Revealing Correspondence between Bishop Skilton and Bp Von Rosenberg of the new TEC SC Diocese
Posted by Kendall Harmon

On December 12, the Rt. Rev. William Skilton, retired suffragan bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina released an “Open Letter to the Faithful Anglicans/Episcopalians in Lower South Carolina” in which he shared correspondence he’d received from Rt. Rev. Charles vonRosenberg, the provisional bishop of TECinSC and his response. Bp. Skilton has been directed to no longer function in any sacramental capacity in any TEC congregation in South Carolina. Bp. Skilton had sought to minister in a reconciling way with parishes in both dioceses (though functioning as a bishop in neither). This action will effectively end that dual ministry. He will, nonetheless, continue to be a welcome guest among parishes in the Diocese of South Carolina and we look forward to his continued sacramental ministry among us.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm - 28 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A.S. Haley—Decision in Diocese of South Carolina Lawsuit Expected Soon
Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the context of the present dispute, this means that the Court will base its final decision upon a close examination of the various deeds and other documents evidencing ownership and title, as well as the governing documents (constitution, canons, articles and bylaws) of the parishes, the Diocese, and of the Episcopal Church (USA) itself.

As to the ability of the Diocese to withdraw from ECUSA, it would seem that it has already been finally adjudicated (by the courts of Illinois) that there is no language in the Constitution or canons of ECUSA which would prevent a Diocese from withdrawing. That is also a decision drawn under neutral principles, and so is in harmony with the method shown in the All Saints Waccamaw case. I should think that Judge Goodstein will find the reasoning of those two cases both persuasive and binding upon her.

Resolution of that question will not, however, necessarily resolve the issue of property held in trust. Under the Waccamaw decision again, an express written trust of some kind will be required -- one that satisfies the Statute of Frauds under South Carolina law (it must be in writing, and signed by the actual owner of the person so placing the property into a trust). The Dennis Canon alone will not work -- that was one of the express holdings in the Waccamaw case which will be binding upon Judge Goodstein.

There was no evidence of any such trust document or documents offered at the trial, to my knowledge. Consequently, the decision on this point, while open, should not be a difficult one under neutral principles.

Read it all and please follow and read all the links as well.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: CommentaryEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriTEC BishopsTEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(FT) Isis morale falls as momentum slows and casualties mount
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Flagging morale, desertion and factionalism are starting to affect the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, testing the cohesion of the jihadi force as its military momentum slows.

Activists and fighters in parts of eastern Syria controlled by Isis said as military progress slows and focus shifts to governing the area, frustration has grown among militants who had been seen as the most disciplined and effective fighting force in the country’s civil war.

The group hurtled across western Iraq and eastern Syria over the summer in a sudden offensive that shocked the world. Isis remains a formidable force: it controls swaths of territory and continues to make progress in western Iraq. But its fighters have reached the limit of discontented Sunni Muslim areas that they can easily capture and US-led coalition air strikes partnered with offensives by local ground forces have begun to halt their progress.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsEconomyTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(JE) Jeff Walton—Episcopal Church Baptisms Dry Up
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The report reveals that in U.S. dioceses, baptisms are down five percent from 27,140 in 2012 to 25,822 in 2013. Similarly, marriages are down four percent from 10,366 to 9,933 (the denomination has seen a 40 percent decline in children baptized since 2003 and a 46 percent decline in marriages over the same period). The losses are not evenly distributed, with some dioceses performing worse than others: in the Diocese of Northern Michigan, where an ordained Buddhist was elected (and later failed to gain consent from other dioceses) to be bishop in 2009, zero children were confirmed in 2013.

Episcopal “renewing” dioceses in San Joaquin and Fort Worth are also continuing to struggle: Fort Worth closed five parishes in 2013 (from 22 to 17), with San Joaquin closing two (21 to 19). Pittsburgh added one new parish (36 to 37). Other diocese closing parishes include Maryland (4) and Massachusetts (3), with most of the dioceses in Northeastern Province 1 seeing the closure of at least one parish.

