable?
Ah, but this is the Alice in Wonderland world of TEC. Stay with me and consider the slippery linguistic possibilities all of which arise around the word “authorized.” Authorized in the common life of the Episcopal Church could mean (a) authorized = established an official form of words, or (b) authorized = a bishop saying “OK, go ahead locally and do something,” or (c) a bishop knows that such practices are going on, the bishop was never asked about doing them (and never themselves asked whether they were occurring and why when they knew the answers to both questions), but nevertheless with the knowledge that they are occurring does nothing to stop them.
All of this brings us now to the Tanzania Primates Communique, where some TEC leaders are trying a similar legerdemain with the language in reference to same sex blessings. Read in context as a whole document, there is simply no way that this Communique allows for the Sisk/Naughton interpretation.
Why? First, because of the explicit language of parapgraph 21:
21. However, secondly, we believe that there remains a lack of clarity about the stance of The Episcopal Church, especially its position on the authorisation of Rites of Blessing for persons living in same-sex unions. There appears to us to be an inconsistency between the position of General Convention and local pastoral provision. We recognise that the General Convention made no explicit resolution about such Rites and in fact declined to pursue resolutions which, if passed, could have led to the development and authorisation of them. However, we understand that local pastoral provision is made in some places for such blessings. It is the ambiguous stance of The Episcopal Church which causes concern among us.
The key phrase here is “local pastoral provision” which is mentioned twice. The concern of the primates was the practice of the Episcopal Church to say one thing and do another. Therefore, whether there was a national rite or not (which there isn’t), there are diocesan rites or suggested forms (as for example in the diocese of Vermont), and there are dioceses which do not have any “official” diocesan liturgy but where parishes do same sex blessings, whether in a home or a parish. One example of the latter would be the diocese of Los Angeles in which All Saint Pasadena does same sex blessings. Another would be the diocese of California where according to an article posted below, these blessings have been taking place for 30 years.
Second, because of the language used in the “On Clarifying the Response to Windsor” subsection of the Communique appendix:
In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church
1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention (cf TWR, §143, 144)
What is important here is the key phrase “in their dioceses OR through General Convention,” showing again that they have local pastoral provision at a diocesan level in mind. Paragraph 21 in the body of the Communique provides the context for this call for a covenant.
The third reason is because of the explicit way that the Communique underscores Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10 as the standard for the teaching and practice of the Anglican Communion. Can you guess how many times Lambeth 1998 1.10 is referenced in this document? Six! It could not be more clear. That crucially important resolution reads:
Lambeth Conference 1998: Resolution 1.10 Human Sexuality
1 commends to the Church the subsection report on human sexuality;
2 in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage;
3 recognises that there are among us persons who experience themselves as having a homosexual orientation. Many of these are members of the Church and are seeking the pastoral care, moral direction of the Church, and God’s transforming power for the living of their lives and the ordering of relationships. We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ;
4 while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex;
5 cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions;
6 requests the Primates and the ACC to establish a means of monitoring the work done on the subject of human sexuality in the Communion and to share statements and resources among us;
7 notes the significance of the Kuala Lumpur Statement on Human Sexuality and the concerns expressed in resolutions IV.26, V.1, V.10, V.23 and V.35 on the authority of Scripture in matters of marriage and sexuality and asks the Primates and the ACC to include them in their monitoring process.
The key language in this resolution may be found here: Lambeth “cannot advise the legitimising or blessing of same sex unions.” Anglican practice needs to be in accord with anglican teaching. Therefore, there can be no pastoral practice in a local setting which either is or is seen to be somehow “legitimising or blessing…same sex unions.” And this means that local blessings, whether in houses or churches or wherever, and whether they have official sanctioned liturgies or not, cannot be done, if they are of non-celibate same sex couples.
Lest there be any doubt about this, the Archbishop of Canterbury said at the concluding press conference of the Tanzania primates meeting:
The teaching of the Anglican Church remains that homosexual activity is not compatible with scripture.
That is the standard, and there can be no “local provision” which is in conflict with it, since Anglican practice is to be in accord with Anglican teaching. The primates are calling the Episcopal Church to stop all local practices not in accordance with this standard. No other reading of the Communique as a whole and in context is possible. The Primate of the Southern Cone has already underscored this in response to the Presiding Bishop and even the Archbishop of Centerbury took the unusual step of issuing clarifying language yesterday in his General Synod Presidential address:
the understanding of the [Primates] Meeting was certainly that this [call for a moratorium to TEC] should be a comprehensive abstention from any public rites…
Now a number of things need to be said in conclusion. It cannot be emphasized enough that this language of Lambeth 1998 1.10 resolution also needs to be heeded, when they call “on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals, violence within marriage and any trivialisation and commercialisation of sex.”
