But now what happened in North America is being repeated elsewhere. If not effectively challenged, false teaching is contagious, especially when it is well funded. At the recent meeting in Kigali of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), the London based Anglican Communion Secretary General, Josiah Idowu-Fearon commended the relief and development work of the Anglican Alliance, but new research by the Institute for Religion and Democracy shows close links between this organisation and TEC. Even now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is contemplating the overturning of Scripture by legitimising the blessing of same sex unions in breach of Lambeth Resolution I.10 of 1998, despite reaffirming it at the recent meeting of the Council of Anglican Churches of Africa in Rwanda.
However, the greatest cause for concern continues to be the British Isles. The Scottish Episcopal Church has already opened the door wide to conducting same sex ‘marriages’ while in England, Salisbury Cathedral has become the latest of a growing number of cathedrals which publicly support and even bless ‘Gay Pride’ marches. Chichester Diocese has issued a statement commending those of its churches ‘with open doors to celebrate all that the Pride Festival stands for’ while the website of the Church of England’s Diocese of Europe celebrates the ‘truly joyful occasion’ of the same sex ‘marriage’ of a member of one of its congregations conducted by the Lutheran Bishop of Copenhagen.
I am therefore encouraged that seventy two members of the Church of England’s General Synod have written an open letter to the English bishops ahead of meetings planned later this year calling on them not to compromise by adopting practices that are contrary to Lambeth Resolution I.10 and warning that to do so ‘could set the Church of England adrift from her apostolic inheritance.’
Rev. Colin Coward, director of Changing Attitude reports on his conversations with David Porter - from 'A Conversation with Colin Coward 18th April 2015' at St Brides, Liverpool
OK, so that’s what we are stuck with, the Shared Conversations. And I have been arguing amongst the LGBTI Anglican coalition, that we should not simply tolerate what we are being offered, which effectively is a two year delay.
I know from the conversations that we had with David Porter at Lambeth Palace that there is, for him at least, a clear intention that there will be a proper, motioned, discussion at General Synod in February 2017, with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice towards LGBTI people. But it’s going to be what they think they can get away with without upsetting the conservatives too much. So my guess is that it is going to be approval for the blessing of relationships in church, it certainly won’t be for recognising marriage. It certainly will not be for changing the quadruple lock and moving towards allowing equal marriages to take place in Church of England buildings.
The U.S. health-care system remains among the least-efficient in the world.
America was 50th out of 55 countries in 2014, according to a Bloomberg index that assesses life expectancy, health-care spending per capita and relative spending as a share of gross domestic product. Expenditures averaged $9,403 per person, about 17.1 percent of GDP, that year — the most recent for which data are available — and life expectancy was 78.9. Only Jordan, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Brazil and Russia ranked lower.
The U.S. has lagged near the bottom of the Bloomberg Health-Care Efficiency Index since it was created in 2012. Hong Kong and Singapore — consistently at the top — are smaller countries with less diverse populations. Their governments also play a stronger role in regulating and providing care, with spending per capita averaging $2,386 and longevity averaging about 83 years.
A new collection of resources to strengthen and support the use of the Bible in the life of the Church has been published by the Anglican Communion. Described as a tool-kit, the Deeper Engagement collection of educational resources has been prepared by the Communion’s Bible in the Life of the Church (Bilc) project “to encourage us, as churches, to engage more deeply with the Bible,” the co-ordinator Stephen Lyon said in a letter to Primates.
Deeper Engagement is a collection of around 120 different educational resources from different parts of the Communion. They have been gathered “to help us in our engagement with Scripture,” Mr Lydon said. “Most have been used to great effect already and those responsible for creating them are enthusiastic about sharing them with others in the Communion.”
...do not imagine that indifference on these matters offers you an escape route. If you doubt that infant baptism or the Real Presence are issues worth dividing over, then you will find no real place at the Reformation table, either. As Lyndal Roper’s excellent new biography of Luther shows, the Real Presence was central to Luther’s thinking, and to say otherwise is to domesticate him beyond recognition. On this point, even Calvin and Zwingli could be categorized under the “S”-word as far as Luther was concerned. And perhaps we had better not mention what a serious deviation from the Nicene doctrine of the Trinity would have earned you. Michael Servetus could sadly testify to that.