Despite continuing to claim over 70 parishes and 28,000 members following the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina (DioSC) and the vast majority of its parishes ending their affiliation with the Episcopal Church, the renewing Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC) has posted updated information on baptisms and weddings, showing a drop from 388 children’s baptisms in 2012 to only 135 in 2013. South Carolina reported 170 children and 143 adults confirmed in 2012, dropping to 54 children and 37 adults in 2013.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalCommon Cause Partnership--Proposed Formation of a new North American ProvinceEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Departing ParishesTEC DataTEC Parishes* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologySacramental TheologyBaptism

December 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Food for Thought in the current Climate from Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Posted by Kendall Harmon

An #FDR quote on the wall of the @wwiimuseum that seems apt today - #WWII #WorldWarIIMuseum #WorldWarII #NewOrleans

— #SaveBela #SaveBella (@Cameron_Gray) December 20, 2014

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Brendan McCarthy—Will Substance Win Over Style in the Assisted Suicide Debate?
Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is little doubt that those in favour of changing the law on assisted suicide have talked up a storm. In spite of peers expressing very mixed opinions during debates on the Assisted Dying Bill, the casual observer might be forgiven for thinking that all that remains to be done is to find effective safeguards ensuring that vulnerable individuals are not pressured into requesting assistance for ending their own lives; otherwise the matter is a done-deal. Leaving to one side, the rather important point that finding effective safeguards is proving as elusive as finding the Holy Grail, recent announcements from the medical profession have helped to bring some much-needed perspective to the debate.

The Royal College of Physicians’ recent announcement that, in the light of a thorough survey of its members, it will continue to oppose a change in legislation, is significant...

Read it all and follow the links.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 1:28 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Do Not Take Yourself too Seriously Dept—Jimmy Fallon’s Segment on things going wrong at Christmas
Posted by Kendall Harmon

I really loved this--watch it and see what you think--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchMovies & Television* General InterestHumor / Trivia

December 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Lent and Beyond: Prayer for South Carolina on Saturday December 20th
Posted by The_Elves

Awaiting the results of litigation. Please pray for Her Honor Judge Diane S. Goodstein, the Diocese of South Carolina and its legal team, all those involved in the proceedings and for the growth of God's Kingdom in South Carolina

Psalm 138:7-8 (ESV)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Our Father in heaven,

We thank You for the preservation of the Diocese of South Carolina. Fulfill Your purpose for them by Your steadfast love. Do not forsake them, for they are the work of Your hands. Amen.

Please pray it all and there are more prayers for South Carolina here

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South Carolina

December 20, 2014 at 12:09 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(C of E) Church Commissioners second most charitable UK donor in City AM list
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church Commissioners have welcomed the news that they are the UK's second most charitable giver in the publication of City AM's list of the World's top 20 donors.

The list, published this week, named the Church Commissioners as the eighth highest donor in the world - and second in the UK - giving £207.84m in charitable donations to support the Church of England. The total giving, which supports the Church's ministry around the country, is highlighted in the Commissioners annual report for 2013, which announced that the performance of the investment fund exceeded it's target of RPI +5% per annum, returning 15.9% for during the year.

Read it all.

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

December 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CBC) The dilemma Newfoundland and Labrador downtown churches face with dwindling congregations
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Are you planning a visit to an old church during the Christmas season? Maybe you're a regular church goer or you might only set foot inside a religious sanctuary once a year.

However often you attend, administrators of downtown churches in St. John's say everyone should be concerned about the future of these historic buildings. Congregations are struggling with structural problems, exorbitant heating costs and fewer and fewer people in pews.

Between Patrick Street in the west end and King's Bridge Road in the east, there are nine churches. One church is Presbyterian, two are Anglican, two are Catholic and four are United Churches. St. Thomas's Anglican church is the oldest, built in 1836. The newest is Cochrane Street United, opened in 1915 during the First World War.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* International News & CommentaryCanada

December 20, 2014 at 11:22 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

It’s not Censorship, Just Cowardice: On Sony’s Decision to Shut Down “The Interview”
Posted by Kendall Harmon

What a strange week it’s been in Hollywood. Tuesday night we actually had a thunderstorm. For those who don’t know Southern California, that’s like saying House Republicans think our country might have a race problem. Or Woody Allen is considering property in Malibu. Or the new Missal really seems to be catching on. (“Under our roof,” translators? “Under our roof”?)

There was even lightning, for God’s sake.

Then yesterday, hack-beleaguered Sony Pictures actually stopped distribution of major motion picture “The Interview,” maybe forever, after the United States’ five major theater chains refused to show it for fear of a 9/11-style attack on any theater that did.

