GAFCON Chairman’s Pentecost Letter 2015

Posted by The_Elves

‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever, - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.’
John 14:16,17
My dear brothers and sisters,

Grace and peace to you at Pentecost as we rejoice in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God.

This is my first pastoral letter since the meeting of the GAFCON Primates Council last month and I continue to thank God for the gracious leading and empowering of the Holy Spirit. We reaffirmed our commitment to see biblical truth restored to the heart of the life of the Communion and agreed a range of measures to develop our work with communications and theological education being given priority. All this we seek to do in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.

One of the great lessons of the East African Revival was that a genuine movement of the Spirit will impress on our hearts that the Scriptures really are the inspired and authoritative Word of God. We cannot separate the Spirit from the Spirit-inspired Scriptures. The gift of the Holy Spirit is given to enable Christians to grow in biblical holiness and to equip them with gifts to build up the church in a hostile world. It is therefore a tragedy when Christian leaders whose minds have been captured by the spirit of the age commend the values of the world to the Church and claim they are led by the Spirit of God.

This is the challenge we face. On the day of Pentecost, Peter’s preaching makes clear that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to those who repent, but the continuing crisis of the Anglican Communion has come about through a failure to call to repentance those who are systematically grieving the Holy Spirit by claiming that what Scripture calls sexual immorality is in fact new truth revealed by the Spirit.

Since GAFCON began in 2008 with our historic gathering in Jerusalem, the place of Pentecost, I have been convinced that we are caught up in a transforming movement of the Spirit of God. Despite our lack of institutional resources, this movement has grown and the Holy Spirit is using us to gather the Anglican Communion in a unique and unprecedented way...

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & PrimatesGAFCON II 2013

5 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 4:37 pm

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Bishop of Province of S America Reassures SC Diocese that It’s Part of Anglican Communion

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Most Rev. Hector “Tito” Zavala, Bishop of Chile and Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Province of South America, made his comments in clear English during a meeting at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, Charleston, May 20. He said that, despite the Diocese’s separation from the Episcopal Church in 2012, the Diocese continues to be recognized as Anglicans by the majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

“I'm here with you with the consent of the Archbishop of Canterbury," said Bishop Zavala. He told those gathered that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was with the Global South Primates "Steering Committee" in a meeting in Cairo, Egypt in 2014 when "we decided to establish a Primatial Oversight Council to provide pastoral and primatial oversight to some dioceses in order to keep them within the Communion" said Bishop Zavala.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican IdentityGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaChile* South Carolina* Theology

15 Comments Posted May 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm

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Recent Key Entries

Posted by The_Elves

This post is 'STICKY' - new posts are below.

Here are the links to posts that have been recently featured at the top of the blog or on topical issues.

Top of the pile
+ South Carolina: Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala Meets with South Carolina Diocesan Council (May 22, 2015)
+ Episcopal Church Polity: ACI: Misrepresenting ACI’s Concerns About The Constitutionality of [New] Liturgical Material (Apr 21, 2015)
+ Episcopal Church Polity: [ACI] The Episcopal Church and the New Episcopal Church (Apr 20, 2015)
+ Anglican Communion: [Andrew Symes] on Shared Conversations: “Not enough conservatives; theology too liberal” (May 4, 2015)
+ Anglican Communion: Martin Davie: Grace and Disagreement - [Justin Welby’s Shared Conversations on Sexual Immorality] (May 1, 2015)
+ Episcopal Church Polity: [ACI] What Then Shall We Do? A Note on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church (April 30, 2015)

Anglican Communion
[Andrew Symes] on Shared Conversations: “Not enough conservatives; theology too liberal” (May 4, 2015)
Martin Davie: Grace and Disagreement - [Justin Welby’s Shared Conversations on Sexual Immorality] (May 1, 2015)
[Andrew Symes] Shared Conversations begin; an evangelical Bishop steps back (April 29, 2015)
[Bishop Bill Atwood] Some Commentary on the GAFCON Communique (April 29, 2015)
[Cranmer] Westminster Abbey acknowledges Mohammed in succession of prophets (April 28, 2015)
[George Conger] Border-crossing charges filed against British Bishop (Apr 27, 2015)
Bishop John Ellison Interviewed in 2009 and 2010 (Apr 24, 2015)
Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Anglican cathedral in Cairo (Apr 23, 2015)
(AM) James Paice—Anglican unity and diversity: centrifugal or centripetal? (Apr 23, 2015)
Anglican Unscripted Episode 173 - GAFCON in the News (Apr 23, 2015)
A BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme on the Gafcon Primates Council meeting w/ Archbp Peter Jensen (Apr 21, 2015)
ATV Interviews Archbishop Jensen (Apr 20, 2015)
GAFCON Primates Communique (Apr 17, 2015)
Andrew Symes: Sexuality is irrelevant to Christian witness, says Archbishop (Apr 08, 2015)
Anglican Unscripted 171: The End of the ACC? (Apr 8, 2015)
Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon: The Instruments of Unity and the Way Forward [+Transcript] (Apr 06, 2015)
The GAFCON Chairman’s Easter Pastoral Letter (April 6, 2015)
Nigerian bishop to be the Anglican Communion’s next Secretary General (April 2, 2015)

Episcopal Church Polity
[ACI] What Then Shall We Do? A Note on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church, (April 30, 2015)
AS Haley: When Is a Church Not a Church? When It’s a Debt Collector (April 29, 2015)
ACI: Misrepresenting ACI’s Concerns About The Constitutionality of [New] Liturgical Material (Apr 21, 2015)
[ACI] The Episcopal Church and the New Episcopal Church (Apr 20, 2015)
Episcopal Clergy: Is This Any Longer a Church One Wants To Join? (March 24, 2015)
A.S. Haley—Annual Litigation Survey for the Episcopal Church (USA) 2015 (Feb 24, 2015)