The problem is that the Reformation is only really congenial to modern American evangelicalism if it is reduced to little more than the doctrine of justification by grace through faith. The sixteenth-century Reformation was about a whole lot more—and a whole lot that sits uncomfortably with the modern evangelical faith. So, like Bonhoeffer and C. S. Lewis, the Reformers and the Reformation must be bowdlerized, and by a strange domesticating metamorphosis, become modern American evangelicals. The truth is: The priorities and concerns of American evangelicalism have a highly tenuous and ambiguous relationship to those we find embodied in the confessions and catechisms of the Reformation and exemplified in the attitudes and actions of the Reformers.
He is known as the ‘Red Carpet Curate’, but the ministry of the Rev Peterson Feital is far more significant than the tabloid nickname would suggest.
Last year he was appointed the first Missioner to the Creative Industries by the Diocese of London. It was just the latest of innovative new appointments that is being made by the Church of England as it seeks out new mission opportunities.
But what does this post of Missioner really entail? Sitting in the heart of Soho, he told me about the vision he has for his strategic role. Surrounded by creatives on every side – London’s arts and media specialists contribute over £70 billion a year to the UK economy – he is very aware of the unusual environment in which he finds himself.
The people he has in his patch include film-makers, actors, designers, advertising executives and many other professionals. But their lifestyles are rather different to the people around them.
...in a year where many voters see nothing but bad choices, many evangelicals feel deeply torn. Long a reliable Republican voting bloc, many are appalled to find Donald J. Trump their only alternative to Hillary Clinton. They say he has taken positions all over the map on same-sex couples and abortion and does not have the character to be president. Others are still bewildered that Mr. Trump defeated not only Mr. Cruz — a pastor’s son who made “religious liberty” a signature issue — but also half a dozen other conservative Christian contenders they would have gladly supported.
Behind the closed doors of British intelligence, the era of Smiley’s People is giving way to a future of Smiley’s Facebook friends.
Digital disruption is sweeping through the world’s second-oldest profession — spying — and the UK is repurposing its intelligence services with a £1.5bn annual top-up for security available for the first time this year.
For the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, which supplies foreign intelligence, this translates into its biggest ever recruitment drive, with as many as 1,000 new staff over the next four years, a 40 per cent rise.
Americans don’t know much about theology. Most say God wrote the Bible. But they’re not sure everything in it is true.
Six in 10 say everyone eventually goes to heaven, but half say only those who believe in Jesus will be saved. And while 7 in 10 say there’s only one true God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—two-thirds say God accepts worship of all faiths.
Those are among the findings of a new survey of American views on Christian theology from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
Lo, we honour widely throughout the earth
the high-angel's tide in harvest,
Michael, as the multitude know,
five nights after the equinox day.
St Michael, dragon-slayer, guardian of humanity and weigher of souls, was immensely popular in the medieval period, and in this post are four pieces about St Michael by medieval English writers: a Latin sequence by the eighth-century Northumbrian scholar Alcuin; an English homily from c.990 by Ælfric; a prayer in verse by John Lydgate (c.1370–c.1451); and a homily by John Mirk (fl. c.1382–c.1414). Illustrations are from English manuscripts in the British Library and from some churches I've recently visited.
O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the ministries of angels and men in a wonderful order: Mercifully grant that, as thy holy angels always serve and worship thee in heaven, so by thy appointment they may help and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O Lord, take thou full possession of my heart, raise there thy throne, and command there as thou dost in heaven. Being created by thee, let me live to thee. Being created for thee, let me ever act for thy glory. Being redeemed by thee, let me render to thee what is thine, and let my spirit ever cleave to thee alone; for thy name’s sake.
O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually!
It was the one-two punch of cellphones and email that first pulled clergy into the social-media age, followed by digital newsletters, Facebook pages and constantly changing congregational websites. Even in small churches, the work of the "church secretary" has evolved, from answering the office telephone and preparing an ink-on-paper newsletter to serving as an all-purpose online networker.
