Posted by Kendall Harmon

In a statement released today Church of England's Chief Education Officer Revd Nigel Genders has expressed support for the launch of a new RE teacher recruitment campaign, Beyond the Ordinary is aimed at encouraging new RE teachers who can now access re-instated Government bursary funding.

"I'm delighted to support the Beyond the Ordinary campaign, which highlights the benefits of a career in RE teaching, a career that is far from ordinary. As an RE teacher you'll address topics that go way beyond the everyday, challenging perceptions and exploding stereotypes. You'll embark on a career that will continue to evolve and inspire you as well as the young people you teach. And the government is offering financial incentives to cover training costs, so now is a great time to explore more about this wonderful vocation. You can find out more and direct anyone who is looking for more information about training to be a RE teacher to http://www.teachre.co.uk/beyondtheordinary."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchChildrenEducationReligion & Culture

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Posted March 28, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I found myself in St Edmundsbury Cathedral last week just before they were to sing Evensong. So I stayed, and I’m glad I did.

Apart from anything else, a good way to appreciate a building is to see it put to the use it was designed for. As the church of St James, it was completed at the beginning of the 16th century by John Wastell, the designer of Bell Harry, the great tower of Canterbury Cathedral. As the cathedral of the diocese centred on Bury St Edmunds, it was not finished until 2005.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry

1 Comments
Posted March 28, 2015 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the prospects for a free and fair Presidential election in Nigeria in 2015, and (2) progress made by the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission towards minimising the possibility of electoral fraud. [HL5761]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The British Government is closely following developments ahead of Nigeria’s presidential and gubernatorial elections on 28 March and 11 April respectively. This vote will set Nigeria’s course for the next five years and beyond and as Africa’s largest democracy its impact will be felt well beyond its borders. It is vital the elections go ahead without any further delay on 28 March.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaEngland / UK

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Posted March 28, 2015 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...the challenge to be a Church with a mission to the nation grows more complex as society and communities change, and the size, strength and make-up of our churches also change.

50 years ago churches largely reflected the demographics of their context; today they are markedly different. Put simply, churches have not successfully retained young people as they move into adulthood.

Numbers attending Church of England services have declined at an average rate of 1% a year in recent decades. In any given week, less than 2% of the overall population attend our churches. In some areas, particularly outer estates and the inner city, this is less than 1%. The age profile of our membership is now significantly older than that of the population.

As I said in my Synod address in December, the harsh truth is that there is a massive cultural gap between what we do in our churches and the subcultures amongst whom we dwell.

Read it all.

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

3 Comments
Posted March 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In her letter, Dr [Sarah] Coakley writes that she agrees "wholeheartedly with all the goals and aspirations" of the report, which envisions a 50 per cent increase in ordinations by 2020.

But she goes on to warn that devolution to the dioceses will be "profoundly undermining of all these good goals. . . Indeed, since there is no theology of ministry articulated in the report itself, one can hardly expect one to emerge in the course of individual bishops making decisions about 'flexible pathways', or taking on over-50s candidates without a BAP.

"Further, as the report itself acknowledges (but does not resolve), a huge set of problems can be envisaged about how to deploy clergy around the country in places of greatest need or effective pastoral abandonment, given the new plan for the financial support of clergy training."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted March 27, 2015 at 3:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most of the music for compline was by English composers, all immaculately sung as plainsong by the senior trebles and adults of the cathedral choir. The centrepiece of the service was Herbert Howells's motet, "Take him, earth, for cherishing", based on a poem by the Roman Christian poet Prudentius, and composed for John F. Kennedy's memorial service.

The RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, preached a sermon that emphasised the brutality of medieval wars and the tumultuous life and times of Richard III, a "child of war", a "refugee in Europe", whose reign was marked by unrest and who remained a controversial figure in the continual re-assessment of the Tudor period, "when saints can become bones and bones can become saints".

Baptism did not give holiness of life but gave it enduring shape, he reflected, describing the king as "a man of prayer, of anxious devotions". The Franciscans, Cardinal Nichols believed, would have buried Richard with prayer, even though that burial - which followed the ignominious parading of his naked and violently wounded body through the streets after the battle - had been hasty. He ended with the prayer that Richard "be embraced in God's merciful love".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

4 Comments
Posted March 27, 2015 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archdeacon Treweek said: "Lots of people have spoken about it as if it is about saving the Church of England."

But it is not about this, she insists.

"It is about us gaining more confidence with what God is doing in growing His kingdom. I do not start from a place of a failing institution. For me it is not about starting from a place of fear and anxiety, but starting in a place of hope and confidence. I do feel hugely excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. The Church is in a very exciting time."

Passionate about faith and about the message Jesus had for society at large, she is not frightened either to discuss politics from an overtly-Christian, though not party political view. She will be the first woman bishop to sit with the 26 diocesans in the House of Lords, giving her voice additional significance and making her a woman to watch as well as listen to on the part of both secular and religious leaders.

Read it all and the official announcement is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

1 Comments
Posted March 26, 2015 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is doubtless crucial for the Church of England to reconsider its form and presentation, but it cannot do this until it has established what its essential core actually is, and made every effort to communicate and inspire the next generation to its identity. Unfortunately, many of the panellists remained so unified on their desire for radical change, that the real debate about what this core might actually be rarely reared its head. So is there something about the church’s liturgy and worship, its structure and communion, its history and heritage that remains important? If so, is the radical task not to discard these in the name of modernisation, but to excite those to whom they appear foreign? Several times during the proceedings, the discrepancy between the beliefs and opinions of the clergy and those of the laity were noted—evidence again of a church that is lost to its academics and fatally disjointed from its people. But is the radical task, therefore, to give the church up to the people, or to inspire those same people about the riches, dynamism, and truthfulness of the doctrines and Scriptures that lie behind it?

As the church considers its future, one thing is certain: it must not fight for its own survival. Perhaps it will have the strength to realise that there is, actually, nothing distinctive about it that truly needs preserving amongst the denominations, and will show the greatest sacrifice for others by facilitating its own demise. Or, perhaps, it will understand that there is something about the Church of England as the Church of England that is important—something that is not worth fighting for in itself, but which is so crucial to its illuminating truth, so essential to its gospel message, and so intuitive to its mission, that it becomes the foundation of its fighting “for others.” But have we given up on this task? Doubtless reform is needed. But what is the core on which it must be founded? Are we so clear on our own ideas of what needs changing that we can no longer see what doesn’t? Perhaps we still need to ask: What does the Church of England offer the next generation?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureTeens / YouthYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted March 26, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England appointed its second woman bishop on Wednesday (March 25), only two months after it consecrated its first.

Alison White, 58, will become the next suffragan bishop of Hull, following closely on the heels of Bishop Libby Lane, who was consecrated in January as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Chester. A suffragan bishop is a bishop subordinate to a metropolitan or diocesan bishop.

White is married to the assistant bishop of Newcastle, Frank White.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchWomen

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Posted March 26, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the U.K.’s most visible ethical investors – the Church of England – outperformed its investing benchmarks last year thanks in part to its significant underweight position in energy stocks, a trade that benefited from the precipitous fall in oil prices.

Its fund, the CCLA, with around £5.6 billion ($8.34 billion) under management as of Feb. 2015, runs assets on behalf of the Church of England, as well as charities and local government authorities. The firm has long taken an ethical and activist stance, recently encouraging Royal Dutch Shell PLC, for example, to put forward a shareholder resolution on Climate Change at its 2015 Annual General Meeting.

Thanks to its ethical bearings, the CCLA allocated 50% less to oil and gas stocks than its benchmarks across its equity funds over 2014, and has avoided exposure to pure play coal and tar sands stocks, according to Michael Quicke, chief executive of the CCLA.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingStock MarketEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Councillors are to discuss how best to manage large-scale funerals after one for a traveller from Cheshire attracted hundreds of mourners.

Holy Trinity Church in Blacon and Chester Crematorium were packed for the service marking 54-year-old Elton man "Pudgie" Evans's life on 30 January.

Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire Constabulary worked together to manage the funeral.

Local residents were advised beforehand and roads shut for the funeral cortege....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths* Theology

2 Comments
Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Her Majesty the Queen has appointed the Revd Canon Alison White, priest-in-charge of Riding Mill in the Diocese of Newcastle and Diocesan Adviser for Spirituality and Spiritual Direction, as the Bishop Suffragan of the See of Hull.

As Bishop of Hull, Alison will also have diocesan-wide responsibilities both as Ambassador for Prayer, Spiritual & Numerical Growth and Ambassador for Urban Life & Faith.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu said: “This is a joyous day! I am delighted to be welcoming Alison as the next Bishop of Hull. Whilst she will be working with others across the Diocese of York encouraging faith in urban life, she will have particular responsibilities for the vibrant city of Hull and the glorious coastline and countryside of the East Riding. Alison is a person of real godliness and wisdom – it is fantastic that she has accepted God’s call to make Christ visible together with all of us in this Diocese of York.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

0 Comments
Posted March 25, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ministry Division of the Church of England has expressed confidence in St Stephen's House, Oxford, in an inspection report which praised the college for its "clear and distinctive identity which informs all aspects of its life".

The report published today spoke of "a community at ease and comfortable with embracing a variety of perspectives and traditions on numerous issues whilst situated clearly within a distinct theological and spiritual tradition."

St Stephen's House received 12 out of a possible 16 'confidence' outcomes, covering a range of criteria including practical and pastoral theology, teaching, and ministerial, personal and spiritual formation. The report also made 20 recommendations, noting that "the majority of these are for making good practice better rather than highlighting substantive problems."

Read it all.

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

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Posted March 25, 2015 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

nd so his question to all those who have the freedom to speak in the Church and for the Church is 'who do you really speak for?' But if we take seriously the underlying theme of his words and witness, that question is also, 'who do you really feel with?' Are you immersed in the real life of the Body, or is your life in Christ seen only as having the same sentiments as the powerful? Sentir con la Iglesia in the sense in which the mature Romero learned those words is what will teach you how to speak on behalf of the Body. And we must make no mistake about what this can entail: Romero knew that this kind of 'feeling with the Church' could only mean taking risks with and for the Body of Christ – so that, as he later put it, in words that are still shocking and sobering, it would be 'sad' if priests in such a context were not being killed alongside their flock. As of course they were in El Salvador, again and again in those nightmare years.