South Carolina
Leaders from the Diocese of South Carolina and ACNA Meet at St. Christopher (April 30, 2015 )
(Diocese of South Carolina) Motion for Rehearing Denied; Ruling Not Based on Merits of Case (April 30, 2015)
Canon Jim Lewis—A South Carolina Legal Update as Supreme Court to hear the case (Apr 16, 2015)
South Carolina Supreme Court to Hear Appeal of Diocese of SC decision by new TEC Diocese (Apr 16, 2015)
A S Haley—Federal Appeals Court Returns Trademark Action to South Carolina District Court (April 1, 2015)
A Breath of Fresh Air; 224th South Carolina Diocesan Convention Emphasizes Moving Forward (March 23, 2015)
Bishop Lawrence Mark Lawrence’s Address to the 224th Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina (March 14, 2015)

US
Al Mohler: Supreme Court Argument on Same-Sex Marriage Puts Religious Liberty in Jeopardy (April 29, 2015)
[Canon Phil Ashey] Article 19: As the Church Hath Erred (Apr 25, 2015)
The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming A Shared Witness (Apr 24, 2015)
Robin Jordan—ACNA: a Church for All Conservative North American Anglicans? (Apr 24, 2015)
ACNA’s Bill Atwood—Being Gospel People (Apr 20, 2015)

UK
[Andrew Symes] Shared Conversations begin; an evangelical Bishop steps back (April 29, 2015)
(Ch Times) Bishop Broadbent rounds on the critics of Reform and Renewal (Apr 21, 2015)
(Church Times) Alister McGrath—Above all the church needs her clergy to be theologians (Apr 19, 2015)

Churchwide
([L] Times Leader) Ethiopian Christians are the latest victims of an expanding reign of terror (Apr 20, 2015)
(Lent and Beyond) A Compilation of 70 Favorite Easter and Eastertide Hymns (Apr 19, 2015)
Kendall Harmon—The Compelling Verbs of Easter (Apr 07, 2015)
One Way Out of the Cul de Sac - Bishop Mark Lawrence offers more Thoughts for Easter (Apr 07, 2015)
An Easter Message from South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence (Apr 06, 2015)
The Passion of Jesus 2015 (April 5)

T19 Login problems solved (March 31, 2015)

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* AdminFeatured (Sticky)

2 Comments Posted April 28, 2015 at 7:35 pm

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[George Conger] Border-crossing charges filed against British Bishop

Posted by The_Elves

This post is 'STICKY' - new posts are below.

See also Bishop John Ellison Interviewed in 2009 and 2010
The Bishop of Salisbury has initiated a complaint under the Clergy Discipline Measure against the Hon. Assistant Bishop of Winchester, the Rt. Rev. John Ellison, for violating ecclesiastical law.

Bishop Ellison, the former Bishop of Paraguay, is alleged to have exercised episcopal jurisdiction over a church within the geographic boundaries of the Diocese of Salisbury without the permission of the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Holtam when he participated in a service of Thanksgiving last year at Christ Church Salisbury -- a congregation of the Anglican Mission in England.

In an interview broadcast last week with Anglican TV, the former Archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Peter Jensen confirmed “the Bishop of Salisbury has delivered a disciplinary note to Bishop John Ellison” and charged him with violating the ecclesiastical boundaries of his diocese.

In their communique released at the close of their London meeting on 18 April 2015 the GAFCON primates gave Bishop Ellison their full backing, denouncing the “unjust and uncharitable charges brought against him by the Bishop of Salisbury.”

Read it all. For more background about the controversial Bishop of Salisbury and the way the CofE House of Bishops changed the rules on divorce to enable him to be appointed see:
Sunday Telegraph: Divorced bishops to be permitted for first time by Church of England, June 6, 2010
Pageantmaster—Comments on the Southwark Bishop Candidates, July 6, 2010
‘Rising star’ made Bishop of Salisbury, April 12, 2011
John Richardson—Bishops married to divorcees ‘pose serious challenge to traditionalist Anglicans,’ April 13, 2011
([London] Times) Bishop of Salisbury Openly Supports Same Sex Marriage, February 3, 2012
The Bishop of Salisbury—Marriage and same-sex relationships, February 24, 2012
Peter Ould responds to the Bishop of Salisbury—Nick Holtam’s Case for Polygamy, May 30, 2013
Bishop Holtam of Salisbury Congratulates and Prays for Same-Sex Couples Getting Married, March 29, 2014

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby

13 Comments Posted April 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm

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(Bloomberg) New Survey From the Fed Shows Exactly Wht they are in No Rush to Raise

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Federal Reserve's report on the economic well-being of U.S. households is out, and it contains one very interesting finding: A decent share of Americans want to work longer hours even without a raise.

The Fed asked non-self-employed workers whether they'd prefer to work more, less, or the same amount that they now work if their hourly wage was unchanged. The goal of the question was to help gauge the amount of underemployment in the economy, according to the report.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they'd prefer to work more hours at their current wage. Among those who work part time, the share is even higher at 49 percent. The results might help Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues connect the dots in a labor market that's still flashing mixed signals.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal Reserve* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 8:00 am

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(NYT The Well) Anxious Students Strain College Mental Health Centers

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One morning recently, a dozen college students stepped out of the bright sunshine into a dimly lit room at the counseling center here at the University of Central Florida. They appeared to have little in common: undergraduates in flip-flops and nose rings, graduate students in interview-ready attire.