"The old boundaries are vanishing and, for pastors in some parts of the country, they're almost completely gone," said Vaters, reached by telephone. "That mobile phone is always with you. … Once your church passes 200 members you have to manage things in a different way. You just can't afford to be as accessible to all those church members all of the time."
So what happens today when a member of a congregation rings the pastor's cellphone? Vaters recently addressed that question in a post at Christianity Today's Pivot blog for small-church leaders. The blunt headline: "Why Most Pastors Aren't Answering Your Phone Calls."
The fourth film in the series exploring the vision and narrative looks at how, in a world crying out for God's love, we can once again become a growing church for all people in all places. With Secretary General William Nye, Church Army's CEO Mark Russell, and the Revd Smitha Prasadam.
After writing Heaven, I heard many stories about the losses of loved ones. People were asking, “How can I be happy”—they probably wouldn’t use that word because it sounds so unspiritual—“when my seven-year-old has just died of leukemia?”
I began to think more and more of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, when he describes himself as “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10). He doesn’t say “rejoicing, yet always sorrowful.” It’s rejoicing that’s the constant, even as this leaves plenty of room for sorrow and struggle.
Something would be terribly wrong if we weren’t grieving for this world and those who suffer. But is it okay to be happy when we live in a world of hurt? And beyond that, is it actually God’s calling? Because if God commands us to rejoice, he must empower us to rejoice. He must want us to be happy. That’s what got me interested in God’s happiness. Is God happy? Can he be happy when he sees so much sin in the world, when he knows what his Son endured on his behalf, when he sees the persecution of his people? Can we?
With a long history of presidents who were members of Protestant denominations in America, everyone of my age may remember the panic over electing the “papist” John F. Kennedy. But with so many other issues dominating this presidential election, there has been little discussion of the role of the personal religious views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Ms. Clinton was raised as a Methodist and Mr. Trump as a Presbyterian. (As for their running mates, Tim Kaine is Roman Catholic and Mike Pence is an ex-Catholic turned evangelical Protestant).
What role, if any, will each candidate’s religious views play if she or he must carry out the duties of commander in chief? What role, if any, will religion play in the November election? Or will this become a back-burner issue in the face of unemployment, immigration and the war against terrorism? For many Americans, the separation of church and state, a tenet of our democracy, means religion is of little relevance at the ballot box.
In the ancient world, there was absolutely no distinction between religion and government.
In response to the news that an agreement has been reached in North Belfast in relation to contested parades, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, joined with the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, to express their support for this significant initiative:
"We have been aware that various people and groups have been working hard to reach an agreement which would bring to an end the parading stand-off in North Belfast, a part of the city which has borne economic hardship and carries a heavy legacy from the Troubles. The news of this agreement is to be warmly welcomed and we commend all who have taken risks and found a way to serve the common good in the journey towards a peaceful and reconciled future. Our prayers and continued support are with those who now carry responsibility for making it work."
The world’s first child created using a controversial “three-parent” baby technique has been born in Mexico, it has been announced.
Limited details about the birth were revealed ahead of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's scientific congress in Salt Lake City next month, where it will be discussed more fully.
According to critics, the procedure is tantamount to genetic modification of humans or even “playing God”. But supporters say it allows women with a particular type of genetic disease to have healthy children who are related to them.
Anyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion in church, regardless of whether they have also been confirmed, under new guidance coming into effect in November.
The Church in Wales is re-adopting the practice of the early church on admission to Communion – the sharing of bread and wine – in an effort to strengthen ministry to children and young people in particular.
In recent times, people wishing to receive Communion have usually had to have been confirmed first – confirming promises made on their behalf at their baptism as infants.
However, from the First Sunday in Advent – November 27 – everyone who has been baptised will be able to receive Holy Communion. The policy will be rolled out across the parishes and ministry areas over the next year.
People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up not to be religious as adults, the study found. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents told pollsters they are now nonreligious, compared with 23 percent of people whose parents were married when they were children.
Other studies on the rise of the “nones” — those who say they have no religion — have focused on millennials’ changing preferences. This study found that 29 percent of adults who were raised religious and left their faith say they left because of their religion’s negative teachings about gay and lesbian people. Nineteen percent say they left because of clergy sexual-abuse scandals. Sixty percent say they simply do not believe what the religion teaches.