But he never suggests that speaking on behalf of the Body is the responsibility of a spiritual elite. He never dramatised the role of the priest so as to play down the responsibility of the people. If every priest and bishop were silenced, he said, 'each of you will have to be God's microphone. Each of you will have to be a messenger, a prophet. The Church will always exist as long as even one baptized person is alive.' Each part of the Body, because it shares the sufferings of the whole – and the hope and radiance of the whole – has authority to speak out of that common life in the crucified and risen Jesus.

So Romero's question and challenge is addressed to all of us, not only those who have the privilege of some sort of public megaphone for their voices. The Church is maintained in truth; and the whole Church has to be a community where truth is told about the abuses of power and the cries of the vulnerable. Once again, if we are serious about sentir con la Iglesia, we ask not only who we are speaking for but whose voice still needs to be heard, in the Church and in society at large. The questions here are as grave as they were thirty years ago. In Salvador itself, the methods of repression familiar in Romero's day were still common until very recently. We can at least celebrate the fact that the present head of state there has not only apologized for government collusion in Romero's murder but has also spoken boldly on behalf of those whose environment and livelihood are threatened by the rapacity of the mining companies, who are set on a new round of exploitation in Salvador and whose critics have been abducted and butchered just as so many were three decades back. The skies are not clear: our own Anglican bishop in Salvador was attacked ten days ago [in 2010] by unknown enemies; but the signs of hope are there, and the will to defend the poor and heal the wounds.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchPoverty* International News & CommentaryCentral America--El Salvador

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Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Both Stephen Cottrell and Michael Kitchen were born in Essex, both are the sons of non-religious parents and both went on to study religion. But that is where the similarities end.

Michael Kitchen laughs and shakes his head when asked the inevitable question: do you have a light sabre?

He does not. In fact he is not particularly keen on the Star Wars films. Though he does have a robe.

Born and raised in Saffron Walden, Mr Kitchen has been a member of the Temple of the Jedi Order for seven years. His Jedi name is Akkarin and he is a member of the order's inner sanctum, the council.

Stephen Cottrell was born in Leigh-on-Sea and has been the Bishop of Chelmsford since 2010. A founding member of the College of Evangelists, he has also served on the Church of England's Mission, Renewal and Evangelism committee.

But how do their spiritual journeys compare, what do they make of each other's beliefs and does Jediism shed any light on the world of "new religions"?

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted March 23, 2015 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the beginning of December [2014] I went on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, for a few days to the north of Iraq, to Kurdistan, first to Erbil, the Kurdish capital, and then a three-hour journey to Dohuk. I went to see and know at firsthand the situation of the many thousands displaced by the forces of the Islamic State, which in August last year over-ran Mosul, Iraq’s second city, and then swept across the Nineveh plain, with its many Christian villages.

In one camp, in the grounds of Mar Elias Church, they were putting up their Christmas crib. It was in a tent, a tent like those which had been the shelter for families who had had to flee from their homes, their culture, their churches. As they put up the tent, and placed the nativity figures in it, of Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child, with the shepherds and the angels, it was a indeed a reminder of the reality of the Incarnation: God chose to come down into our midst – he pitched his tent among us.

The advance of ISIS forces, with their distorted fanatical interpretation of Islam, and appalling associated brutality, echoes the invasion of the Mongols centuries earlier, which likewise had devastating consequences for the Christian population of what is now Iraq. Christians and Christianity in the Middle East are under threat as never before. They find themselves ground so often between upper and nether millstones – between the conflict between Sunni and Shia, or between Israel and Palestine.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslam* Theology

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Posted March 23, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A British priest with a reputation for supporting Christians in the Middle East has been named the new dean of St. James Episcopal Cathedral in Chicago.

The Rev. Dominic Barrington, 52 a priest with a background in arts management who has led pilgrimages of Americans and British citizens to the Holy Land, will be installed as the cathedral's dean on September 13, pending the approval of non-immigrant visas for him and his family.

"In Dominic Barrington, St. James Cathedral has called a strong, loving and wise priest to be its dean," Bishop Jeffrey Lee said. "I believe he will be an inspirational leader at the cathedral, and a strong presence in the city of Chicago, championing the mission and ministry of the cathedral as a place of extraordinary hospitality, significant outreach, and excellence in the arts."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Episcopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained

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Posted March 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Right now, in Syria and Iraq, militant Islamists are taking over churches by force and turning them in to mosques. In the Church of England, apparently, all that’s needed is an ask. On March 6, in the heart of London, St. John’s Waterloo hosted a Muslim prayer service or “Jummah” in the sanctuary, on consecrated ground. Apparently the “Inclusive Jummah” was exclusive of anything Christian—hence what appears to be the covering up of all Christian imagery so as not to offend the worshippers.

Can you think of anything more bewildering, more offensive to Anglican followers of Jesus Christ and others who are suffering persecution at the hands of radical Muslims—watching their children beheaded by ISIS in places like Mosul, Iraq because they would not deny Jesus Christ? Watching their loved ones burned alive in hundreds of Anglican churches in Northern Nigeria by members of Boko Haram? Watching their relatives and friends be blown up during Sunday worship services by Islamic extremists in Pakistan?

Would it seem to them simply “a strange and erroneous opinion”?

And what sense could they possibly make of the relative silence and inaction of the bishops in the Church of England who are overseers of this church—the Bishop of Southwark, the area bishop who directly oversees this congregation, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury who is, apparently, the patron of St. John’s?

Well, there has been an “apology” by the Vicar of St. John’s, in a joint statement from the Bishop of Southwark. But in fact it isn’t an apology at all. The apology is only for the “offence” that it caused, for the “infringement” of the “guidelines and framework” of the Church of England. There is no acknowledgement that this service denied a core doctrine of the Christian faith. No acknowledgement that it was simply wrong to cover up Christian symbols and to permit a prayer service that begins with the assertion that only Allah is God and Muhammed his prophet.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedSpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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Posted March 21, 2015 at 3:07 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I think luo has something important to teach us in the face of dementia. In the face of deficit, decline, and death we try hard to cling on. But the lesson of the little word luo is that maybe the path of resurrection lies in letting go. If death is starting now, maybe resurrection can start now too.

Perhaps it’s only when we let go of who and what our loved one was that we can receive who they are now. Perhaps only when we find ways to enjoy who they are now can we reverse the deficit and the decline, because we stop assuming they’re moving away from something good and start appreciating that they’re moving into something new.

Dementia is not a living death. It’s an invitation to see how we can remain the same person yet take on new and rather different characteristics. In that sense it’s a training in resurrection, in which we shall be changed but still recognizably ourselves. Like resurrection, we can’t experience it unless we find ways to let go, to let loose, to be released and forgiven. God welcomes us into eternal life not by keeping a tight hold on us but by letting us go. The challenge for us in dementia is to find ways that we can do the same.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicinePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new project bringing together science and religion is unlikely to end the long and sometimes bitter debate over the relationship between the two.

However, it will offer trainee priests and Christians who are scientists the chance to engage with contemporary science.

The project - backed by the Church of England - is to receive more than £700,000 to promote greater engagement between science and Christians, as part of a three-year Durham University programme.

Trainee priests and others will be offered access to resources on contemporary science, and the scheme will research attitudes towards science among Church leaders.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted March 21, 2015 at 10:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The most important prelude to the appearance in 1549 of the first Book of Common Prayer, in addition to the repudiation of papal jurisdiction and the establishment of royal supremacy, was the appearance of the Bible in the English vernacular tongue which had clearly matured by the early decades of the sixteenth century....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship--Book of Common PrayerSpirituality/Prayer* Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 21, 2015 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From Saint John's, Vancouver, Bruce Hindmarsh, the James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College, speaks on the Book of Common Prayer which he first encountered as a teenager at a bookstall in a mall in Winnipeg. Listen to it all--wonderfully nurturing and encouraging stuff.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship--Book of Common PrayerSpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments
Posted March 21, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the end, repentance, not love, has come to symbolise Cranmer himself, his life's work being interpreted by his last days. In the eyes of his critics, Cranmer's recantations prove that at best he was weak and vacillating. In the hearts of his admirers, however, Cranmer's last-minute renunciation of his recantations proved his true commitment to the Protestant faith. But what of Cranmer himself, how did he interpret his last days and the meaning they gave to his life? According to a contemporary account, having previously been distraught, Cranmer came to the stake with a cheerful countenance and willing mind.

Fire being now put to him, he stretched out his right Hand, and thrust it into the Flame, and held it there a good space, before the Fire came to any other Part of his Body; where his Hand was seen of every Man sensibly burning, crying with a loud Voice, This Hand hath offended. As soon as the Fire got up, he was very soon Dead, never stirring or crying all the while.
His Catholic executioners surely thought Cranmer was making satisfaction to his Protestant God. Yet his doctrine of repentance would have taught him otherwise, for the God he served saved the unworthy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted March 21, 2015 at 8:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Merciful God, who through the work of Thomas Cranmer didst renew the worship of thy Church by restoring the language of the people, and through whose death didst reveal thy power in human weakness: Grant that by thy grace we may always worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipSpirituality/Prayer* Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, “there is not and cannot be a gospel which is not culturally embodied”. He maintained that the missionary task of the Church is to challenge the “reigning plausibility structure” by examining it in light of the revealed purposes of God contained in the biblical narrative. He advocated a scepticism which enables one to take part in the life of society without being deluded by its own beliefs about itself.

Easier said [than done]....

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted March 20, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the Commission suggests, no more introductions are needed to bring the two Churches together. Each has long exercised eucharistic hospitality, joint working on ethical and political matters is now the norm, and there are many more formal agreements in parishes around the country. The commitment made a few years ago not to do apart what could be done together has borne fruit. As a result, one of the final hurdles, the interchangeability of ministers, is once again the focus of debate.

The apostolic-succession question has sent the Methodists back down the garden path on more than one occasion, to their justifiable annoyance. In this report, however, the Anglican understanding of succession, and the problem it poses for the interchangeability of ministers, is explained fully and sympathetically.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesMethodist* Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 20, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Rochester has addressed more than 2,000 people at a rally pressing for all political parties to commit themselves to a long term plan for ending the housing crisis.