But all were drawn to this drop-in workshop: “Anxiety 101.”

As they sat in a circle, a therapist, Nicole Archer, asked: “When you’re anxious, how does it feel?”

“I have a faster heart rate,” whispered one young woman. “I feel panicky,” said another. Sweating. Ragged breathing. Insomnia....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenDrugs/Drug AddictionEducationHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyPsychologyYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal Finance* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 7:00 am

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(Gallup) Americans now more Likey to find a Variety of Immoral practices acceptable

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Key trends in Americans' views of the moral acceptability of certain issues and behaviors include the following:
--The substantial increase in Americans' views that gay and lesbian relations are morally acceptable coincide with a record-high level of support for same-sex marriage and views that being gay or lesbian is something a person is born with, rather than due to one's upbringing or environment.
--The public is now more accepting of sexual relations outside of marriage in general than at any point in the history of tracking these measures, including a 16-percentage-point increase in those saying that having a baby outside of marriage is morally acceptable, and a 15-point increase in the acceptability of sex between an unmarried man and woman. Clear majorities of Americans now say both are acceptable.
--Acceptance of divorce and human embryo medical research are also up 12 points each since 2001 and 2002, respectively.
--Polygamy and cloning humans have also seen significant upshifts in moral acceptability -- but even with these increases, the public largely perceives them as morally wrong, with only 16% and 15% of Americans, respectively, considering them morally acceptable.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & PartnershipsSociology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 6:15 am

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(FT) More than half world’s countries now producing jihadis

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than half of the world’s countries are now producing jihadis to fill the ranks of violent Sunni terrorist organisations in the Middle East, according to a UN report.

The al-Qaeda network and its schismatic rival, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) have seen more than 25,000 mujahideen join them in recent years, it states, creating an “unprecedented” threat to national and international security in both the “immediate and long-term” that most governments have failed to grasp the significance of so far.

The report — prepared by the UN Security Council’s special permanent committee for monitoring violent Islamism — amounts to one of the most bleak and comprehensive assessments of the global foreign fighter phenomenon compiled yet. Its findings are based on “robust and detailed” evidence from 27 intelligence and security services spread across UN member states, its authors state.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & CultureTeens / YouthViolenceYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 6:00 am

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(Onion) Parents Clinging To Lone Religious Element Of Daughter’s Wedding Ceremony

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all. LOL.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* General InterestHumor / Trivia

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 5:45 am

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For original material from Titusonenine (such as articles and commentary by Dr. Harmon) permission to copy and distribute free of charge is granted, provided this notice, the logo, and the web site address are visible on all copies. For permission for use in for-profit publications, please email KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com


([London] Times)  Sepp Blatter must step down and open the way for sweeping changes at Fifa

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The FBI director, James Comey, commenting on the arrests in Zurich yesterday of senior Fifa officials, identified rampant, systemic and deep-rooted corruption in the federation. “Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks and bribes became a way of doing business at Fifa,” he said. The raids by both the American and Swiss authorities were cynically welcomed by Mr Blatter’s team as a sign that it was cleaning up its act.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, as our sister paper The Sunday Times has diligently exposed, was secured by the rigging and purchase of votes. Despite clear evidence of wrongdoing, Qatar has held on to the cup. An investigation by Fifa’s ethics committee, a body created by Mr Blatter to soothe the many doubts about federation practices, was not published in full to spare the leadership embarrassment. On an almost daily basis, the absurdity of Qatar hosting the cup becomes apparent, from its treatment of construction workers to the extraordinary decision to switch the games to the winter in the midst of the European club season.

The Blatter years have been distinguished by a Machiavellian manipulation of the executive committee and of the broader football voting community.

Read it all (requires subscription) [my emphasis].


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(BBC) The challenges ahead for Nigeria’s incoming President Muhammadu Buhari

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Buhari's to-do list is indeed a long one.

Earlier this month, his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, said that 110 million out of Nigeria's population of 170 million were living in "extreme poverty" while the largest chunk of the nation's wealth was going into the pockets of a small percentage of the population.

This situation has been brought about by the mindless corruption of the past six years, mainly fuelled by a cabal in the oil and gas industry.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/Fire* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeEnergy, Natural ResourcesPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 5:15 am

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John Calvin on John 15:1-8 for his Feast Day

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is scarcely any one who is ashamed to acknowledge that every thing good which he possesses comes from God; but, after making this acknowledgment, they imagine that universal grace has been given to them, as if it had been implanted in them by nature. But Christ dwells principally on this, that the vital sap — that is, all life and strength — proceeds from himself alone. Hence it follows, that the nature of man is unfruitful and destitute of everything good; because no man has the nature of a vine, till he be implanted in him. But this is given to the elect alone by special grace. So then, the Father is the first Author of all blessings, who plants us with his hand; but the commencement of life is in Christ, since we begin to take root in him. When he calls himself the true vine the meaning is, I am truly the vine, and therefore men toil to no purpose in seeking strength anywhere else, for from none will useful fruit proceed but from the branches which shall be produced by me.

--Commentary on John, Volume II

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 5:00 am

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of John Calvin

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sovereign and holy God, who didst bring John Calvin from a study of legal systems to understand the godliness of thy divine laws as revealed in Scripture: Fill us with a like zeal to teach and preach thy Word, that the whole world may come to know thy Son Jesus Christ, the true Word and Wisdom; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, ever one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 4:40 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from John Calvin

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord, heavenly Father, in whom is the fullness of light and wisdom: Enlighten our minds by thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive thy Word with reverence and humility, without which no man can understand thy truth; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

--John Calvin (1509-1564)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted May 28, 2015 at 4:20 am

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From the Morning Scripture Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.