To say the Internet was not happy with this series of events would be an understatement. Hollywood writer/director/producer Judd Apatow called the chains’ decision “disgraceful” and wondered, along with many others, what’s next: “Will they pull any movie that gets an anonymous threat now?” Many called it a sad day for creative expression, and feared that this forebodes a dangerous new self-censorship. Rob Lowe compared Hollywood to Neville Chamberlain (to which the nation of Czechoslovakia replied, “Mmm, Rob, I think not”). Newt Gingrich went so far as to call the hackers’ threat an “act of war,” forgoing the need for an act of war to involve an actual act. Forget the pesky details, there’s really never a bad time for a little preemption.

Read it all from America.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetLaw & Legal IssuesMovies & TelevisionScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaNorth Korea* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 10:29 am - 5 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(NPR) When Nonprofit Hospitals Sue Their Poorest Patients
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some nonprofit hospitals around the country don't ever seize their patients' wages. Some do so only in very rare cases. But others sue hundreds of patients every year. Heartland, which is in the process of changing its name to Mosaic Life Care, seizes more money from patients than any other hospital in Missouri. From 2009 through 2013, the hospital's debt collection arm garnished the wages of about 6,000 people, according to a ProPublica analysis of state court data.

After the hospital wins a judgment against a former patient in court, it's entitled to take a hefty portion of the patient's paychecks going forward: 25 percent of after-tax pay. For patients who are the head of household, if they tell the hospital or court that information, the hospital can seize only 10 percent of each paycheck.

But Heartland, through the debt collection company Northwest Financial Services, often sues both adults in a household — garnishing one at the 10 percent rate and the other at the full 25 percent of their pay. The hospital also charges patients 9 percent interest, the maximum allowed under state law.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 20, 2014 at 10:00 am - 5 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(Washington Post) A Battle with ISIS for the minds of young Muslims
Posted by Kendall Harmon

fter the latest of his sermons denouncing the Islamic State, Mohamed Taha Sabri stepped down from an ornate platform at the House of Peace mosque. The 48-year-old chief preacher then moved to greet his congregation, steeling himself for the fallout.

Soon, two young men — they are almost always young, but not always men — were calling him out. Only moments before, Sabri had derided the militants’ tactics, saying “it is not our task to turn women into slaves, to bomb churches, to slaughter people in front of cameras while shouting ‘God is great!’ ”

One young man in a black leather jacket angrily chided him for challenging “Muslim freedom fighters.” His companion in a yellow shirt then chimed in: “What is your problem with the Islamic State? You are on the wrong path!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermany* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

December 20, 2014 at 9:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A WSJ Article on Redeemer Presbyterian Church NYC—God Isn’t Dead in Gotham
Posted by Kendall Harmon

‘Cheer up, you’re worse than you think,” Rev. Timothy Keller says with a smile. He’s explaining that humans are more weak, more fallen, more warped than they “ever dare admit or even believe.” Then comes the good news: At the same time people are “more loved in Christ and more accepted than they could ever imagine or hope.”

Do you know many New Yorkers who believe that? Perhaps not, but on Sundays some 5,500 city folk file into the church Mr. Keller founded 25 years ago, Redeemer Presbyterian, at eight packed services across three Manhattan locations, the Greenwich Village campus of which I attend on Sundays. The service is traditional, the congregation less so: Most who show up, if you can believe it, are single and under 35, whether bankers, lawyers, actors or artists.

Mr. Keller has a growing national following and is often described as a Christian intellectual who takes on the likes of Nietzsche, Marx and Freud in a sermon rooted in a specific Biblical text. He’ll sprinkle in references from popular culture—something about contentment he read in the Atlantic, a poignant passage from “Lord of the Rings.” His fruitful work has multiplied. Redeemer efforts have helped plant more than 300 churches in 45 cities, from Santiago to Dubai.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriology

December 20, 2014 at 8:28 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

George McHendry—Religion writers choose top stories of 2014
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over the years I have enjoyed being a member of the Religion Newswriters Association. One of benefits I really enjoy this time of year is the announcement of the top stories in religion. I participate in the voting each year, and I usually am pretty good at picking choices that mirror the 300 or so journalists who take part in the voting. This year, not so much.