The Rt Rev James Langstaff, who is chair of Housing Justice, the national voice of the churches on housing and homelessness, told the Homes for Britain event in central London that ensuring decent and secure housing in the right place and at an affordable cost is one of the most important issues for our society.

Read the whole address there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted March 18, 2015 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches are being encouraged to talk about the relationship between science and faith through a project backed by the Church of England.

The Templeton World Charity Foundation has awarded £700,000 to a three-year Durham University programme which aims to promote greater engagement between science and Christians.

Churches will be able to apply for grants of up to £10,000 for "scientists in congregations", and more than 1,000 people training for Anglican ministry will be offered access to training and resources on contemporary science and the Christian faith as part of the project.

Read it all.

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

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Posted March 18, 2015 at 3:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A priest in the diocese of Southwark who opened us his church for Muslim prayers has apologised after being told that this was not permitted within a consecrated building.

The Vicar of St John's, Waterloo, the Canon Giles Goddard, said on Tuesday that the event had caused "great consternation", and he apologised for "the offence caused and any infringement of Church of England's framework and guidelines".

The prayers were held on 6 March as part of the Inclusive Mosque Initiative, in the run-up to International Women's Day. They were led by Dr Amina Wadud who campaigns for gender justice in Islam. Men and women sat alongside one another in the church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

3 Comments
Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Complaints about the service prompted a meeting on 10 March 2015 between Canon Goddard and the Bishop of Kingston-on-Thames, the Rt. Rev. Richard Cheetham -- who also services as Anglican president of the Christian Muslim Forum. After the meeting Canon Goddard gave an interview to Ruth Gledhill of Christian Today stating everything his church did was legal and within bishops' guidelines.

He added: ‘It is very much about St John’s being a place of welcome. We understand God as a generous God, a God who celebrates love and celebrates life.”

‘We try and make sure we live that out. In that sense we feel very properly Anglican.’

However, Dr. Gerald Bray, director of research at the Latimer Trust at Oak Hill Theological College in London questioned Canon Goddard’s views about Islam and Christianity. Writing on Facebook he said: “The simple truth is that Islam is the only major world religion that is explicitly anti-Christian. The Buddha, for example, could not have known anything about Jesus and did not develop his ideas in contrast to Christ. Muhammad, on the other hand, knew about Christians and Jews and could easily have become one or the other himself. Instead, he concocted his own religion based on elements of Judaism and Christianity and regarded it is the culmination (perfection) of both. You could say that Islam is related to Christianity in much the same way as Mormonism is, but this does not constitute 'a common tradition’.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslam* Theology

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Posted March 18, 2015 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England's Chief Education Officer Nigel Genders has contributed to a book by education experts and commentators on selection in secondary schools which explores the complexity of the present system. He concludes that the solution to the extremely complex arrangements caused by parental choice in school admissions and the oversubscription criteria that schools use, is to not focus on admissions but rather on quality of provision.

Published today The Ins and Outs of Selective Secondary Education: A Debate, edited by Anastasia de Waal of Civitas is a wide-ranging collection of essays showing how the old divide between comprehensive and grammar schools has been supplanted by a range of much broader selection processes, across school types.

In his chapter Nigel Genders states: "In those early years (when the CofE was the first body to provide education for all), being able to access any education at all was the pressing concern, not the choice of school. The issue of admissions, as we define it today, was non-existent. It was only as universal provision was achieved that the question of which school a parent should choose for their children became such a significant matter. Schools operated with a catchment area, but the resulting rise in house prices around good schools meant that parental choice was more limited for those who could not afford to live there. However, the freeing up of the system and a greater expectation regarding parental choice of school has meant that the landscape has become increasingly difficult for many to navigate."

Read it all.

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

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Posted March 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I identify myself as a heritage Anglican, or a main stream Anglican, on the basis of that view of things. I adapt to state my Anglican identity, words from the great Pastor Duncan of the Free Church of Scotland, who something like 150 years ago, said in answer to a question about his identity as a minister of the church, "I'm first a Christian, second a Protestant, third a Calvinist, fourth a Paedo-baptist, and fifth a Presbyterian". Well, I go with the first four; and then "fifth I'm an Anglican". And if I'm asked to explain further what is the Anglicanism that I stand for, I reel off eight defining characteristics of my Anglicanism like this.

Anglicanism is first biblical and protestant in its stance, and second, evangelical and reformed in its doctrine. That's a particular nuance within the Protestant constituency to which the Anglican church is committed - the 39 Articles show that. Ten, thirdly, Anglicanism is liturgical and traditional in its worship.

I go on to say, fourthly, Anglicanism is a form of Christianity that is pastoral and evangelistic in its style. I quote the ordinal for that and I point out that ever since the ordinal and the prayer book required the clergy to catechize the children, Anglicanism has been evangelistic, though the form of the evangelism has not been that of the travelling big tent - the form of the evangelism has been rather institutional and settled; the evangelism was part of the regular work of the parish clergyman and the community around him. But let nobody say that institutional parochial Anglicanism is not evangelistic and, today, I know the wisest folk here in England are recovering parochial evangelism in a significant way. Thank God they are.

And then I say, fifthly, that Anglicanism is a form of Christianity that is episcopal and parochial in its organization and, sixthly, it is rational and reflective in its temper.

Guess the year and then go and read it all (also used by yours truly in the presentation to Diocesan Convention).

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: AnalysisAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 16, 2015 at 12:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Being a Plea for the Inclusion within the Church of England of all Mahometans, Jews, Buddhists, Brahmins, Papists and Atheists, submitted to the consideration of the British Public

It is now generally conceded, that those differences, which were once held to divide the Christian sects from one another, (as whether or not Confirmation were a necessary ordinance of the Church), can no longer be thought to place any obstacle against unity and charity between Christians; rather, the more of them we find to exist, the more laudable a thing it is that Christian men should stomach, now and again, these uneasy scruples, and worship together for all the world as if they had never existed. There is no progress in Humanity, without the surmounting of obstacles; thus, we are all now agreed that Satan, far from meaning any harm to our Race when he brought sin into the world, was most excellently disposed towards us, and desired nothing better than that we, having some good stout sins to overcome, should attain an eventful and exciting sort of virtue, instead of languishing for ever in that state of respectable innocence, which is so little creditable to the angels, who alone practice it. In like manner, all heresies and schisms are the very condition of Christian unity, and were doubtless designed to supply a kind of zest to the tedious business of Church-going, on the same principle that the digestion of poultry is improved, if they be allowed to have a little grit or gravel in their crops to assist them. So that there can be no more edifying spectacle, to the rightly-constituted mind, than that of two fellow-worshippers, one of whom is saying in his heart, great is Diana of the Ephesians and the other, O Baal, hear us, both which inward intentions they express by a common formula, when they profess openly with their lips, that honesty is the best policy.


ABOLISHING OF BISHOPS

Further, it has come to be seen that Bishops and Archbishops are not, as was commonly supposed hitherto, the vehicles of any extraordinary grace, which they passed on one to another, like a contagion, by the laying on of hands, but only another of these obstacles, which make the race of life so agreeable a pursuit. They exist to supervise our doctrines, and find them unscriptural, to control our religious practices, and forbid their continuance, thus enabling us to snatch a fearful joy while we are about them: in short to give the Christian profession that spice of martyrdom, which it has so sorely lacked since the abolition of the amphitheatre. However salutary this interference be, it is plain that it is of the nature of a luxury; and we shall, therefore, be content to forgo the enjoyment of it, if the non-conformists should demand the sacrifice as a condition of reunion with themselves


THE LAST JUDGEMENT POSTPONED

I conceive, then, that within a few years from the present date, the division of Christians into sects for purposes of worship will have utterly disappeared, and we shall find one great United Protestant Church existing throughout the civilized world. I would not deny but there might be some few difficulties of adjustment attending the venture; as, that the Fifth Monarchy men might withhold their assent from the scheme, unless we would all make it a matter of doctrine, that the Last Judgement is to be presently expected; which knowledge would cast an intolerable gloom over the more part of our pleasures, and create a lack of public confidence on the Exchange. But I cannot doubt, upon a little cool reflection, we should rid ourselves of these fanciful megrims of sectarian particularity; and there is gain to be shown on the other side; for example, it may be anticipated the Seventh Day Adventists will demand the observance of Saturday as well as Sunday as a feast of the Church; and we shall thus have two days instead of one in every seven on which we can lie abed till noon, over-eat ourselves, go out driving in the country, and dine away from home under colour of sparing trouble to our domestics.

Read it all (used by yours truly in the recent presentation to diocesan Convention).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted March 16, 2015 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father Trevor Smyth has been vicar of All Saints Church, Exeter Road, for over 14 years.

Now the town is set to lose him to a parish in East Sussex.

For 45 years, Fr Trevor, 69, the son of a former Church of England priest, has dedicated his life to the church.

In that time, he has earned a deserved reputation for being extraordinarily hard working.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained

0 Comments
Posted March 14, 2015 at 10:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Latest statistics released by the Church of England show that the number of young people (under 30s) now make up a quarter of all people accepted for training for the Church of England ministry. Figures show for 2014 show that 116 young people under 30 were accepted for training.

This is the highest number of young people accepted for ordination training in the past 25 years.

Read it all and follow the links.

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

0 Comments
Posted March 13, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Armed Forces charity bosses believe the full impact of the Afghanistan conflict is "yet to be seen" as the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and senior members of the Royal Family prepare for a service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Cambridge, his heavily-pregnant wife Kate, and Prince Harry - who served two tours during the conflict - will also attend tomorrow's ceremony, held to mark the end of combat operations in the country, honour veterans of the campaign and remember the servicemen and women who lost their lives.

The families of some of those killed will also take part in the commemorations and v eterans of the 13-year campaign will march past the cathedral in a parade.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Theology

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Posted March 13, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sometimes there is a lull in donations and I start to get nervous. Ye of little faith! Then suddenly another surge of generous givers – the faithful who give almost every month (in spite of the fact we are not signing them up to a direct debit or standing order), and new donors who seem to appear from nowhere, or heard about us years ago and suddenly decide to give.

Of course the most wonderful thing is to read the thank you emails that church/charity advocates (the Acts 435 representative who meets with the person in need and posts their request) can send to the donors who gave to that specific request. There I read of lives changed, of the impact a small gift can make, the self-esteem being able to go into a shop and buy clothes can give, the life-saving help with arrears to prevent eviction or an all-important bond to get someone off the streets.