--Luke 16:1-9

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(NYT) FIFA Inquiry Yields Indictments; U.S. Officials Vow to Pursue More

Posted by Kendall Harmon

United States law enforcement officials declared in forceful terms on Wednesday that their broad investigation of FIFA had only begun and pledged to rid the international soccer organization of systemic corruption.

The Justice Department, F.B.I. and I.R.S. described soccer’s governing body in terms normally reserved for Mafia families and drug cartels, saying that top officials treated FIFA business decisions as chits to be traded for personal wealth. One soccer official took in more than $10 million in bribes, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said.

The schemes involving the fraud included the selection of South Africa as the host of the 2010 World Cup; the 2011 FIFA presidential elections; and several sports-marketing deals

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesSports* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 4:58 pm

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(SP) Saskatoon cathedral to ring bells 1,017 times for missing and murdered women

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The chimes atop St. John's Cathedral in Saskatoon will ring out this week in honour of Canada's missing and murdered aboriginal women.

As part of national initiative by the Anglican Church of Canada, the bells in Saskatoon will ring 1,017 times — one chime for each aboriginal women and girls murdered between 1980 and 2012, according to a press release by the church.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureWomen* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 4:08 pm

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(CT) Ed Stetzer: Australian Christianity: An Interview with the Australian Bible Society

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What should Christians be doing to be more effective at spreading the good news. Is church planting a key tool?

ES: Church planting is certainly a key tool. However, it is not the only tool. But, let’s start there.

Most churches are plateaued or declining as we regularly hear from the National Church Life Survey. The fact is that most of those churches do not want to make the necessary changes to grow again. Thus, new churches are needed.

That’s a spiritual truth, but also a sociological one. New expressions grow faster than old.

And, Australia needs many more new churches—new communities of faith. Even if you are the city of churches, Adelaide has lots of lovely buildings, but needs many more vibrant congregations.

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Bishopscourt, Newcastle sold by Anglican Diocese

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The 4,130 square metre Brown Street property housed the city’s successive Anglican bishops until current bishop Greg Thompson chose to reside elsewhere.

The seven bedroom, four bathroom 1929 Bishopscourt is not heritage listed but parts of its grounds are.

Last year, the Anglican Synod gave the greenlight for the Newcastle sale to be considered. At the time Bishop Greg Thompson asked the Synod to consider “the economics of having this property, the suitability of it as the home of the Bishop and family, and the historic sentiment of previous bishops who lived within it.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryStewardship* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate Market* International News & CommentaryAustralia / NZ* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm

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(RNS) TV and Internet? Meh. What Pope Francis really misses are pizza outings.

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Francis told an Argentine newspaper that he never watches TV or logs on to the Internet. Perhaps not surprisingly, he sleeps well.

Speaking to the newspaper La Voz Del Pueblo, the pope reflected on the little over two years since he was thrust into the global limelight.

He said the swift transition from being archbishop of Buenos Aires to leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was somewhat of a shock.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 12:40 pm

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(AP via local paper) High-cost, skimpy health insurance next big campaign issue for Democrats

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A different health care issue has emerged for Democrats, in sync with the party’s pitch to workers and middle-class voters ahead of next year’s elections.

It’s not the uninsured, but rather the problem of high out-of-pocket costs for people already covered.

Democrats call it “underinsurance.”

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform DebateLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinancePolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted May 27, 2015 at 11:28 am

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(TGC) Garrett Kell—The Pattern Among Fallen Pastors

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During my time in seminary I took a leadership course taught by the late, great Howard Hendricks. As we studied the life of David, Hendricks shared a study he conducted with a group of men in full-time ministry who had fallen into a morally disqualifying sin.

At the time, I had only been a Christian for a few years, but unfortunately the subject was all too relevant. During my early days I had witnessed several men whom I loved and respected fall into serious sinful compromise. At one point in those days, the falls came so frequently I felt as if I was on the spiritual beach of Normandy watching buddies’ lives get blown apart all around me.

The study examined 246 men in full-time ministry who experienced moral failure within a two-year period. As far as Hendricks could discern, these full-time clergy were born-again followers of Jesus. Though they shared a common salvation, these men also shared a common feat of devastation; they had all, within 24 months of each other, been involved in an adulterous relationship.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilySexuality* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 8:00 am

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A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Profile of R. Catholic priest+biker Lou Vallone

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The diocese wasn’t overwhelmingly pleased with it,” he said. “I’m not sure of whether it was a perceptual issue or whether [the bishop] figured he invested 12 years of education in me and didn’t want to lose it too quick in a motorcycle accident. But the diocese has never been completely at ease with my being a biker.”

His parishioners, he says, believe otherwise. The pastor often cites his motorcycle experiences in his homilies, attempting to convey the Scriptures so that they will relate in the modern world.

“I tell them weather reports are very important to motorcycle riders. If you’re going to be out for a couple of hours, you can’t just look out the window. What’s it going to be like two hours from now when I come back? There’s a 50 percent chance of rain, but if it rains, you get 100 percent wet,” he said.

“So the Lord tells you, ‘not the day nor the hour.’ You know, the odds may be 50 percent that you’re not going to get caught doing something wrong. But if you get caught doing something wrong, you’re 100 percent guilty.”

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTravelUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 7:00 am

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(Express) Last resting place of real Alice In Wonderland is to get a makeover

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Alice Hargreaves, nee Liddell died in 1934 aged 82 and is buried at Lyndhurst, Hants.