There needs to be great pastoral provision made with the utmost compassion in this area, and the church has a long way to go. I have said many times how sad I am that people who identify themsleves as gay or lesbian do not feel welcome in churches, and it is a tragedy. We can and must do better.
Also, IF Lambeth 1998 resolution 1.10 is the standard for Anglicans, it leaves a whole lot of questions unresolved. I realize that. But as I have said again and again the key call to the Episcopal Church is to stop doing what we have been doing so as to create the space necessary for real reconciliation. Questions about other implications are for the future, and without the cessation the Primates call for there can be no joint future between TEC and the Anglican Communion.
I want further to make a plea specifically to Jim Naughton, since I feel I can talk to Jim and try to be heard (alas an increasing rarity in the deteriorating climate in the Episcopal Church at present).
First, I want to ask whether you realize how ethnocentric your reading of the communique is. It sounds like it comes from the country where apostolic leaders act like lawyers. Are we not called as Anglicans to ask what others would think? Do you really believe that your reading of the Communique is the way an African or Southeast Asian Primate would intend it? Is there even a way to write the communique as Greg Venables thinks it should be read and that you would read as Archbishop Venables intends that would make sense in the language of most of the other parts of the world?
Second, I want to plead with you to consider that the Anglican Communion is not something to be trifled with as if it were some kind of a game, as if it all came down to what the meaing of the word is is. Should not the thing to do in this instance be to bend over backwards to give the most globally Anglican interpretation of the document? It is not a small thing that the third largest Christian family in the world may break up. I pray it does not. And I especially pray if it does break up it will not be because we tried to find loopholes but instead that we tried as hard as we could to be honest with one another and heard what others were saying to us in their terms–KSH.
Update–Ruth Gledhill comments on the above as follows:
The sad irony of course, for all of us in England, is that this ‘blessing without authorising’ is what has been going on here for years, if not decades. It is just not ‘official’, rarely discussed outside closed doors, and certainly not adopted openly as policy! If TEC tries this and doesn’t get away with it, then CofE is definitely in trouble, I’ld say. TEC might have managed it if they had kept schtum and just gone ahead and done it like us, but I think things are looking pretty bleak now. The stable door is open, the horse has bolted. As Shaw said, we really are two countries divided by the same language. And now by the same theologies
Many churches have been involved in wonderful work in ministering in fearful communities, caring for the suffering and the families of those killed by disease or violence, while at the same time (in the case of bible-based congregations), continuing to teach of the love of Christ, and following God’s design for celibate singleness and faithful marriage as the best way of avoiding HIV. Some churches have been brave enough to challenge, with the Gospel, the toxic culture of machismo which is partly responsible for the high levels of murder and sexual abuse. While of course there are church leaders and nominal Christians who live no differently to those in the communities around them, there are many thousands of godly, prayerful and compassionate men and women who understand that counter-cultural sexual purity and control of anger is not old fashioned prudishness but a literal lifesaver and a witness to God’s goodness.
This background, essential for understanding any discussion about sex in South Africa, did not feature in the BBC programme, which sought to give the impression that people with same sex attraction are uniquely vulnerable. While violence against gay people is appalling and unacceptable, it is sadly part of a culture where women are abused whether they are gay or not, and people are beaten up and murdered for being foreign, or in the wrong place at the wrong time, for having a phone, for looking at someone’s girlfriend, etc, etc. The Western concept of LGBT rights is simply inappropriate in such a context. The church should be speaking up publicly against all violence and abuse, and developing communities of peace, safety and tolerance (as is doing so in many places), not focusing on one particular minority.
Also, given the prevalence of heterosexual promiscuity in society and even in the church, which combined with the sexual abuse has contributed to the devastating spread of AIDS and family breakdown, what effect would an acceptance and celebration of same sex relationships have in the townships and across Africa as a whole? It would surely send the message that the church is controlled by white Western liberalism (not good for mission?); that the Bible is not reliable; and that only ‘love’, not sexual self-control, is the concern of the church. If a same sex relationship is OK, people will ask, then why is adultery wrong?
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Commentary * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Media Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary Africa South Africa England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
So where can we start?
One of the success stories of recent times has been the resource church. Resource churches tend to be found in the cities and typically have been HTB style plants. As Ian Paul has pointed out in a recent thought piece resource churches have achieved rapid growth, through focusing predominately on a discrete group (the 18 to 30 age range). Their astonishing growth in numbers includes a significant number of returnees to church and new converts (around 34% of their congregations comprise these two groups). Resource churches tend to be well resourced in terms of staff numbers and, have demonstrated success in terms of planting, and resourcing, new congregations. They are in other words porous.