It is humbling to hear from beneficiaries blessed through Acts 435 but equally from donors who let me know how touched they are by these emails. I shouldn’t be surprised, after all, we know “it is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship

0 Comments
Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury...[Tuesday] night hosted a reception for inter-religious and community leaders at Lambeth Palace.

Speaking at the annual event, which brings together members different faith groups to foster relationships, Archbishop Justin Welby reflected on the theme of reconciliation, which is one of his ministry priorities.

The event was attended by a wide range of people from Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, Jain and Christian traditions.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 12, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A few weeks ago, Linda Woodhead suggested in the Church Times that discipleship was a ‘theologically peripheral concept’, and the following week Angela Tilby dismissed the ‘d-word’ as ‘sectarian vocabulary that…shows the influence of American-derived Evangelicalism on the Church’s current leadership.’ The short discussions in each place actually raise not one but three, inter-related, questions:

1. Is ‘discipleship’ Anglican?

2. Is ‘discipleship’ biblical?

3. Is the Church of England biblical?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The restoration of what is claimed to be the "world's largest tapestry" has got under way in Coventry.

The tapestry of Christ in Glory, by Graham Sutherland, has hung in Coventry's cathedral since the building was consecrated in 1962.

The £100,000 restoration is likely to take about a month, cathedral staff have said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchArt

0 Comments
Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Faith schools, specialist provision for children with autism and a “dementia-friendly” primary in Devon are among the latest wave of free schools to be announced by David Cameron. More than 400 free schools have now been approved since the policy was launched in 2010, creating more than 230,000 places across the country.

A diverse list of 49 further new free schools, which are mainly due to open in September 2016, includes:

All-through schools, which combine primary and secondary education in single institutions, where a pupil can be enrolled at three or four – or even younger – and can stay on until 19.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted March 10, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the economy of great achievement, two things stand out in my own mind:
• A compelling vision, usually involving a big idea;
• A plan that addresses the primary challenge that stands in the way of the realization of that big idea.

It would be very easy for us to imagine that the primary challenge was one of our own internal challenges around finance or church buildings. These are things that we can’t ignore, but surely the big challenge is something more like this:

How does the Church of England re-engage with a culture that is increasingly secular and post Christian?

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted March 9, 2015 at 4:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Not long ago]...sixteen bishops from the Anglican Communion Environmental Network are meeting in Cape Town to exchange ideas and concerns about the impact of climate change. We have done some of the preparatory work by Skype, and we all recognize the impact of air travel, but we also know that there is no substitute to our meeting in person, face to face.

The scientific collective that is the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment is 95 per cent certain that human activity is the main cause of current climate change. The burning of fossil fuels is the biggest source of the problem: as CO2 increases, so does temperature. Although the increase has flattened, this century has begun with fourteen of the fifteen hottest years on record. The warming of the oceans has caused average humidity to increase by 4 per cent in fifty years, with greater floods and storms in consequence.

At Davos a few weeks ago, Al Gore was asked not only, “Do we have to change our current course?” but also, “if we do, can we?” He was hopeful about our capacity to change at the speed that is needed, pointing out that we are making better progress towards renewable energy than was thought possible: ten times better with wind power than was predicted fourteen years ago; seventeen times better with solar energy. Germany is the European leader, producing 35 per cent renewable energy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchGlobalization* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Revd Canon Dr Michael Beasley has been named as the next Bishop of Hertford, in succession to the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, who is now Bishop of Liverpool. Canon Beasley is at present Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford.

The announcement was made this morning, 5th March 2015, by 10 Downing Street and in a press conference hosted by the Mayor of Stevenage, Cllr Sherma Batson MBE, in the Council Chamber at Daneshill House. Canon Beasley will live near Stevenage, in Knebworth, when he takes up his post later in the year.

Canon Beasley has been Director of Mission in the Diocese of Oxford for the last five years. This follows a career in the scientific world, which for over a decade combined priestly ministry and epidemiology, the study of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

1 Comments
Posted March 7, 2015 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...A healthy church

A healthy church is one which:

Is growing spiritually, numerically and financially.
Owns a vision.
Encourages all its members to play their part and use their gifts.
Enjoys worship and prayerfully seeks God's purpose and direction.
Is willing to take risks.
Has different opportunities to share faith and study together.
Has effective and respected leadership.
Is engaged with the society it serves.
Is involved in the life of the deanery and wider Church.

Read it all and see what you think.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Would you pretend to be Jewish to secure some sort of advantage for yourself? Would you go even further, attending synagogue once a week for a full year, mouthing the ancient prayers, in order to get what you want?

You might think that such behaviour would be an insult to real Jews in the community.

This prompts the question: why is it socially acceptable for atheists and agnostics to feign their commitment to the Anglican faith to get their kids into a good state school? The answer is that the Church encourages them to do so. This kind of strategic middle-class church attendance produces high-achieving schools and swells congregations in many parishes. It suits the Church and it suits the sharp-elbowed – a formidable alliance. The practice seems particularly widespread in London, where it is standard behaviour among well-heeled, well-informed parents. It’s an unwritten rule of middle-class family life.

Read it all.



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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new "bishop for church-plants" has been proposed by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres. The aim is to support the burgeoning movement as it spreads across the country.

The plan, which involves reviving the see of Islington, vacant since 1923, will be given final consideration by the Dioceses Commission later this month.

In a report presented to the London diocesan Bishop's Council last Wednesday, Bishop Chartres argues that there is an "urgent" need for church-planters to be given "knowledgeable support and mentoring in the early years". The Bishop of Islington's ministry would be "inherently episcopal but not territorial; thoroughly collegial but with an independent sphere of responsibility".

He or she would "open up new possibilities; provide reinforcement for the oversight which already exists for pioneer ministries; and disseminate the learning gained from new ventures".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained

1 Comments
Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Penny King told her university friends in Canterbury that she was moving to Manchester, they were horrified. “They said ‘you’ll get shot! You’ll get mugged! It’s depressing. It’s all grey and the weather’s awful’. ”

The perception that life is “grim up north” has greatly damaged the Church of England’s attempts to fill posts in the north, where some jobs for vicars, in both inner cities and rural outposts, have remained unfilled for some time.

King, a 28-year-old Church of England curate at St Elisabeth’s, Reddish, Machester, has become one of the poster girls for a CoE campaign to attract a young generation of male and female vicars to fill posts in deprived areas where Christian pastoral work is often most needed. She has no regrets about her move: “Manchester is no more dangerous than anywhere else,” she says. “I feel safer here living on my own as my neighbours look out for me. I’ve been welcomed with open arms.”

Her story appears on the website for Clergy North West, a campaign aimed at combating a hidden crisis in the Church of England.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMediaYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 6, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Without becoming naïve, people needed to have greater faith in the “other”, Lord Williams said, and reject political and media rhetoric that fosters panic and mistrust of politicians, people in public life, organisations or charities.

“Our politics and our media really thrive on mistrust,” he said. “It seems the basic emotion we’re encouraged to feel by quite a lot of political and media rhetoric is a sort of mild, subdued panic.

“There comes to be a corrosive, circular, enclosed world in which what you are always longing for is a good reason to not trust someone. I don’t think that can be good for us.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted March 4, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Faith and desire is, however, no guarantee of ordination. Would-be candidates have first to convince a parish priest that they have the makings of a priest, then pass the scrutiny of a director of ordinands during months of interviews, before enduring a two-day selection conference where a committee endeavours to distinguish between pious enthusiasm and genuine vocation. Undischarged bankrupts are not considered, nor are hopefuls under 18 or over 57, in order to ensure adequate maturity and to justify the enormous training costs with the prospect of a reasonably long ministry.

Many who wish for ordination are deemed unsuitable whether in character, faith or ability; many more are advised to go away and prove themselves before being recommended for holy orders. Those that pass muster embark on a theological degree or diploma course – a non-residential course for married candidates over the age of the 35, residential study in one of the diminishing number of seminaries for those under 30, or the option of either for older single ordinands.

Pike was told to spend six months working in a parish before he could be recommended for training. “I had never done any pastoral work before,” he says. “I went to a deprived parish in Leicester on an estate surrounded by dual carriageways. Quite a few professionals visited it as social workers, speech therapists etc, but the clergy and pastoral assistants were the only professionals who lived there, and I realised that one of the privileges of being a priest is that you are accepted as part of the community – whatever kind of community it is – and there is an instinctively generous welcome into people’s lives.”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted March 4, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and, as Ysenda Maxtone Graham made clear, there needs to be a range of solutions, including greater involvement of the laity, the possibility of giving responsibility for more churches to local charities or trusts, and the setting up of ‘festival churches’, which have services only for the major festivals of the Church. We also need to see how we can make church buildings more serviceable to the wider community, so that they can be used as much as possible and not simply for Sunday worship.

For many people the presence of a church in rural England is symbolic of the nation and the rural way of life, and a source of support and comfort even for those who are not regular churchgoers. We should start with the very clear premise that the Church of England is a national church and should therefore ensure a Christian presence in every community.
--(The) Rt Hon. Canon Sir Tony Baldry, MP

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted March 3, 2015 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



I just loved this--Watch it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* TheologyApologetics

1 Comments
Posted March 2, 2015 at 4:33 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Right Reverend Jonathan Gledhill is today announcing his retirement as Bishop of Lichfield.

Bishop Jonathan, 66, formally announced his retirement at a meeting of the College of Canons at Lichfield Cathedral this afternoon. He will leave office in September 2015.

In a video message, Bishop Jonathan said: “Forty years of ministry seem a good stint to Jane and me.”

“It is with great mixed feelings that I make this announcement. But Jane and I know that, much as we will find it difficult to leave your love and prayers, it would not be right to continue much longer.”


Read and watch it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

0 Comments
Posted March 2, 2015 at 4:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Trevin Wax: Could you give us a brief definition of “the gospel”?

N.T. Wright: I could try taking a Pauline angle. When Paul talks about “the gospel,” he means “the good news that the crucified and risen Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and therefore the Lord of the world.” Now, that’s about as brief as you can do it.