She inspired the author – a friend of her family – to write about a girl who fell down a rabbit hole to entertain her and her sisters when she was a child.

The book, which has since been published in more than 170 languages and adapted for the big screen, first came about on a rowing trip they all took together.

Ann Rogers, warden at St Michael and All Angels Church where the grave is, said: “We get lots of visitors to see Alice’s grave - every day there’s a family struggling to find it in the church grounds...."

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 6:00 am

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(C of E Blog) Canon Sandra Millar—Dying Matters

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Just over a year ago Lichfield diocese agreed to pilot a fresh approach. 60 people, lay and ordained, gathered one morning in Stafford to think about how to get people talking about death, dying and funerals. They went away to try out a new concept: GraveTalk, with 35 parishes setting up café-style events. Each event involves setting up a space to look like a café, where refreshments are served. People gather in small groups at tables. Conversations are started through a pack of 52 specially written questions covering a wide range of topics, ranging from attitudes to death to personal experiences.

There are no answers, just a space to talk. Facilitators, lay or ordained, make sure the event is running smoothly – and there is always ‘tea and cake’. The trial was researched in partnership with the University of Staffordshire, and the results were overwhelmingly positive: when we make the time and the space, people will talk.

One vicar who piloted GraveTalk said:

“I gave it to them and I went and made coffee while they started discussing it. And I just couldn’t shut them up. When I came to draw them to a conclusion, they wanted to carry on. They thought it was absolutely brilliant. I was really surprised.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEschatology

1 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 5:45 am

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(WSJ) A New Push Ties Cost of Drugs to How Well They Work

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Express Scripts Holding Co. , a large manager of prescription-drug benefits for U.S. employers and insurers, is seeking deals with pharmaceutical companies that would set pricing for some cancer drugs based on how well they work.

The effort is part of a growing push for so-called pay-for-performance deals amid complaints about the rising price of medications, some of which cost more than $100,000 per patient a year.

Some insurers and prescription-benefit managers are pushing back by arguing that they should pay less when drugs don’t work well in certain patients. Drug companies are countering with pricing models of their own, such as offering free doses during a trial period.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 5:30 am

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(NPR) Md. Episcopal Diocese Chooses Replacement For Defrocked Bishop

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After the accident, it was revealed that leaders from the Diocese of Maryland knew Cook had been arrested for a previous DUI before she was hired as the assistant bishop. They failed to pass that information on to the committee that appointed her.

MONTAGNE: Now, the diocese has appointed a new assistant bishop, who is a recovering alcoholic. Chilton Knudsen has made addiction counseling a key part of her ministry. She took a break from a conference on clergy addiction to talk to us and said her selection was no accident.

CHILTON KNUDSEN: Renee, I'm confident that the Diocese of Maryland came looking for me because they know I'm a publicly acknowledged person in recovery. And so as an ordained person and a recovering person, I have a little palette of skills that I think are uniquely helpful in a situation like the diocese of Maryland has now.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingAlcoholism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 5:15 am

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Roman Catholic Church leaders respond to Irish referendum outcome

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said he appreciates how the passing of the marriage referendum leaves gay and lesbian men and women feeling and he paid tribute to the “immense effort” that went in to the referendum campaign.

Speaking to RTE News, the Archbishop said he appreciated the efforts particularly of the No side.

“It was a principled vote. People, I hope, will respect that,” he commented.

He said it was very clear that if the referendum was an affirmation of the views of young people that the Church has “a huge task in front of it” to find the language to be able to talk to and get its message across to young people, not just on this issue but in general.

“I think the Church needs to do a reality check, right across the board, to look at the things it is doing well and to look at the areas that we really have drifted away completely from young people.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 5:00 am

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(W Post) U.S. indicts world soccer officials in alleged $150 million FIFA bribery scandal

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Justice Department unsealed a 47 count indictment early Wednesday charging 14 world soccer figures, including officials of FIFA, with racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud. Four of the accused have already pleaded guilty.

The announcement in a press release followed a round-up of officials of FIFA, the world soccer federation, at a swanky Zurich hotel where they were assembling for an important meeting.

“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesSports* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.EuropeSwitzerland* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 4:40 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Ferguson

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who fillest all things with thy boundless presence, yet makest thy chosen dwelling-place in the soul of man: Come thou, a gracious and willing Guest, and take thine abode in our hearts; that all unholy thoughts and desires within us be cast out, and thy holy presence be to us comfort, light and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 4:20 am

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word; but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.

--2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted May 27, 2015 at 4:01 am

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(BBC) Nigeria’s Boko Haram ‘increases’ suicide attacks

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The UN children's agency says there has been an "alarming" increase in the number of suicide attacks in northern Nigeria, with many of them involving women and children.

There had been 27 attacks so far this year, compared with 26 for the whole of last year, Unicef said in a statement.

Three-quarters of the attacks were carried out by female bombers, some as young as seven, it added.

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram is waging an insurgency in Nigeria.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 5:00 pm

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(WSJ) Criminals Stole Taxpayer Data Via IRS Web Service

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Internal Revenue Service said identity thieves used its online services to obtain prior-year tax return information for about 100,000 U.S. households, a major setback for the agency that is charged with safeguarding taxpayers’ privacy.

The IRS said criminals used stolen Social Security numbers and other specific data acquired from elsewhere to gain unauthorized access to the tax agency accounts. About 100,000 more attempts were unsuccessful, the agency said.