So far resource churches have tended to be characterized through a commitment to an evangelical and charismatic expression of faith. Resource churches of this sort are not for everyone but they have been successful; up to a point, or more precisely a geographic point. They have shown an ability to reach from the centre to the suburb, but perhaps no further. But, perhaps, we can learn from the existing model of resource church, amending and extending our understanding of the term? We could, and in my view should, consider extending it to include a wider range of ecclesiologies and geographic territories.
Maybe some real work needs to be done in identifying churches that are potentially and genuinely capable of serving rural England, less we stop at the suburbs? We must invest in potential for real growth, as every good investment manager knows. We must seek out and invest in churches which are currently undervalued and, through a prudent investment strategy seek to release value.
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The ET found that Bishop Inwood’s refusal to grant Canon Pemberton an EPML did fall under s 53 Equality Act 2010 and was a “relevant qualification” within the meaning of s 54: that was not the case, however, in respect of the revocation of his PTO. The ET further held, however, that the EPML qualification was for the purposes of employment for the purposes of an organised religion and the compliance principle was engaged; therefore, Bishop Inwood was exempt from liability by reason of paragraph 2, schedule 9 Equality Act 2010. As for the harassment claim, Bishop Inwood’s conduct did not amount to harassment. Context was everything: Canon Pemberton would not have experienced that (admittedly, unwanted) conduct had he not defied the doctrine of the Church. Moreover, Bishop Inwood had acted lawfully pursuant to schedule 9; it would be an affront to justice if his conduct was found to constitute harassment.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury * Christian Life / Church Life Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Becky Clark has been appointed to be the new Director of Churches and Cathedrals for the Archbishops' Council. Becky has been Senior Cathedrals Officer and Deputy Secretary of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission since 2013. Prior to starting this role she worked at English Heritage, Surrey County Council and the National Trust.
In her new role Becky will be Secretary to both the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE) and Church Buildings Council (CBC) as well as a member of the Archbishops' Council senior management team and the NCI Senior Leadership Group (SLG).
Secretary General, William Nye, said: 'I know that Becky's wealth of experience working in the heritage sector, leadership qualities, personal faith and her commitment to church buildings, equip her admirably to support the Church as it is transformed through Renewal and Reform.'
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Architecture Religion & Culture
Bishops and clergy have given a cautious welcome to a strongly worded government review of the integration of minority communities into British society.
Dame Louise Casey, an experienced civil servant, published The Casey review: A review into opportunity and integration, on Monday. She concludes that work needs to be done to “repair the sometimes fraying fabric of our nation”.
The unprecedented scale of immigration and demographic change in recent decades has led to segregation and division in some deprived communities in the UK, the review states.
“Problems of social exclusion have persisted for some ethnic-minority groups, and poorer white British communities in some areas are falling further behind,” Dame Louise writes in her introduction.
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One question which hovered over the initial ET judgment was in relation to the doctrine of the Church in relation to marriage. I was startled when, under cross-examination, Richard Inwood had agreed that the doctrine of the Church ‘was a busted flush’. But both the ET and the EAT have ruled that, in the context of employment law, the Church’s doctrine of marriage is both clear and enforceable, and that clergy can reasonably be expected to conform to it.
As for the doctrines of the Church, this referred to the teachings and beliefs of the religion and the ET had been entitled to find these were as stated by Canon B30 (“marriage is … a union … of one man with one woman …”), evidenced, in particular, by the House of Bishops’ Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage. The Respondent had applied a requirement that the Claimant not be in a same sex marriage so as to comply with the doctrines of the Church; it was not fatal to the ET’s conclusion in that regard that a different Bishop might not have done the same.
That final comment seems to me to be highly significant. Even if the Church’s doctrine has been applied inconsistently in the past, and elsewhere in the Church, then that does not undermine the action of a bishop who acts on it. In other words, if the collegial support for this doctrine in the House of Bishops collapses, and some bishops decide to declare UDI [Unilateral Declaration of Independence] and ignore the doctrine, then other bishops are still secure in law in enacting discipline based on this doctrine.
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Mr Pemberton, a hospital chaplain in Lincolnshire, was barred in 2014 by the then acting Bishop of Southwell from taking up a job for the NHS in Nottinghamshire, just weeks after marrying.
The Church had warned him marriage other than between heterosexual couples was against its teaching.
In a statement today, Mr Pemberton said his appeal had been dismissed on every ground but judge Jennifer Eady QC had granted leave to refer the case to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Pemberton said: "The result is, obviously, not the one my husband and I had hoped for...."
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Rachel Harden, Deputy Director of Communications for the Church of England, is to have her contribution to the church recognised as she is made a Lay Canon of Liverpool Cathedral during the Evensong Service on Friday (December 9).
Rachel has longstanding connections to the Diocese of Liverpool and the city. Rachel worked on a range of Liverpool media outlets having trained as a journalist on the South London News Group. She was a reporter for the Liverpool Post and Echo and also contributed to BBC Radio Merseyside and edited the diocesan magazine Livewire.