We are given a list of the top 25 stories in the field of religion, and are asked to vote for our top 10 selections. We also are asked to vote for the top religion newsmaker of the year, and this year I didn't come even close.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture

December 20, 2014 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Religion Newswriters’ 2014 Religion Stories of the Year
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Columbia, Mo.—The extremist Islamic State’s violent reign of terror in Iraq and Syria was voted the No. 1 Religion Story of 2014 by the world’s leading religion journalists. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision giving closely held companies the ability to claim religious objections to health care mandates was a close second.

For the second year in a row, Pope Francis was named the top Religion Newsmaker of the Year. He was selected overwhelmingly, receiving more than half of all the votes among a slate of 10 newsmakers.

The online ballot was conducted Friday, Dec. 5 through Wednesday, Dec. 10. Only RNA members, who comprise religion journalists in the U.S. and abroad, were eligible to vote. The Top 10 ballot items are listed here. Because of two ties, the list actually includes 12 stories

Read it all and see what you make of the list.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture

December 20, 2014 at 7:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A Prayer to Begin the Day
Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God of hope, fill us, we beseech thee, with all joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope by the power of thy Holy Spirit, and show forth our thankfulness to thee in trustful and courageous lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

December 20, 2014 at 7:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

From the Morning Bible Readings
Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tibe′ri-us Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Iturae′a and Trachoni′tis, and Lysa′ni-as tetrarch of Abile′ne, in the high-priesthood of Annas and Ca′iaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechari′ah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

He said therefore to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

--Luke 3:1-9

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 20, 2014 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Anglican Comm body: please Ang Ch of Can change not yr marriage canon to allow same-sex marriag
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all (HT: Anglican Journal).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of CanadaSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryCanada* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm - 4 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(Get Religion) Terry Mattingly—New York Times finds the usual suspects behind C of E division
Posted by Kendall Harmon

There we are: Evangelicals are hidebound and change-allergic, straining attempts at compromise. Never mind that Archbishop Welby – who, as the Times itself says, "backed the push for female bishops" – is himself widely known as an evangelical.

There's also a glitch in the Times saying that Libby Lane's appointment will test the compromise. If Thomas' concern is male oversight for conservative churches, why wouldn't he be satisfied with a female suffragan who draws her authority from a male bishop? He should have been asked, don’t you think?

Nor does the article's grasp of history sound much better. Not when the story says, "The tradition of all-male bishops dates to the Church of England’s break with Rome five centuries ago, in the days of King Henry VIII."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & CultureWomen* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

December 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Friday Mental Health Break—Derby the dog: Running on 3D Printed Prosthetics
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all--so lovely (just over 3 minutes).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicineScience & Technology* General InterestAnimals

December 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(NPR) At An Isolated Camp, Iraqi Police Prep For A Showdown With ISIS
Posted by Kendall Harmon

They are angry at the loss, frustrated that the battle for Mosul is on hold and that Baghdad has failed to support them. In the meantime, they have backing from the Americans who have visited this camp and offered to start training soon.

"Maybe in the next week. Maybe," says Hamdani. But the Americans have made no promises to provide the weapons Hamdani says he needs. "The weapons come from Baghdad."

So far, Baghdad has delivered one small shipment of 1,000 Kalashnikov rifles and 30 heavy machine guns. It's not nearly enough, says Hamdani, against a dangerous enemy that is well-armed with U.S. weapons seized in Mosul when the Iraqi army collapsed in June. The fleeing Iraqi army left behind millions of dollars worth of U.S. armaments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq

December 19, 2014 at 11:25 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(WSJ) Charlotte Allen—Filmmaker Ridley Scott makes an ‘Exodus’ Not Found in the Bible
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Director Ridley Scott ’s $140 million “Exodus: Gods and Kings” isn’t exactly drowning in a red sea, but its $24.1 million opening box office last weekend wasn’t spectacular, either—nearly $20 million below that for March’s “Noah,” another expensive biblical epic. Like “Noah,” this movie had a director who couldn’t bring himself to believe in the story he was telling.

Mr. Scott is famously hostile to faith. The “biggest source of evil is of course religion,” he told Esquire in 2012. Theoretically, that shouldn’t make a difference to his moviemaking.[...but it has].