Thieves used the information from prior years’ returns to help them file for fraudulent refunds, the IRS said.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyPersonal FinanceTaxesThe U.S. Government* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

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The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland on the Result of the Irish Vote

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The archbishops and bishops of the Church of Ireland wish to affirm that the people of the Republic of Ireland, in deciding by referendum to alter the State’s legal definition of marriage, have of course acted fully within their rights.

The Church of Ireland, however, defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and the result of this referendum does not alter this.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Ireland* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 3:41 pm

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Statement by Core Issues Trust on the Irish Referendum on Same-Sex Marriage

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Core Issues Trust offers its gratitude to the many thousands of citizens who voted against changing the Irish Constitution to replace marriage as the union between one man and one woman for life, with a new concept which takes no account of the sex of the marriage partners.

The Irish Government’s poll has enabled simple majoritarianism to usher in a radically new model of marriage based on the lowest possible construct: love while it lasts. Denying that all marriage is thereby redefined, the government has eliminated the very foundation of marriage based on natural male-female complementarity, a complementarity self-evident in human anatomy, physiology (procreative capacity), and even psychology. Now, instead of having sexual unions in which the extremes of each sex are moderated and the gaps filled, we will see the institution of marriage deteriorate even further as the extremes of each sex reshape marriage to be far more accommodating to non-monogamous behaviour and rapid dissolutions. The integrity of the sexes, male and female, will be further dishonoured as people are praised by the state for treating their sex half in relation to their own sex rather than as half of a whole sexual spectrum of male and female, as though two half-males make a whole male or two half-females make a whole female.

In addition, with the elimination of a male-female prerequisite for sexual unions, there no longer remains a logical reason to deny adult-consensual polyamorous unions or even incestuous unions (particularly incestuous unions where procreation is minimized or eliminated). For the limitation of two persons to a sexual union is predicated on the duality of the sexes, male and female; and the principle of embodied otherness upon which incest may be rejected absolutely is discarded in the embrace of the excessive sameness of same-sex sexual unions. The Irish Government in our view has also sacrificed innocent children to the demands of individuals who prioritise their “right” above the right of children to be raised by their natural parents.

We note also that this momentous change has taken place in the vacuum – evident in Irish society and in all our islands and beyond – following the collapse of a faithful Christian witness in Western civilisation: both Catholic and Protestant. Together we have failed to reflect the fruits of repentance and holiness of life in the sanctity of marriage and we are guilty in this fact.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMediaReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 3:15 pm

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Barna—Network, Cable, Streaming: What Americans Are Watching in 2015

Posted by Kendall Harmon

he medium of television is—like newspapers, magazines and books—undergoing massive disruption.

The average number of cable stations Americans receive ballooned from 129 in 2008 to 189 in 2013, an increase of one-third in just five years.(1) During the same five-year period, Netflix introduced subscription-based Internet streaming of both TV shows and movies, a service that has multiplied to include more than 60 million subscribers around the globe.(2)

What effects, if any, have these seismic shifts had on the TV audience? Barna Group surveyed a nationally representative panel of U.S. adults on their viewing habits and preferences.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm

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(Gallup) Americans Greatly Overestimate Percent of Gay, Lesbian Persons in the U.S.

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The American public estimates on average that 23% of Americans are gay or lesbian, little changed from Americans' 25% estimate in 2011, and only slightly higher than separate 2002 estimates of the gay and lesbian population. These estimates are many times higher than the 3.8% of the adult population who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in Gallup Daily tracking in the first four months of this year.

The stability of these estimates over time contrasts with the major shifts in Americans' attitudes about the morality and legality of gay and lesbian relations in the past two decades. Whereas 38% of Americans said gay and lesbian relations were morally acceptable in 2002, that number has risen to 63% today. And while 35% of Americans favored legalized same-sex marriage in 1999, 60% favor it today.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychologySexualitySociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted May 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm

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Economist Don House—Methodist Church is in crisis but hope if+only if its turned around in 15 years

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United Methodist Church has only 15 years to reverse its decline in the United States if it is to have a sustainable future, an economist warned church leaders.

At the same gathering, the church leaders discussed possible missional goals to address that decline and enhance the global denomination’s ministries around the world.

“By 2030, the denomination in the United States will either have found a way to turn around, meaning it is growing, or its turnaround in the United States is not possible,” Donald R. House Sr. told the May 19 combined meeting of the Connectional Table and the General Council on Finance and Administration board. “By 2050, the connection will have collapsed.”

In other words, he predicted that unless things change soon, the denomination in coming decades will not have enough U.S. churches to pay for its connectional structures. Such structures include conferences, bishops, agencies, missions and international disaster response.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the LaityMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 1:00 pm

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(Telegraph) Sacred Mysteries: Christopher Howse on a family on the edge of the Muslim empire

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1967, as part of the Communist campaign to make Albania an “atheist state”, the 400-year-old church at Laç was destroyed with explosives. Until then it had borne an inscription recording its consecration in 1557 by “Giovanni Bruni, Archbishop of Bar”.

Bruni’s extraordinary life (and more extraordinary death) feature in a remarkable new book by Sir Noel Malcolm, the Oxford historian. With unpublished manuscript evidence, it paints a portrait of the Bruni family, before and after the battle of Lepanto in 1571. What distinguishes the book is the way it integrates their tale into the power struggle between Spain and France, Venice and Rome, and, that behemoth of the Levant, the Ottoman Empire, ruled from 1566 to 1574 by Selim II (pictured here). The soldiers, spies and clerics of the Bruni family were among the Agents of Empire of the title. I can’t tell you how good it is, a future classic. My purpose here, though, is not to review the book but to mention a single fascinating chapter.