The reason that’s good news… In the Roman Empire, when a new emperor came to the throne, there’d obviously been a time of uncertainty. Somebody’s just died. Is there going to be chaos? Is society going to collapse? Are we going to have pirates ruling the seas? Are we going to have no food to eat? And the good news is, we have an emperor and his name is such and such. So, we’re going to have justice and peace and prosperity, and isn’t that great?!

Now, of course, most people in the Roman Empire knew that was rubbish because it was just another old jumped-up aristocrat who was going to do the same as the other ones had done. But that was the rhetoric.

Paul slices straight in with the Isaianic message: Good news! God is becoming King and he is doing it through Jesus! And therefore, phew! God’s justice, God’s peace, God’s world is going to be renewed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 2, 2015 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I fear I will be in trouble once again with some people in the church as I find myself, in conscience, having to go against the line that the churches are taking on so-called three-parent families.

I am, to be clear, firmly in favour despite the opposition shown by some of my colleagues and a powerful lobby of critics from abroad.

A Bill passed by the House of Commons earlier this month will allow for a procedure in which a small proportion of a third person's DNA is used to create an embroyo in order to prevent potentially fatal genetic disorders. Scientists have found techniques to replace faulty mitochondrial DNA - mitrochondria are microscopic energy creating structures in the human cell - with donated DNA, and Britain is set to be the first country to endorse the practice.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsMarriage & FamilyScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted February 28, 2015 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Westminster Abbey has won planning permission to add its first new tower in almost 300 years, which will create public access to a museum of treasures and curiosities housed in the triforium, the church’s attic gallery.

At present, the public can get only a distant glimpse of the spectacular and shadowy space through the stone arches 70ft up at the top of the walls above the high altar.

The only way in is a perilous journey up narrow spiral staircases and along ledge-like passages high above the nave. The spectacular but vertigo-inducing view down to the altar and nave has mostly been enjoyed by maintenance staff and camera crews covering major state events.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 28, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our God and King, who didst call thy servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a pastor of souls, a poet, and a priest in thy temple: Give unto us the grace, we beseech thee, joyfully to perform the tasks thou givest us to do, knowing that nothing is menial or common that is done for thy sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.

John Keble (1792-1866)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted February 27, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Given that the connection of Islam to Muslim-majority cultures is particularly strong, does there not need to be, nevertheless, a proper distinction between religion and culture? Should not this be so, even if many cultural practices and values are derived from a particular religious tradition? The problem with identifying culture entirely with religion is that contextualization can begin to look very much like capitulation. The issue becomes sharply focused in the debate about “insiders,” or followers of Jesus within Muslim communities who maintain their Muslim identity. To what extent has there been conversion if people continue to participate in the salat (ritual prayer), make the shahada (the Muslim profession of faith), derive their knowledge of Jesus and devotion to him mainly from the Qur’an and the Hadith, and so on? Other questions concern the relation of communities of such followers (if they are in communities) to other local churches and the worldwide church. Also, how are persons and cultures to be transformed by the Gospel if the status quo ante is largely maintained? There remain serious questions about whether such communities or persons will be allowed to survive within the Dar al-Islam (House of Islam).

We must remember that evangelists and missionaries stand within the apostolic tradition and are not semidetached from it or outside it altogether. This means, for instance, not making up elements of contextualization but using the rich and varied sources of Christian tradition—for example, in patterns of worship, liturgy, the public reading of the Scriptures, and forms of private devotion. In Islamic contexts, we are particularly fortunate that so much has been taken from Eastern Christian traditions and can be reappropriated without violence to the integrity of the Gospel. The problem sometimes is that Western Christian missionaries, and even Westernized indigenous Christians, are unaware of this rich heritage waiting on their doorstep or are suspicious of it. In some places, Islam is an import into an existing Christian culture; elsewhere, both Christianity and Islam have come from outside. Whatever the case, rich resources for inculturation are available because of the historic interaction between Muslims and Christians. Let us use them!

The book represents a brave attempt at assessing the many opportunities and problems for Christian witness in Muslim contexts. I hope it is only the beginning and that some of the issues raised in this review essay will be tackled at the next conference and in any publications that result from it.

Read it all (requires free registration).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* Theology

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Posted February 26, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* General InterestPhotos/Photography

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Posted February 26, 2015 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A book which helped changed the course of English history, part of the evidence Henry VIII and his lawyers gathered in the 1530s to help win an annulment from Catherine of Aragon and ultimately to break with Rome, has turned up on the shelves of the magnificent library at Lanhydrock, a National Trust mansion in Cornwall.

The book, a summary of the theories of the medieval philosopher and theologian William of Ockham, has been newly identified by a US scholar and expert on the history of Henry’s library. The book was damaged but escaped destruction in a disastrous fire at the house in 1881, and crucially the fly-leaf survived. It still carries the number 282, written in black ink in the top right-hand corner, which Prof James Carley identified as corresponding with an inventory taken in 1542 of the most important of Henry’s books, five years before the king’s death.

Paul Holden, the house and collections manager at Lanhydrock, said: “It was an amazing moment. The old long gallery here is about the length of a football pitch, and the professor lapped it about six times when we found the book.”

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 25, 2015 at 4:39 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over at Faith Forward, Paul Holloway responds to my earlier post about his denunciation of Sewanee University for awarding N.T. Wright an honorary doctorate.

Thankfully Holloway’s response attempts some actual reasoning and tries to provide some kind of substance to his criticism of Wright rather than resorting to hyperbolic and vitriolic protest as he did previously. Let me say that there is nothing wrong with robust criticism of Wright, for case in point, see John Barclay’s critique of Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The problem is that Holloway’s initial complaint about Wright was filled with inaccuracies, pejorative anthems, and was transparently tribal.

Let me address some of his recent claims.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Conflicts* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySeminary / Theological EducationTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has defended its stance on the Living Wage after it was revealed that cathedrals and churches were hiring staff on salaries below the benchmark.

An investigation by The Sun found that Canterbury Cathedral was advertising for porters and kiosk assistants on salaries between £6.70 and £7.75 an hour. The Living Wage (outside London) is currently set at £7.85.

Lichfield Cathedral was also revealed to be hiring waiting staff on £6.50 an hour, which is the national minimum wage.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in General* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The Pastoral letter from the House of Bishops was addressed to churches and encouraged them to implement the living wage. The Living Wage Commission, chaired by the Archbishop of York, recognised in its report last year, that a phased implementation may be necessary in some businesses and organisations. It welcomed employers seeking to implement the pay level progressively. What is important is that those who can, do so, as soon as is practically possible. The vast majority of those employed by or sub-contracted to the Church's central institutions are already paid at least the Living Wage and all will be by April 2017...."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is the truly revolutionary nature of the Gospel they [The Anglican reformers] found in Scripture. The red thread that runs throughout Cranmer's writings is this simple truth: the glory of God is to love the unworthy. For the early English Protestants, nothing established that principle as clearly as God's decision not to base salvation on personal merit....

--Ashley Null, Divine Allurement: Cranmer's Comfortable Words (Latimer Trust: 2014), p.8; quoted by yours truly in this morning's sermon

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted February 22, 2015 at 3:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s one of the most famous scenes in cinema. “Michael Francis Rizzi, do you renounce Satan?” asks the priest. “I do renounce him,” replies Michael, straight-faced, knowing full well that his orders to murder Moe Greene, Emilio Barzini, Philip Tattaglia, Victor Stracci and Carmine Cuneo are being carried out at that very moment. A particularly over-the-top organ piece by Bach reaches its climax. “And all his works?” asks the priest. Michael repeats: “I do renounce them.” Brilliant stuff. And a perfect rendition of the moral/existential drama of baptism. It’s not just a little bit of genteel water-sprinkling. It’s not just a chance to get out that floral patterned dress and drink lukewarm cava with a few select friends. It’s a scary participatory drama of death and new life.

Unfortunately, however, the Church of England has just agreed to take the devil out of the baptism liturgy. “Those who work with young people give constant advice that references to the devil are likely to be misunderstood in today’s culture,” the Bishop of Truro told the Church of England’s General Synod this week. What a pity. I’m going to miss the devil and all his works. I always thought those passages rather importantly referenced that little bit of Michael Corleone in all of us. And by their omission, we are being taken still further along the road from baptism as an expression of the big themes of death and resurrection to baptism as a polite middle-class naming ceremony....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchMovies & Television* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptismTheodicyTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 21, 2015 at 12:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What does a Christian mind bring to the debate about the future of our nation? The first thing is the belief that it matters to God, and must therefore matter to us. G. K. Chesterton famously said that the problem with British elections was not that only a small part of the electorate voted, but that only a small part of the elector voted: so little was the lack of conviction about politics and public faith. The Bishops want us to cast our vote, not in a routine, token way, but by giving the whole of ourselves to this privileged task of decision-taking in a free democracy.

Formation in citizenship will motivate us to think and talk about 'a worthwhile society and what it means to serve the common good, and how politics helps serve that end'. The Bishops are not dreaming of the unattainable ideal of Athenian democracy under Pericles. They do however dare to hope that we can shed our cynicism and start believing in politics, politicians and political processes again. 'This letter is about building a vision of a better kind of world, a better society and better politics. Underlying those ideas is the concept of virtue – what it means to be a good person, a good politician, a good neighbour or a good community.' That's a good example of how the letter is motivated by a spiritual concern for citizenship, inspired by the theological ideas of justice and compassion in pursuit of the common good.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted February 21, 2015 at 11:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Good morning. I’ve been re-reading Peter Ackroyd’s Life of Thomas More recently, prompted to do so by watching Wolf Hall. More’s characterisation in Wolf Hall seemed to drain him of his well attested sense of humour. It puzzled me. Ackroyd has reminded me of More’s wit. Sometimes it’s assumed that no seriously religious person will have a sense of humour at all. ‘Where are the jokes in the gospels?’ I was once asked.

That Jesus had a sense of humour became evident to me once I began to preach. In the Church of England scripture readings are set for every day. One of the many purposes of what’s called the Lectionary is to stop clergy just using their favourite bits of the Bible....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* General InterestHumor / Trivia* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 21, 2015 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Without any doubt, we have to admit that the traditions of the Church are becoming less and less relevant. As we pursue money and happiness, there is a demise in the place of God in our lives.

However, there is something about 
the idea of Lent that appeals to the human condition. Glossy magazines are full of tips on how to detox, to get the body back in shape by watching out what you put in. Getting healthy is promoted through giving up that which is bad for you.