Mr. Scott’s Moses (Christian Bale) not only can’t match Charlton Heston; his job is not to try. This Moses is a 21st-century skeptic who, instead of becoming the instrument of God in freeing the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, sits back and calls God “cruel” and “inhumane” for visiting plagues upon Egypt. Gone is the rhythmic narration in the Book of Exodus (and DeMille’s movie) in which Moses travels again and again to the pharaoh to demand, “Let my people go” (not uttered in the new movie). God, for his part, is depicted as a vengeful 11-year-old brat ( Isaac Andrews ) who resembles no one so much as Joffrey, the nasty child-tyrant in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchHistoryMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 19, 2014 at 8:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Canon J John with reflections on the Magi for Advent
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (a little over 3 1/2 minutes).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 19, 2014 at 7:28 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Wyoming Episcopal Church Parish ordains a new Priest
Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Deb] Adams, who has lived in Teton Valley for the past 30 years, said she’s been attending St. Francis since it started just over 20 years ago. For the past 10, she’s been studying in the hours off from her job as executive director of the Teton County Library in Jackson, Wyoming.

“This is something I’ve been drawn to for a really long time,” Adams said. “A lot of it comes from the modeling of my parents who were all about service.”

Service, Adams said, was the environment she grew up in. And now, besides delivering sermons and counseling with parishioners, she’ll be able to officiate in the church’s sacraments, which include celebrating communion and performing weddings.

Instead of taking an alternate route of studying at a theological seminary, Adams enrolled in online classes through Church Divinity School of the Pacific and took additional courses and workshops at the Episcopal Church in Idaho Falls.

Read it all and the parish website is there.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

December 19, 2014 at 7:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Law and Religion UK—Lords Spiritual (Women) bill published
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Currently, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Bishops of Durham, London and Winchester automatically take seats in the House of Lords. The remaining 21 seats are occupied by Bishops in order of seniority (length of service). Under the current system, it would be many years before women bishops were represented in the Lords.

The Government’s Bill, which is supported by the Church of England, proposes a modification of this rule for the next ten years....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureWomen* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

December 19, 2014 at 6:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(BBC) Women bishops to be fast-tracked into the House of Lords
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Women bishops would be fast-tracked into the House of Lords, under government proposals set out... [yesterday].

Ministers want to change the law to allow female bishops to take up the "spiritual" seats in the Lords, when they become available.

Usually they are allocated to the most senior or longest-serving bishops.

On Wednesday, Reverend Libby Lane was announced as the first female bishop for the Church of England - a month after a historic change to canon law.

The general synod voted to back plans for female bishops in July and formally adopted legislation on 17 November.

Read it all.

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

December 19, 2014 at 6:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Inaccurate art. on New Episcopal Church Diocese forming new parish in Mt Pleasant
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Readers are asked carefully to note the legal and historical fiction in the article in which it is claimed the 224th annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina was held. That cannot be true legally or historically since no entity of that name existed until the last few years when TEC founded the new diocese--KSH.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC ConflictsTEC Conflicts: South CarolinaTEC Parishes

December 19, 2014 at 5:46 am - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Archbishop Justin Welby—The Green Report: A Response
Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is an old saying that, ‘Delegation without preparation is abdication’. When someone responds to the call to take up a senior post there is a pressing need and responsibility to prepare them for the demands of the ministry entrusted to them.

This is true especially for diocesan bishops, but also for all other aspects of the episcopacy, for deans, for leaders of large churches and great churches, in theological colleges and so forth. The Green report sets out a process which enables proper preparation for wider responsibility to be held within a clear Christian context of development of personal spirituality and prayer in order to be equipped and also to be dependent on the grace that we receive through the gift of the Spirit. Not to undertake this seriously is to put unreasonable stress on those in positions of leadership, neglecting to love them as we are called to do. In the midst of any vocational call there remains the constant need to remember the sacredness of the human person....

The Church, gathered and dispersed, stands as a holy nation, a royal priesthood, and God’s own people. The Green report is one of a portfolio of reforms being proposed cover the whole range of ministry, or to be accurate, will do once they are fully rolled out over a period of years. They will be introduced at General Synod in February and there will be opportunities for people to engage with and comment on the proposals. The reforms are rooted in a love for the whole people of God. They begin with the recognition that we can’t simply go on as we are if we are to flourish and grow as the Church of England. Our call is not to manage decline.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

December 19, 2014 at 5:30 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(Church Times) Chester wins race for C of E’s first woman bishop
Posted by Kendall Harmon

A parish priest, the Revd Libby Lane, is to be the first woman bishop in the Church of England, it was announced on Wednesday, one month to the day after the passing of legislation to enable women's consecration.