Giovanni Bruni was an Albanian speaker, born at Ulcinj (now in Montenegro), then part of Venetian Albania. In the little city of Bar, of which he became Archbishop in 1551, there were 18 churches, with another 48 in the rural parts of the diocese, which extended into the regions beyond the coast occupied by the Turks. Among Bruni’s titles was Primate of Serbia. But, if his task was great, his income was pitiful.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEuropeSerbia* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 12:11 pm

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(G+M) George Petrolekas-After Ramadi, Canada should question U.S. strategy to defeat ISIS

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So nine months into this campaign, is the strategy working, and are the losses of cities like Ramadi temporary setbacks – just bricks and mortar and not symbolic of anything, to paraphrase General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent congressional trestimony?

Clearly, the strategy has severe problems. To have any chance of succeeding in its present form, it must be seriously re-tuned or altered.

The first is that the air campaign is proving unable to contain IS. It has had successes, most notably in areas like Kobani or around Mosul, where it has degraded IS at the fringes. On the one hand, where it has utterly rooted out IS, as in Kobani, it is difficult to claim a victory after four months of bombing left the city in ruins and likely in need of billions of dollars to repair. On the other hand, while the IS advance has been stopped in places, not enough air power is available to gut the economic wherewithal of IS. The recent success in Ramadi demonstrates that IS can move where air power is not. The coalition’s undisputed technical superiority does not translate into numerical sufficiency.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.CanadaMiddle EastIraq* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 11:26 am

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In Charleston, SC, area, Veterans, families pack Patriots Point to mark Memorial Day

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One by one, they stood. Two or three veterans from World War II, 10 or so who served in the Korean War, even more from Vietnam and then a large number of servicemen and women who served in Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Several hundred people – including numerous veterans and active-duty military – gathered inside a hangar on the USS Yorktown Monday at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum to honor those who have fought or died while serving in the United States’ armed forces.

The Memorial Day event recognized the sacrifices soldiers and their families have made with a series of videos, prayers, a wreath-casting ceremony and a performance by the Eyrie Overtones handbell choir from Northside Christian School in North Charleston.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed Forces* South Carolina

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 8:00 am

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(CC) Samuel Wells—Desired Things

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Be your own size. There are 300 billion stars in our own galaxy and a hundred billion galaxies in the universe. Before you tell everyone not to start the party until you arrive, take in the enormity of that reality and your tiniest part in it. Before you say to someone, “Do you know who I am?” ask yourself, in light of the scale of the universe and its venerable age, “Who exactly am I?” Look at the earth, which you share with so many living beings. Many of the tiny ones scurry and multiply in hidden ways that make it possible for you to breathe, heal, digest, and sleep. Realize how you take for granted that the sun will rise tomorrow. If it wasn’t so, what could you do about it? Your life rests in an ecology that you will never live long enough to comprehend, much less thank.

Be gentle. Remember the physician’s mantra, “First, do no harm.” In the words of William Blake, “We are put on earth a little space, / That we may learn to bear the beams of love.” There is so much that we’ve never even paused to imagine. When we look to right and left, we see others who know as little as we do. People tend to do the best they can with what they have and what they know. A little compassion, a little generosity of heart helps us look to our fellow creatures with gentleness rather than bitterness, anger, or condemnation. How often have you commented on what another person said or did with horror, fury, or scorn, only to find yourself, ten years or ten minutes later, saying or doing the same thing? Be sparing with your scorn, lest it rebound on you and make you lamentable in your own sight.

Be a person of praise and blessing.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 7:14 am

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How ISIS’ Win in Ramadi Reveals New Weapons, Tactical Sophistication and Prowess

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In late April, a commander for Islamic State said his forces were ready to launch an offensive to take Ramadi, and the group called for fighters to redeploy to Iraq from Syria.

Three weeks later, the jihadist group seized the capital of Anbar province after relentless waves of suicide bombings.

U.S. defense chief Ash Carter has blamed Ramadi’s fall mainly on Iraqi forces’ lack of will to fight. But Islamic State’s battlefield performance suggests the terrorist group’s tactical sophistication is growing—a development the Iraqis and the U.S.-led coalition have so far failed to counter, said Iraqi officials, former U.S. officials and military analysts studying the organization.

An examination of how Ramadi fell indicates that Islamic State commanders executed a complex battle plan that outwitted a greater force of Iraqi troops as well as the much-lauded, U.S.-trained special-operations force known as the Golden Division, which had been fighting for months to defend the city.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & TechnologyViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraq* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 6:01 am

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Kendall Harmon’s Sermon for Pentecost 2015

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Filed under: * By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 5:00 am

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Augustine of Canterbury

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy name for thy servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistorySpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 4:41 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from George Appleton

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Jesus Christ, who art the same yesterday, today and forever: Pour thy Spirit upon the Church that it may preach thee anew to each succeeding generation. Grant that it may interpret the eternal gospel in terms relevant to the life of each new age, and as the fulfillment of the highest hopes and the deepest needs of every nation; so that at all times and in all places men may see in thee their Lord and Saviour.



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

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 4:19 am

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O LORD, I love the habitation of thy house, and the place where thy glory dwells.

--Psalm 26:8

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted May 26, 2015 at 4:00 am

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(Michael Yon) Email from a US War Hero and former POW in Vietnam

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In many cases skill identifiers or other terms are used to describe the soldiers of today. My mind always goes back to a bus station in Cincinnati Ohio in the dark of the night after I had been shown the door by my Christian boarding school in Kentucky. Thrown out for being too “California” in my senior year I figured my life was over before really beginning. Being on the honor roll could not keep you in school if the girls across campus liked you because that was verboten and you had been sent by Satan to tempt them. Late that night the dregs of the earth came out of their lairs with ‘Where you heading boy?’ Then a clear voice of authority; “Leave him alone or I will stomp you into the cement with these jump boots.”