Perhaps this mantra for the modern age should be the public relations tip needed by a Church that is failing to connect with the modern world. Mainstream religion is being quickly replaced by do-it-yourself spirituality. People are looking to other options for filling that God-shaped hole in their lives that cannot be satisfied by anything else.

The Church could tap in to this growth of new spirituality by rebranding Lent for a modern world. The current guidelines by the Catholic Church for Lent are that no meat is to be eaten on a Friday, and meals are to be restricted to one meal a day and snacks at breakfast and tea. This isn’t exactly the kind of thing that will get people queuing to join in.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted February 20, 2015 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House of Bishops has called on politicians to offer a disillusioned electorate a bigger vision of society in the run-up to May's General Election.

In a pastoral letter to the members of the Church of England, released on Tuesday, the Bishops note how both the Labour government of 1945 and then the Thatcher government from 1979 "changed the political weather". However, neither of these two transformative ideologies - either establishing a welfare state or freeing markets from state interference - is enough today, they say.

"Neither vision addresses our condition," the Bishops write. "Placing excessive faith in state intervention on the one hand or the free market on the other" leads to a narrowing of ambition does not nurture the common good.

This is the first time the House of Bishops has released such a letter before an election. The letter, which is 126 paragraphs long, does not offer support to any party, but seeks to get Anglicans thinking about how best to use their vote on 7 May.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 20, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The suggestion in your leader ("Bishops' Blunder", Feb 18) that the role of the church should be limited to "the soothing and saving of troubled souls" ignores the daily ministry of the Church of England across the country, often in partnership with local government, schools, universities, hospital trusts and other faiths. Research by the Church Urban Fund published last month found that 76 per cent of churches run activities in local schools, 66 per cent help to run food banks, 60 per cent offer parent and toddler groups and 53 per cent organise lunch clubs or drop-ins. A fifth of churches are also involved in helping credit unions in some way - a strong show of support for the Archbishop of Canterbury's initiative.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Bishop of Sherborne Dr Graham Kings is moving on after six years in the role.

Dr Kings will be taking up the mantle of Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion.

This is a new post created in partnership by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Durham University and the Church Mission Society (CMS).

His new role will see him based in London with frequent visits to Durham. Dr Kings will travel the Anglican Communion convening seminars for theologians, especially in Africa and Asia and Latin America.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cycling Bishop Edward Condry has swapped four wheels for two again this Lent in a bid to raise awareness of climate change.

The 61-year-old Bishop of Ramsbury will continue to work full-time, travelling to churches in rural parts of Wiltshire.

This is the second time Rt Rev Condry, who lives in Warminster, has given up his car for Lent, saving more than 2,000 miles of driving last year by cycling and using public transport.

He said:”I was surprised how much of a spiritual experience it was to give up the car, in a way that struggling to give up chocolate had never achieved, for me.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* Culture-WatchTravel

0 Comments
Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...We are all over stimulated. Blessed Lent, the sad springtime of the Church's year is the time when we support each other as believers in simplifying our lives; removing fuel from the fires of rage and fear; facing a little more of the shadow world within by laying aside some of our usual comforters...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments
Posted February 18, 2015 at 5:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The House of Bishops of the Church of England have today expressed the hope for political parties to discern "a fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be" ahead of the General Election in May of this year.

In a pastoral letter from the House of Bishops to the people and parishes of the Church of England, the Bishops urge Christians to consider the question how can we "build the kind of society which many people say they want but which is not yet being expressed in the vision of any of the parties?"

The letter also encourages church members to engage in the political process ahead of the General Election and to put aside self-interest and vote for 'the common good': "The privileges of living in a democracy mean that we should use our votes thoughtfully, prayerfully and with the good of others in mind, not just our own interests."

The letter also states that: "In Britain, we have become so used to believing that self-interest drives every decision, that it takes a leap of imagination to argue that there should be stronger institutions for those we disagree with as well as for those 'on our side.' Breaking free of self-interest and welcoming our opponents as well as our supporters into a messy, noisy, yet rich and creative community of communities is, perhaps, the only way we will enrich our almost-moribund political culture."

Read it all and please follow the link to the full letter there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted February 17, 2015 at 7:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church Mission Society and Durham University have become partners in creating an innovative seven year post: Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion.

The purpose is to research, stimulate, connect and publish works of theology in the Anglican Communion, with particular focus on insights from Africa, Asia and Latin America, in their ecumenical contexts.

The Rt Revd Dr Graham Kings, currently Bishop of Sherborne, has been appointed and will take up this new post in July 2015. He will be based in London, visiting Durham University, as an Honorary Fellow, and will travel in the Communion. He will convene a series of seminars in Anglican Communion Studies for theologians, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. A new web site, launched today, MissionTheologyAngCom.org, will publish the papers.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

0 Comments
Posted February 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Key Entries
A 2015 Lenten February Pastoral Letter from the GAFCON Chairman [Feb 27) [NEW]
Andrew Symes: Grace and Disagreement - what about Truth? (Feb 19)
CofE: Booklets for Welby’s Facilitated Conversations on Sexual Immorality Published (Feb 12)
The Bishop of Sheffield Answers Question on David Porter’s Comments (Feb 10)
Welby Scheme: ‘It’s Not Necessarily About Sitting Down Arguing Over The Scriptures’ - Porter (Feb 6)
David Porter Lays Out Justin Welby’s Sexual Immorality Plans for the CofE (Jan 23)


More links below, click the read more link...

Other Entries
GAFCON News: Living Reconciliation ‘Deeply Problematic’ (Feb 15)
CofE General Synod 10th to 12th February 2015 Links (Feb 10)

Theological Resources
CEEC: Martin Davie on ‘Living Reconciliation’ (Feb 11)
God’s Plan for Human Relationship and Marriage – Bishop Tom Wright at Humanum 2014


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

0 Comments
Posted February 16, 2015 at 9:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Conservative party and HSBC are not the only organisations wondering about possible reputational damage from an association with Stephen Green. For the Church of England, whose General Synod met in London this week, he has become a cause of controversy.

Lord Green, an ordained Anglican priest, chaired a report on leadership training for senior clergy that has proved unpopular with some church members, who voiced their concerns at the synod.

“Talent Management for Future Leaders and Leadership Development for Bishops and Deans: A New Approach”, published late last year, has been criticised for its heavily corporate language and for failing to include ordained women or theology academics on its 12-strong panel.

Canon Giles Fraser, priest-in-charge at St Mary’s, Newington, south London, called the report “theologically inept and an insult to the way I work as a parish priest”.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeStock MarketThe Banking System/Sector* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new baptism service without mention of the devil was debated by members of the Church of England General Synod today

The synod, which sent the texts through to the next stage of the authorisation process, heard that the new texts are needed because the world has changed so much, even in the last 15 years.

Parents are turning up to have children baptised who have lost the language of Church, if they ever had it in the first place.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptism

1 Comments
Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Breaking the rules on borrowing from the future is necessary to stave off the "existential crisis" of ever-declining congregations, members of the General Synod were told this week.

The First Church Estates Commissioner, Andreas Whittam Smith, said on Tuesday that for 20 years the Church Commissioners had "religiously" maintained the value of their endowment, so that the same lump sum would always be available for future generations.

But the "doomsday machine", by which C of E membership falls year on year as the deaths of older churchgoers is not matched by the arrival of younger people, meant that the Commissioners' rule on intergenerational equity needed to be broken.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is to change its laws to allow people who commit suicide, whatever the circumstances, to be buried or cremated according to its funeral rites.

Currently, Church of England clergy are not allowed to conduct the funeral of a person who takes their own life while deemed to be "of sound mind".

Canon Michael Parsons of the Gloucester diocese told the General Synod meeting in Church House, Westminster: "This is widely disregarded by most clergy and even more widely unknown."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologySuicide* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted February 12, 2015 at 8:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The General Synod concludes today.
Isaiah 6:1-4 (ESV) Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.


Eternal God,
You are sovereign, majestic, high and lifted up. You are the God of the angel armies. You are the One who sent His Son Jesus, whose name is above all names. Your Word goes forth and does not return to You empty. Your presence is manifest in the General Synod today.
Woe are we! We are lost and a people of unclean lips.
Uproot that which the enemy has rooted in the General Synod and Church of England. Plow a new field, and sow seeds of righteousness, truth, and love. Sow seeds that will bring life in the future.
Yes to Your promise for this church! Would that the train of Your robe would fill the Church of England. Amen.

Please pray it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2015 at 8:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The General Synod concludes today.
Psalm 24:7-10 (NIV)
Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

Adonai is our miracle in the Church of England. O King of glory, the gates of Hades will not overcome Your church.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

Adonai is our miracle in the Church of England. O King of glory, the gates of Hades will not overcome Your church.

Matthew 16:18

Please pray it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

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Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Read the introduction to the release of the 2 booklets

Booklet 1: Essays for Participants from Phil Groves [Continuing Indaba], Loveday Alexander [Liberal], Ian Paul [Open Evangelical], and a further one used by the Church of Scotland when deciding to permit clergy living in sexually immorality to be ordained [more about the resulting splits here and here].

Booklet 2: 'The thinking behind the conversations, the process and their place in the life of the church'

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

36 Comments
Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Diocese in Europe we pride ourselves on offering residents and visitors a warm welcome to our congregations but as Bishop Robert discovered during a pastoral visit to Berne and the Swiss Archdeaconry Synod he needs a good supply of warm clothing and the ability to adapt quickly to temperature changes.

Read it all and see what you make of the Bishop's sermon.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* International News & CommentaryEuropeSwitzerland

1 Comments
Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

According to information disclosed by the Church Commissioners, which is responsible for its property portfolio, six out of 10 bishops live in a large official residence.

The details of the comfort afforded to members of the episcopate emerged an official question and answer session to the Synod which is meeting in London.

Andreas Whittam Smith, the First Church Estates Commissioner, outlined details of spending on bishops’ living arrangements in response to a question by Sam Margrave, a Labour councillor and lay member of the Synod from Coventry.

He disclosed that the Commissioners spend just over £207,000 a year providing drivers for 11 of the Church’s 42 diocesan bishops.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

General Synod is on February 10-12 in London
Our Father in heaven,

May You inhabit the praises of Your people at the General Synod.