“A lot of the narrative around the rise of the nones, or the rise of the non-affiliated, has focused on how there’s changing cultural preferences, that people are choosing to move away from religion,” said Daniel Cox, one of the researchers on the new study. “I think there’s also a structural part of the story that has not gotten as much attention. We wanted to focus on the way millennials were raised, which is different from any previous generation. And part of that is they’re more likely to have grown up with parents who are divorced.”
Gracious God, we offer thanks for the lives and work of Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, and Margery Kempe, hermits and mystics, who, passing through the cloud of unknowing, beheld thy glory. Help us, after their examples, to see thee more clearly and love thee more dearly, in the Name of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Living God, in whom is the fountain of life: So teach us to know thee through Jesus Christ that we may share the power of that eternal life which is in him, and that all our lives may be brought into obedience to thy holy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Wine and new wine
take away the understanding.
My people inquire of a thing of wood,
and their staff gives them oracles.
For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray,
and they have left their God to play the harlot.
They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains,
and make offerings upon the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is good.
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! By the grace of God and for the glory of Christ, we have been called to serve with you at Church of the Good Shepherd, and we could not be more excited....
Cummins Theological Seminary, Summerville, SC, is pleased to announce the election of the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, to the Board of Trustees of the Seminary. Bishop Lawrence was unanimously elected by the 44th Annual Synod of the Reformed Episcopal Diocese of the Southeast, meeting in Charleston, SC, on Friday, September 16, 2016.
This is an historic moment in the reconciliation of these two dioceses. The Reformed Episcopal Diocese began in 1874 when former slaves, after the Civil War and Reconstruction, were not allowed to worship in the parishes of the Diocese of South Carolina. They sought refuge in the newly founded (1873) Reformed Episcopal Church (REC). These former slaves wrote to the Rt. Rev. George D. Cummins, founding bishop of the REC, and the General Council, asking for a church home in the REC.
Catholic priest Fr Edward O'Donnell has been installed as an ecumenical canon at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.
He is one of three ecumenical canons appointed at the cathedral.
In his role at St Anne's he can preach, lead prayers and read scripture. He can also assist at the cathedral's traditional Black Santa Christmas collection for charity.
It is the first time in St Anne's history that a Catholic priest has been appointed to such a role.
My country’s parliament recently passed the first national assisted-suicide legislation in our history. Prompted by the Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous decision last year to strike down the previous law as unconstitutionally restricting individual rights to life, liberty, and security, Parliament is now arguing over how widely or narrowly to involve Canadian citizens—both patients and health care providers—in assisted suicide.
In Culture of Death, first published in 2000, American lawyer and activist Wesley J. Smith warned that this debate was upon us. A new, updated revision of the book sharpens this warning, drawing on a wide range of cases in Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and the bellwether states of Oregon and Washington.
“Lewis was committed to classical liberalism in the tradition of John Locke and John Stuart Mill,” according to Professors Dyer and Watson, meaning he believed in the wisdom of limited government, equality under the law, and a robust private sphere. Lewis also presciently warned that Christians were tempted to abuse political power in ways that were bad for both Christianity and the state. He believed that theocracy was the worst form of government and detested the idea of a “Christian party,” which risked blaspheming the name of Christ.
“The danger of mistaking our merely natural, though perhaps legitimate, enthusiasms for holy zeal, is always great,” Lewis wrote. “The demon inherent in every party is at all times ready enough to disguise himself as the Holy Ghost; the formation of a Christian Party means handing over to him the most efficient makeup we can find.”
Lewis knew that a faith-informed conscience could advance justice and that Christianity played an enormous part in establishing the concept of natural rights and the dignity of the human person. But he also believed that legislation is not an exact science; that a Christian citizen does not, in the words of Professors Dyer and Watson, “have the authority to represent his or her prudential judgment as required by Christianity”; and that no political party can come close to approximating God’s ideal. Christianity is about ends, not means, according to Lewis, and so he spent a good deal of his life articulating what he believed was the telos, the ultimate purpose, of human beings. Lewis was convinced that partisan political engagement often undermined that effort.
According to statistics and a recent pew sheet of my church; the Anglican Church has been in decline in the West for over 100 years. Numbers of Anglicans in Australia have also been in steady decline since 2001.