Ms Lane, Vicar of St Peter's, Hale, and St Elizabeth's, Ashley, will become the Bishop of Stockport, a suffragan post in the diocese of Chester, when she is consecrated in York Minister on 26 January.

"This is unexpected and very exciting," she said, after the announcement was made in Stockport Town Hall. "I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment. But most of all I am thankful to God."

The Archbishop of Canterbury said that he was "absolutely delighted. . . Her Christ-centred life, calmness, and clear determination to serve the Church and the community make her a wonderful choice."

Read it all.

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

December 19, 2014 at 5:15 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CSM Editorial) When children stand up to terror
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The terrorist attack on a Pakistani school Tuesday continues to evoke a global outcry. Even the Taliban in Afghanistan has condemned the Taliban group in Pakistan that took credit for slaughtering 148 people, of whom 132 were children. In Pakistan, tens of thousands of people held candlelight vigils nationwide, holding up signs saying “Enough!”

But the most touching and perhaps meaningful reaction took place in India, Pakistan’s longtime adversary and a victim itself of Pakistani-led terror over a territorial dispute between the two countries.

On Wednesday, Indian students in thousands of schools and colleges observed two minutes of silence or wrote messages in their scrapbooks for the young victims. “We also prayed for the quick recovery of the injured students and the grieving family members,” one school official told The Times of India.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationGlobalizationViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndiaPakistan

December 19, 2014 at 5:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Lillian Trasher
Posted by Kendall Harmon

God, whose everlasting arms support the universe: We offer thanks for moving the heart of Lillian Trasher to heroic hospitality on behalf of orphaned children in great need, and we pray that we also may find our hearts awakened and our compassion stirred to care for thy little ones, through the example of our Savior Jesus Christ and by the energy of thy Holy Spirit, who broodest over the world as a mother over her children; for they live and reign with thee, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryMissionsSpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgypt

December 19, 2014 at 4:40 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

A Prayer to Begin the Day
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty Father, Whose blessed Son at His coming amongst us brought redemption unto His people and peace to men of goodwill: grant that, when He shall come again in glory to judge the world and to make all things new, we may be found ready to receive Him, and enter into His joy; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ.

--The Pastor's Prayerbook

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdvent

December 19, 2014 at 4:20 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

From the Morning Bible Readings
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”


Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 19, 2014 at 4:00 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Glenn Stanton—10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Christian View of Sexuality
Posted by Kendall Harmon

I' ve worked up a good lather in the so-called “culture war” around homosexuality and same-sex marriage for about two decades now. And I’m just as committed to the Christian view on sexuality as I am to engaging the issue in spirited and civil debate. However, to debate the issue seriously and truthfully, we must seek an honest picture of what our opponents actually believe — working from what we think they believe is neither helpful nor respectful.

While there are people of many diverse beliefs and convictions — including gay and lesbian people — who oppose same-sex marriage, here are 10 foundational truths that inform the traditional, orthodox Christian belief.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

December 18, 2014 at 5:11 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

They Got Abortions When the Test Said Their Baby Would be Disabled, But The Tests Were Wrong
Posted by Kendall Harmon

The pro-life movement has been raising the ugly specter of abortions on babies with disabilities for years and now a new article in the Boston Globe confirms that the tests supposedly showing a baby having a mild or sever disability may be wrong.

Calling unborn babies defective if they are prenatally diagnosed with genetic conditions foreshadows a dangerous path toward eugenics. The problem of a society that is prone to abort babies at a rate of 60, 70 or even 80 percent for those diagnosed with Down Syndrome is bad enough. A disability is certainly no reason to have an abortion.

Read it all from Lifesite news.

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December 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm - 1 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* South Carolina

December 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

The Turning of the Tide: A Call to the Church for Truer and Bolder Evangelism
Posted by Kendall Harmon

(Please note you need to guess the speaker and the date before clicking the link--KSH).
These three leading present-day scholars and writers give their testimony clearly and definitely for the Christian Faith, and the notable thing is that they represent a distinct movement. A large number of influential writers are giving the same testimony; poets and writers such as T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Dorothy Sayers, Charles Williams, Richardson Wright, and Jacques Maritain. And it should be noted that the writers here mentioned are all of them laymen, that four of them, including C. S. Lewis, were formerly avowed secularists, and that they turned from secularism not to a humanistic and "non-miraculous" Christianity, but to the Christian Gospel as Revealed, and as declared by the Church and the Scriptures. The influence of secularism in our life is still widespread and powerful. As Mr. Lewis says, the 19th century materialist philosophy still permeates the popular mind. Naturalistic assumptions still "meet us on every side--even from the pens of clergymen." But the tide is turning. There have been evidences of this for some time...but the movement is now clear and unmistakable, and it is especially evident on the highest levels of thought and knowledge.