O Lord, may those who worship in the chapels and environs of the Synod surrender their burdens to You as they come into Your presence. Descend upon them, Holy Spirit, and stir their hearts to confess their sins. Father, in Your tender mercy, forgive them their sins and cover them with the Blood of the Lamb. May they come into Your presence with clean hands and pure hearts, in humility and truth.

May Your priests who minister there teach Your people the difference between the holy and the common, the pure and the profane, the clean and the unclean. May they follow Your laws and keep Your Sabbaths holy. May they honor Your appointed days of feast and fast.

May Jesus be their bread and Your word be their clean, sweet water.

May those who minister there speak Your word in the full confidence that it will not return to You empty, but accomplish what You desire and achieve the purpose for which You have sent it. May the angels, excelling in strength, bless You, do Your commandments, and hearken to the spoken voice of Your word in this place. May the heavenly hosts descend upon General Synod and do Your pleasure. Amen.

Ezekiel 44:17-30, John 6:35, Ephesians 5:25-27, Psalm 19:9-10, 22:3, 103:20-21, 119:103, Isaiah 55:11

Please pray it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

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Posted February 10, 2015 at 3:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

..the persecution our community is enduring is doubly painful and severe. We are personally affected by need and by the reality that our vibrant church life is dissolving in front of our eyes. The massive immigration that is now occurring is leaving my church much weaker. When the Jews were exiled to what is now called Iraq, they wrote lines of text, now enshrined in our Old testament of a yearning to return to their true home – Jerusalem; My people, who resided very recently in the same land as the exiled chosen people, are yearning for the opposite: they will go anywhere rather than return to their home. This is a deeply sorrowful reality. We who are part of the church hierarchy are very often tempted to encourage our parishioners to stay – keep the presence of Christ alive in this special land. But truly I and my brother bishops and priests can do no more than to advise young mothers and fathers to take all the necessary considerations into account and to pray long and hard before taking such a momentous, and perhaps perilous, decision. The Church is unable to offer and guarantee the fundamental security that its members need to thrive. It is no secret that hatred of minorities has intensified in certain quarters over the past few years. It is difficult to understand this hate. We are hated because we persist in wanting to exist as Christians. In other words, we are hated because we persist in demanding a basic human right.

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

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Posted February 10, 2015 at 9:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How did you decide to focus on baptism, the Bible, the Eucharist, and prayer as the four essential elements of the Christian life to write about?

Dr. Williams: Simply by looking at what Christians actually do to announce that they’re Christians, throughout the ages and throughout the world. It would be hard to recognize as Christian a body that had none of these practices. And all are mandated by Jesus in different ways: he tells his friends to evangelize and baptize, to search the Scriptures, to break bread in his memory, so as to receive his life into theirs, and to pray.

The Bible is a collection of books written over centuries. How do they all fit together in a cohesive message?

Dr. Williams: The cohesion comes through the fact that it is the set of texts read and accepted in a cohesive community—the community of those whose lives are being shaped by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Christ is the center of Scripture for the Christian and provides the perspective in which diversity can be held in the right kind of tension. And the church both gives Scripture its unity be treading it in the Spirit of Christ and receives its unity from Scripture as the book which provides a universal common language.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted February 10, 2015 at 9:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

General Synod is now over. Reports and other links are below
■ Press release about Agenda
■ Timetable
■ Full Daily Agenda and Timetable
■ Brief Agenda and Papers
■ Live Video Feed when in session or listen here for prior recordings
■ Twitter: #synod and it may be worth following: CofE Official Synod tweets; and @C_of_E if interested.

Thursday Afternoon February 12th
Report on Thursday Afernoon Business
- Liturgical Business - Alternative Baptism Texts – Revision Stage [new texts removing reference to the devil and evil] (GS 1958A Alternative Baptism Texts and GS 1958Y [item 600])
- Mission and Growth in Rural Multi-Parish Benefices: Take Note Debate from the Mission and Public Affairs Council (GS 1985) and GS Misc 1092 [item 16])
- Farewells and Prorogation

Thursday Morning February 12th
Report on Thursday Morning Business
- Legislative Business
- - Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure/Amending Canon No 34 – Revision Stage
- - Petition to change the names of the suffragan sees of Knaresborough and Pontefract (if a debate is required)
- Standing Orders Debate
- Private Member’s Motion - Canon B38 ['to allow those who have taken their own life, whatever the circumstances, to be buried in accordance with the rites of the Church of England’] (GS 1972A & GS 1972B)

Wednesday Afternoon February 11th
Report on Wednesday Afternoon Business
- Discipleship: Debate on a Motion from the Ministry Council
- Resourcing the Future and Resourcing Ministerial Education: Debate on a Motion from the Archbishops’ Council
- Simplification: Debate on a Motion
- Inter-generational Equity: Debate on a Motion from the Church Commissioners

Tuesday Afternoon February 10th
Report on Tuesday Afternoon Business and Audio [the media office have gone back to chopping the audio record into bits and pieces as they like]
- Address by Archbishop Bashar M Warda, CSSR, the Archbishop of the Chaldean Diocese of Erbil (Eastern rite Catholic)
- Report by the Business Committee
- Report by the Business Committee on the Allocation of Seats in the 2015 General Elections
- Archbishop of Canterbury's Presidential Address amd audio
- Report on Immersion Experience in India by Regional Representatives of House of Bishops
- Legislative Business
- - Enactment of Amending Canon No 32 (relating to GS elections)
- - Amending Canon No 35 – Final Approval
- - Naming of Dioceses Measure – Revision Stage
- Questions and written Answers
- Presentation on the Task Groups and Discipleship Report ["The Synod's engagement with the programme for Reform and Renewal"]

............................
Links when in session:

Watch here at the following times:
Tuesday February 10th 8am to 2pm Eastern [1pm to 7pm GMT]
Wednesday February 11th 9.30am to 2 pm Eastern [2.30 pm to 7pm GMT]
Thursday February 12th 5.30am to noon Eastern [10.30am to 5pm GMT]
[This post will be updated from time to time]

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* AdminFeatured (Sticky)

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Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt Revd Paul Williams has been announced as the next Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham on the 10 Downing Street website

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted February 10, 2015 at 7:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The Diocese of Guildford has taken extremely seriously the reports and complaints regarding Stephen Sizer over the past two weeks. Concerns surrounding Stephen were raised both in response to allegedly offensive materials linked from his Facebook account, and to comments he made to the Jewish News and the Daily Telegraph thereafter.

"Commenting on this matter, the Council of Christians and Jews has helpfully highlighted that:

‘It is perfectly possible to criticize Israeli policies without such criticism being anti-Semitic, and Christians and others should feel free to do so. However, such legitimate criticism must not be used as a cloak for anti-Semitism, nor can anti-Semitism itself ever be disguised as mere political comment’.

"Having now met Stephen, in my brand new role as Bishop of Guildford, I do not believe that his motives are anti-Semitic; but I have concluded that, at the very least, he has demonstrated appallingly poor judgment in the material he has chosen to disseminate, particularly via social media, some of which is clearly anti-Semitic.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check it out and see what you think.

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

Luke 12:2
Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
Creator of heaven and earth and all that is therein, Your power is rolling through the ages, unresting, accomplishing daily those miracles that are Your will in the Church of England. The flow of Your love brings clarity, not confusion. We humbly implore You to uncover those things that are impeding Your justice in the House of Bishops.

Amos 5:24
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Come, Jehovah Sabaoth, to the House of Bishops as they approach facilitated conversations. Come like a swift-moving channel in the midst of the river of the love of God.
We call forth the angels to enter into the lives of the bishops and the facilitated conversations. Jehovah-Sabaoth, we trust in Your strong arm. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for the Church of England here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)

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Posted February 8, 2015 at 11:43 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The bishop’s throne in Exeter cathedral is a “monument of unprecedented grandeur,” wrote Nikolaus Pevsner, “the most exquisite piece of woodwork of its date in England and perhaps Europe”. Its date was 1312-25, and when finished its crocketed spire rose 53ft, like a tall hollyhock, into the roof vaults of the choir before the high altar.

There it stands today, its dark oak meeting our idea of what a masterpiece of carving should look like: expressing the medium in which it was made. The lightness and tensile strength of wood enable the central structure to appear to float in space. We know the very woods from which its oak was taken in 1313: at Chudleigh and Norton (now Newton St Cyres).

Yet, when it was finished we must picture it as of very different appearance. From fragments that remain, it is apparent that the whole structure was painted in blue, red and green, with gilding on a gesso ground.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish Ministry* Culture-WatchArchitectureArt

1 Comments
Posted February 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church embodies God’s love in two ways: first, when it proclaims the coming of God’s kingdom and the call to repentance this involves and second, equally importantly, when it encourages and supports people as they go through the painful and difficult process of dying to their old selves and adopting a new way of life in obedience to God. So, returning to the debate about sexuality, we see that the Church’s privilege and responsibility is to proclaim the message of the Bible that God has created human beings in his image and likeness as men and women (Genesis 1:27) and that he wills that sex should only take place between men and women in the context of marriage (Genesis 2:24). All other forms of sexual activity, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are explicitly or implicitly viewed as contrary to God’s will and therefore to be avoided by God’s people.

The reason that Sam Allberry’s book is preferable to Alan Wilson’s is that, on the basis of reading the Bible with care and wisdom, Allberry re-affirms this biblical teaching and calls upon the Church to apply it in its teaching and its pastoral care. Wilson, on the other hand, interprets the Bible in a way that distorts the biblical teaching and effectively calls upon the Church to abandon people in their sinfulness by arguing that the Church should accept people’s same-sex activity and even bless it through marriage. This is not loving, because if acted upon, this would cut people off from experiencing God’s re-creative love and participating in his kingdom.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchBooksMarriage & FamilySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted February 7, 2015 at 9:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

More on Justin Welby's Facilitated Conversation Scheme on sexual immorality in an interview with David Porter and Malcolm Brown in September 2014.

David Porter is Director of Reconciliation to the Archbishop of Canterbury
Malcolm Brown is Director of the Mission and Public Affairs Division in the Church of England

Documents from Church of Scotland's Decision to be used.
David Porter: "It's not necessarily about sitting down arguing over the Scriptures" [3 mins 30 secs in]



Listen to it all [Soundcloud] [about 11 minutes long] and see also for background David Porter Lays Out Justin Welby’s Sexual Immorality Plans for the CofE

TRANSCRIPT



Interviewer: So I’m here with Malcolm Brown and David Porter and we’re going to talk about the College of Bishops Meeting and what might happen at the College in the week ahead.