Being part of a traditional parish in the Diocese of Sydney, the challenge of growth and decline is more than just cyclical, it is generational. While the majority of the diocese has moved its worship form away from traditional setting, parishes like St Paul's Burwood has the challenge of protecting and using the liturgy regularly while still focusing on outreach.
After the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda had approximately 300 militants. ISIS alone now has, at a low estimate, 31,000 fighters across Syria and Iraq. Understanding how ideology has driven this phenomenon is essential to containing and defeating violent extremism.
But violent ideologies do not operate in a vacuum. A fire requires oxygen to grow. A broader political culture overlaps significantly with some of the assumptions of the jihadi ideology, without necessarily being extreme or agreeing with its violence.
The jihadi ideology preys upon those who are sympathetic to some of its aims. Unless we understand how the ideology relates to wider beliefs, we cannot uproot it.
Read it all (and note the link to download the full report).
The final issue I want to mention is religiously-motivated violence. For the first time for any of us, and in fact for our predecessors, for many, many years – since long before there was national education – the issue of conflict and of religion is generating a powerful and, indeed, at times uncontrollable and destructive influence in our society and around the world, to an extent that has put it at the top of the political agenda, and which affects the life of our own nation as well as abroad. No one before you in the last 10 years as secondary heads has had to face the kinds of issues with religiously-motivated violence since the 17th century to this extent.
It has come back, and that means religious literacy is essential to building the kind of society that we need in the future, whether you believe in the faith of a particular group or of no particular group. Religious literacy has become essential to understanding people’s motivation and ideas. That’s a new experience for all of us, and for our politicians, and for our education system.
There was a study published recently on jihadi violence and the underlying drivers of it, called Inside the Jihadi Mind. One of the things that comes out most importantly is that the heart of their theology – which is the heart of their propaganda, so this is the driving force – is an apocalyptic understanding of human history, not as a loose term but in its strictest technical terms: they believe that the world is about to end, that the Prophet will return with Jesus, and will defeat the western powers.
The Cross is the abyss of wonders, the centre of desires, the school of virtues, the house of wisdom, the throne of love, the theatre of joys, and the place of sorrows; It is the root of happiness, and the gate of Heaven.
Of all the things in Heaven and Earth it is the most peculiar. It is the most exalted of all objects. It is an Ensign lifted up for all nations, to it shall the Gentiles seek, His rest shall be glorious: the dispersed of Judah shall be gathered together to it, from the four corners of the earth. If Love be the weight of the Soul, and its object the centre, all eyes and hearts may convert and turn unto this Object: cleave unto this centre, and by it enter into rest. There we might see all nations assembled with their eyes and hearts upon it. There we may see God’s goodness, wisdom and power: yea His mercy and anger displayed. There we may see man’s sin and infinite value. His hope and fear, his misery and happiness. There we might see the Rock of Ages, and the Joys of Heaven. There we may see a Man loving all the world, and a God dying for mankind. There we may see all types and ceremonies, figures and prophecies. And all kingdoms adoring a malefactor: An innocent malefactor, yet the greatest in the world. There we may see the most distant things in Eternity united: all mysteries at once couched together and explained. The only reason why this Glorious Object is so publicly admired by Churches and Kingdoms, and so little thought of by particular men, is because it is truly the most glorious: It is the Rock of Comforts and the Fountain of Joys. It is the only supreme and sovereign spectacle in all Worlds. It is a Well of Life beneath in which we may see the face of Heaven above: and the only mirror, wherein all things appear in their proper colours: that is, sprinkled in the blood of our Lord and Saviour.
Creator of wonder and majesty, who didst inspire thy poet Thomas Traherne with mystical insight to see thy glory in the natural world and in the faces of men and women around us: Help us to know thee in thy creation and in our neighbors, and to understand our obligations to both, that we may ever grow into the people thou hast created us to be; through our Savior Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, in everlasting light. Amen.
O Lord Christ, Son of David, born for us in lowly state at Bethlehem, and now exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high: Grant us grace to think worthily of thee both in thy humility and in thy glory; that we may ascribe to thee the honour that is thy due, now and for evermore.