This turning of the tide, the turning of men such as those above named from Secularism to full and definite Christian belief is of great significance, and it brings a clear call to us as a Church. It tells us that we need in the Church today a great renewal of evangelical faith and power. It tells us that if the Church is to do her work for God, and for the help of men, she must stand fearlessly and uncompromisingly for the reality and truth and glory of the supernatural. It calls us to make our present campaign of Evangelism a bolder and clearer call to men for full belief in Christ and His Gospel. This is the very meaning of evangelism. Evangelism is bringing men and women personally to the knowledge and the love of Jesus Christ, and so to repentance, faith, and "newness of life." Archbishop William Temple's Commission told us that "To evangelize is so to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Ghost that men shall come to put their trust in God through Him, to accept Him as their Saviour, and to follow Him as their King, in the fellowship of His Church."

The vital question in the life of the Church today is not whether we are called "high church" or "low church,"...not whether we use certain ritual forms and acts, but whether we believe in Jesus Christ as "God manifest in the flesh," the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity, the Christ of the Scriptures Who has "all power in heaven and in earth" and Who is Saviour, Lord, and God. It is the full, clear teaching of the Christian Faith that is needed, and it is this to which men are now turning.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

December 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm - 3 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(CT) Louis Markos—The Dangers of Door-to-Door Evangelism
Posted by Kendall Harmon

Though I respected, and continue to respect, both groups [IVCF and Campus Crusade] equally, I eventually chose IVCF because it put more focus on friendship evangelism and less on door-to-door evangelism. Whereas the door-to-door method follows a sales model, with the evangelist approaching a stranger and then taking him through a carefully scripted gospel presentation (the booklet of choice in my day was “The Four Spiritual Laws”), the friendship model attempts first to cultivate a relationship with a non-believer (who might live in your dorm or attend classes with you) and then introduce the gospel in a more casual and natural way.

At the time, I did not possess any theories about the most effective or most biblical method of evangelism. I gravitated toward friendship evangelism because it better suited my personality and because, well, it “felt” right. Like many other Americans, I’ve always hated the “hard sell” and have quickly (if politely) closed the door or hung up the phone whenever a solicitor has tried to sell me something. If I was going to share the message of grace with my fellow students, I did not want it to sound like a sales pitch. I wanted it to rise up organically from our friendship, or at least from a sense of shared interests and passions.

Jonathan Dodson, founding pastor of City Life church in Austin, Texas, has practiced, and clearly respects, both forms of evangelism. However, in his new book, The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing (a 2015 CT Book Awards winner), he argues that our current social-cultural moment has made the door-to-door model not only less effective, but potentially counter-productive. “Wave after wave of rationalistic, rehearsed (and at times coerced and confrontational) evangelism,” he writes in his preface, “has inoculated, if not antagonized, the broader culture.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriology

December 18, 2014 at 12:05 pm - 2 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

(NPR) ‘Restorative Justice’ A New Approach To Discipline At School (Pt. I)
Posted by Kendall Harmon

This school and the Oakland Unified School District are at the forefront of a new approach to school misconduct and discipline. Instead of suspending or expelling students who get into fights or act out, restorative justice seeks to resolve conflicts and build school community through talking and group dialogue.

Its proponents say it could be an answer to the cycle of disruption and suspension, especially in minority communities where expulsion rates are higher than in predominantly white schools.

Oakland Unified, one of California's largest districts, has been a national leader in expanding restorative justice. The district is one-third African-American and more than 70 percent low-income. The program was expanded after a federal civil rights agreement in 2012 to reduce school discipline inequity for African-American students.

At Edna Brewer Middle School, the fact that students are taking the lead — that so many want to be part of this effort — shows that it's starting to take root.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationPsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

December 18, 2014 at 11:09 am - 0 comments - [link] [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]