During that time her husband John Kiddle, now Archdeacon of Wandsworth, served as a curate in Ormskirk and a vicar in Huyton.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
..I thank God that Archbishop Greg Venables will be re-joining the GAFCON Primates Council now that he has been elected to serve again as the Primate of the Anglican Province of South America in succession to our greatly esteemed colleague Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala. His ministry demonstrates that courage which is so central to the GAFCON story. In his previous term as Primate, despite much opposition, Archbishop Venables bravely supported orthodox Anglicans in North America and stood with the Diocese of Recife in Brazil after it had to withdraw from the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil.
We are now seeing similar courage in England as GAFCON UK, led by Canon Andy Lines, endures hostility simply for speaking the truth about the increasing breakdown of church discipline in the Church of England. There are now clergy and bishops who openly take pride in their rejection of biblical preaching and have even launched a website to encourage the violation of the 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution I.10 on human sexuality.
But more disturbing is the response of the Church of England at its highest level. The Secretary of the Archbishops’ Council has written an open letter to Canon Lines in which he describes the Lambeth resolution as merely ‘an important document in the history of the Anglican Communion’. But this is no ordinary resolution. It has been the standard appealed to again and again in Communion affairs and most recently in the Communiqué from the Sixth Global South Conference in Cairo which describes it as representing the ‘clear teaching of Scripture’.
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[With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV]
A ghastly motor accident that claimed three lives with others still lying critically ill in the hospital has thrown the entire St Francis College of Theology Community in Wusasa Kaduna State into mourning. As a result of this development, the Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion the Most Rev Nicholas D Okoh quickly arranged and dispatched a Primatial condolence visit to St Francis College of Theology Wusasa.
On hand to receive them was the Dean of the college the Rt Rev Praises Omole-Ekun, the members of the faculty and the entire college community. Bishop Praises appreciated Primate Okoh for sending the delegation and highlight their immediate need most importantly looking after the widows and the children the deceased has left behind, the loss of the college bus to the accident among other challenges of the college.
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(Diocese of Egypt)
I am happy to let you know that I have appointed The Very Reverend Dr Samy Fawzy Shehata, the Dean of St Mark Pro-Cathedral Alexandria, as the new Area Bishop of North Africa. We have received the approval of the majority of the Provincial Synod of Jerusalem and The Middle East for this appointment. Dean Samy will be the second Area Bishop of North Africa, after Bishop Bill Musk.
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The Confirmation Service was held in Maranatha Church, which is situated in a slump area in Pokhara City (Western Nepal). A total of 317 confirmands packed the worship hall. This was a historic moment for the Anglican Church in Nepal as these confirmands were its first batch of Anglican members from the Western part of Nepal to be confirmed. As we obey the Lord's call for us to focus our work in the western part of the country, this group of newly confirmed members were reminded that they will be the ones sent to reach the lost, just as the Lord has commissioned us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19-20).
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The first challenge he faces is the move to Adelaide, getting to know the city’s people and culture, which he expects will be quite different from the diocese of Brisbane.
Bishop Smith has worked with the Sudanese community in Brisbane and is pleased that Adelaide is becoming more multicultural.
Church attendances have risen and declined in cycles over the centuries but Bishop Smith says God has not given up on the church.
He says research indicates healthy churches tend to grow the number of people who are part of them, in terms of service to the community, and in faith and generosity.
“I’ve seen churches grow; I’ve been a part of growing churches,” Bishop Smith says. “I’m going to be very focused on helping our parishes to be healthy, as well as encouraging the Anglican schools.”
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops TEC Conflicts TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles TEC Parishes * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
(Bp Tim Dakin: Diocese of Winchester photo)
The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, the Bishop of Winchester, has invited people across the Diocese of Winchester to write and follow a Rule of Life. He is asking all Christians in the Diocese to join the community of people who have embraced the principles of a Rule of Life and are using it to shape their daily lives.
To help individuals discern how a Rule of Life can be put into action in their own lives, the Diocese is announcing a series of workshops during Advent at Wolvesey and around the Diocese during Lent.
A Rule of Life is a series of personal commitments we choose to make that direct the way we live our daily lives. It is a flexible framework which individuals can use to shape the guiding principles by which they intend to live, helping them to grow more like Christ. It offers a practical way of responding to the love of God by committing ourselves to a number of specific actions that will help us grow in our love of God, love of one another and of God’s world.
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It's 8 a.m. Sunday at St. Hilda's in Catonsville, and the priest in the pulpit wears a white robe and green chasuble to celebrate the Episcopal Mass — a formal liturgy with roots that date to the 16th century.
Two hours later, he has exchanged the alb and chasuble for a black Joe Flacco jersey to lead an evangelical service — his language now part Billy Graham, part Rodney Dangerfield.
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