Malcolm, how have we got from the Pilling Report to what’s going to be happening at the College of Bishops this week:

Malcolm Brown: Well as you know the Pilling Report actually recommended a process of conversations with facilitators as one of its key recommendations given the intractable nature within the church of some of the questions that it looked at. I think it is common knowledge that the Pilling Report was not, or the Pilling Group, wasn’t unanimous - there was a minority report from one of the bishops, but I think the mood of the whole group, including the bishop who wrote the minority report, was that the experience of sitting down together, and it did actually take about two years for the Pilling Group to come to its report, that process had been extremely eye-opening for everybody who was involved.

I think whether it was the right way of doing this or not, the group was brought together as a bunch of bishops and advisers whose views were very much at odds with each other from the start. Now those didn’t coalesce into an agreement or a consensus but what did happen was that each of them heard a lot from why each of them believed what they did. They began to take each other seriously as people journeying in faith, and even though that did not lead them onto the same journey, it led them into a degree of respect for each other they had never really plumbed before. So the recommendation to move to conversations, carefully designed, with facilitation, across the whole church in fact, is an attempt to say that the real fruit of the Pilling Report wasn’t the attempt, doomed attempt perhaps, to come to agreement, it was the fact that we had learnt to respect each other in new ways, and to understand something of why people who disagreed profoundly, believed with such passion the things that they did.

Interviewer: David can you tell us something about the process that the Bishops are going to be engaged in over the next few days?

David Porter: Well quite simply it is what is says on the tin, it is a process of shared conversation. It is about creating space that they can feel a certain amount of confidence and because somebody’s there holding the ring so that all voices will be heard, that people will be able to engage with each other in a respectful way, to come and to talk about the change that we see in the culture around us in relation to questions of human sexuality and the diversity that exists within the church about how we should respond as people of faith to that. And the process that we have designed is aiming to bring the bishops through a series of conversations where they themselves draw on the various resources, materials that have been provided, their own experience, their own knowledge, their own understanding of Scripture, to look at various aspects of this challenge about what actually is going on out there – how are different groups within the church and different perspectives in the church being held and articulated – and then how do they as bishops respond to that, how do they see that impacts on the church’s mission, the church’s self-understanding.

So that’s the nature of the process.

It’s not sitting down talking to text, it’s not talking about the Pilling Report, it’s not necessarily sitting down arguing over the scripture, although I am sure a certain amount of Biblical discourse will take place.

It’s about saying to busy leaders, as with all of the church, Let’s just take a breath, create the space and talk and see how we then can get a greater understanding of what we think our response as a church should be and why we differ on that.

Interviewer: What do you think would be the ideal outcome? You say you have designed, there have been people who have designed the process. What would be the ideal outcome that that process has been designed to elicit?

David Porter: For me the ideal outcome will be that people will be able to articulate with a measure of empathy the views of others that they don’t agree with, that allows them therefore to see in their relationships with them that they also are seeking to be faithful to the Tradition of the Church, the teaching of Scripture and the Calling of Christ - in our Mission to the world. And that we develop that rapport, that capacity to Disagree Well that means that when we get to the process which is beyond the shared conversations when decisions will need to be made, because you can’t leave it in this space forever, the way that we approach the making of those decisions is done in a way that honours the fact that we are Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and that even though we disagree, we are going to do that in a way that reflects that reality as much as the reality of our own convictions on these issues.

Malcolm Brown: There’s also something lurking here that’s about some things that the church is particularly good at or ought to be good at and that’s offering the world in general a different model of how you can conduct rancorous debate, really difficult debate. And a parallel I’ve drawn once or twice is with the very, very different issue of fracking where my department is caught up in that at the moment, and where a senior geophysicist said to me a while ago: ‘there’s almost no space for rational discussion if this. Everything is taken to be pushing you to one pole or the other in the argument.” And that is actually true of so many areas of our public life – that debate isn’t about where can we agree, where to we disagree, it’s about I’m right, you must therefore not just be wrong but Bad. Now I don’t think actually that is how the church through the centuries has conducted itself. We’ve had our differences, sometimes they’ve been quite bitter, but we’ve also had other ways of doing things which reflect more our commitment to the mind of Christ and the way in which Reconciliation between warring factions was somewhere quite central in His ministry. And if we can get this right, and that’s an if, I think we have a gift here that others may want to emulate.

David Porter: And I think that highlights how this is actually different from happened under the Women Bishops Process, because people are saying this is facilitated conversations, and yes the Women Bishops Process was with a goal in mind because the church had expressed its overwhelming mind. It had reached a legislative cul-de-sac and we used facilitated conversation with a goal to move out of that cul-de-sac and get a way forward.

We are using the Process of Conversation, because what that process showed us was that sitting round talking in a different context that isn’t in the debating forum or the legislative forum does change the game. We are using the lesson of that, but not with the same goal in mind. We are not facilitating this towards an outcome. We are facilitating it towards a shaping of the relationship so that when people do get to the point where outcomes are important and important decisions have to be made, this witness to how, is “look how these Christians love one another” because of how they Disagree Well.”

Interviewer: You’ve both been responsible for drawing up some of the materials that will inform the discussions as they go ahead; have you got a word about what people can expect to find there?

Malcolm Brown: First of all I hope that the materials will lead them very gently and carefully through the process that David has outlined so that some of the fears that are not certainly intended to be substantiated are dispelled. There is a lot of anxiety around about what may lie behind these conversations about hidden agendas and things like that. I hope that we’ve unpacked that sufficiently in the light of Pilling indeed to show that that isn’t the case. That this is as David has described it.

So, there is a lot of process, there’s a lot of reassurance I hope, that says that this is what it says it is and it’s not something hidden.

There’s also a certain amount of modestly academic material that we are sharing with participants. This isn’t by way of discussion papers, this isn’t about saying what do you think of this, what do you think of that, but it is so that those who participate will mainly have at least a rudimentary body of shared reading. They will have read the same things we hope, and will therefore at least understand that some of the things they may not have been exposed to before are actually quite serious arguments. So for instance there are some things that the Pilling Report attempted and didn’t do very well, there are other things that Pilling didn’t even attempt.

On Scripture which is very central to all these arguments, Pilling began to open up some of the discussion among scholars, but in the case of the resources for the Conversations we’ve gone to scholars who have a higher standing among Biblical scholars, who I hope are going to be able to present their case in a way that those who disagree with it can at least see the sense of. These are scholars who do not try to overclaim, they are aware of the stronger and the weaker arguments in support of their position but they take very different viewpoints.

We’ve also tried to expand a bit on the international experience of talking about sexuality within the Anglican Communion, and most interestingly we’ve borrowed, with permission, a fascinating paper that was debated at the Church of Scotland General Assembly back in May on how churches through history have dealt with profound disagreement ..

David Porter: and the other material we have provided is some reflection on what a Process of Conversation is about, and the emphasis being that by and large a lot of people will not change their view and their understandings of process of this, but they may change as people and how they hold that view in relation to the Other. And that reflection on what the process emphasises that – emphasises our responsibility to those we disagree with, as brothers and sisters in Christ. It talks about if you do win the argument how do you care for those who are on the other side of that debate. Because this is as important, at how we conduct it is as important, as whatever conclusions we come to. And that is what we are trying to emphasise through the shared conversations. That we need to give attention to this, as much as the issues under discussion.

Interviewer: David Porter Malcolm Brown thank you very much.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

45 Comments
Posted February 6, 2015 at 9:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An urgent review of parish structure - including the number of churchwardens and other office-holders - is needed to release the time and energy of clergy and lay people for mission in rural areas, a report has recommended.

The report, Released for Mission: Growing the rural Church, will be debated at General Synod next week.

Two-thirds of C of E churches are in rural areas, but fewer than half the clergy serve in them. The vast majority of rural churches are in multi-parish benefices or groupings. They are attracting women clergy, but more than three-quarters of "higher-status" rural posts are still held by men.

Recent research has suggested that single parishes are more likely to experience growth than multi-parish benefices, the report says. Less than one in five churches in rural areas is experiencing growth - a figure matched by urban churches.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted February 6, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Emerging through the great west door of York Minster to be photographed, flanked by the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, and the Bishop of Stockport, the Rt Revd Libby Lane, the new Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, reflected on a "wonderful expression of the unity of the Church".

Consecrated on Monday, exactly a week after Bishop Lane, Bishop North is the first traditionalist bishop to be appointed since the passing of the women-bishops Measure. His laughter with her on the steps - both were beaming in the winter sun - was indicative of a jubilant atmosphere among the many bishops present.

After receiving a long line of people seeking his blessing (and at least one selfie), the new Bishop spoke first of unity.

"We had all the bishops together, including Bishop Libby, gathered around in prayer for the Holy Spirit, and I got a real sense of the unity of the Church, and of the precedents that have been set this last week: eight extraordinary days in York Minster, which have seen the consecration, to great joy amongst many Anglicans, of the first woman, and then what's happened today, which has shown that there's a future for those who in good conscience can't accept that development."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops

10 Comments
Posted February 5, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Churches have a key role to play in rural matters and I get frustrated with some ‘incomers’ into our villages who do not seem interested in supporting their local parish church and who fail to engage with their new Community. It is indifference that has resulted in the loss of the village shop and pub and school and frankly will put at risk the future sustainability of many of our rural church buildings. The message is clear – use it or lose it! We must focus the resources that God has given us where there is opportunity for mission and growth. This is nothing new - read Matthew 10:14!

The encouraging news is that despite all the challenges, many young people are still going to agricultural college and want to work in our rural areas. Many Young Farmers I meet are incredibly lively and upbeat and I admire both their enthusiasm and their commitment. The Young Farmers support and encourage one another and I warmly commend the local groups to any young person who is looking to make friends and try new activities - you do not have to be farming to join!

It is essential that we find ways to keep the cost of housing in our rural communities realistic to enable these young people who WANT to engage to do so. Bringing young families back into our villages is essential if they are to have any future and their loss would be tragically detrimental to the life of this nation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture

0 Comments
Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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