I asked who and what he was and the paratrooper from Fort Campbell Kentucky said simply “I am a soldier, come with me.” He bought me a grilled cheese and a cup of hot chocolate and an hour or so later he put me on a bus to Lima Ohio where I had family because the good religious folk at Mount Carmel High School saw no need to send me home to California. I told the airborne corporal he might see me again because I had decided in that bus station to become this thing called “soldier.”

I finally got back to California and my dad put his foot down and made my mom agree to sign for me to join the U.S. Army to be a soldier. Of course, I did not tell my mother my goal was to be a soldier like the bus station corporal but told her I would be a nuclear engineer or chaplain’s assistant....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed ForcesTeens / Youth* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 4:40 pm

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A Litany from The Book of Worship for United States Forces (1974)

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Leader: Let us give thanks to God for the land of our birth with all its chartered liberties. For all the wonder of our country’s story:

PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.

Leader: For leaders in nation and state, and for those who in days past and in these present times have labored for the commonwealth:

PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.

Leader: For those who in all times and places have been true and brave, and in the world’s common ways have lived upright lives and ministered to their fellows:

PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.

Leader: For those who served their country in its hour of need, and especially for those who gave even their lives in that service:

PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.

Leader: O almighty God and most merciful Father, as we remember these your servants, remembering with gratitude their courage and strength, we hold before you those who mourn them. Look upon your bereaved servants with your mercy. As this day brings them memories of those they have lost awhile, may it also bring your consolation and the assurance that their loved ones are alive now and forever in your living presence.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed Forces

0 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 4:16 pm

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In Pictures: Memorial Day 2015

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Take a look at all 30 of them.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMilitary / Armed Forces* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 3:43 pm

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O CAPTAIN! my Captain!

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

--Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed ForcesPoetry & Literature

0 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 2:46 pm

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Music For Memorial Day (II): If You’re Reading This by Tim McGraw

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed ForcesMusic

0 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 2:14 pm

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Facts About the National Cemetery Administration

Posted by Kendall Harmon

• NCA currently maintains approximately 3.4 million gravesites at 131 national cemeteries, one national Veterans’ burial ground and 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

• Approximately 473,000 full-casket gravesites, 124,000 in-ground gravesites for cremated remains, and 154,000 columbarium niches are available in already developed acreage in our 131 national cemeteries.

• There are approximately 20,500 acres within established installations in NCA. Nearly 57 percent are undeveloped and – along with available gravesites in developed acreage – have the potential to provide approximately 6.3 million gravesites.

• Of the 131 national cemeteries, 73 are open to all interments; 17 can accommodate cremated remains and the remains of family members for interment in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member; and 41 will perform only interments of family members in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member.
Yellowstone National Cemetery, NCA’s newest National Veterans Burial Ground serving Veterans in rural Montana, is open also to all interments.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed Forces* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. Government

0 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 1:04 pm

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Patterns

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I walk down the garden-paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden-paths.
My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover.
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon--
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
"Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se'nnight."
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
"Any answer, Madam," said my footman.
"No," I told him.
"See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer."
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, "It shall be as you have said."
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

--Amy Lowell (1874--1925)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed ForcesPoetry & Literature

1 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 12:34 pm

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A Movie Scene for Memorial Day 2015 from Mr. Holland’s Opus

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyMilitary / Armed ForcesPoetry & LiteratureYoung Adults

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Music For Memorial Day (I): American Soldier by Toby Keith

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed ForcesMusic

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We Here Highly Resolve

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”

--Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed Forces* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer on June 6, 1944

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“My Fellow Americans:

“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.&

“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

“And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

“Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

“Thy will be done, Almighty God.

“Amen.”

You can listen to the actual audio if you want here and today of all days is the day to do that. Also, there is more on background and another audio link there.--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsSpirituality/Prayer* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 10:00 am

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In Flanders Fields

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: "I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done." The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: "The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene." Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed ForcesPoetry & Literature* International News & CommentaryCanada

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A Prayer for Memorial Day

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give thee thanks for all thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence; and give us such a lively sense of thy righteous will, that the work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchMilitary / Armed Forces

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(Star-Tribune) Photo of Eagle on Fort Snelling gravestone touches hearts, goes viral

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Talk to anyone in my business and they'll all say the same thing: No matter how long you write stories and put them in the newspaper, you are never really sure which ones are going to strike a nerve.

What you think might be a Pulitzer-quality epic might draw only a nice call from Mom, while a simple tale tossed off on deadline causes an uproar, or an avalanche of praise. One legendary former investigative reporter at this paper wrote scores of stories that changed laws and saved lives, yet never did he get more mail than when he wrote about burying his cat.

And so it is with my June column on the amateur photographer, the widow and the eagle on a gravestone.

Read it all and do not miss the picture.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyMilitary / Armed Forces* General InterestAnimalsPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 8:18 am

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Happy Memorial Day 2015 to all Blog Readers

Posted by Kendall Harmon




Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchHistoryMilitary / Armed Forces* General InterestPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* South Carolina

2 Comments Posted May 25, 2015 at 7:56 am

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bede the Venerable

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.



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From the Morning Scripture Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know thy ways, O Lord;
teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me,
for thou art the God of my salvation;
for thee I wait all the day long.

--Psalm 25:1-4

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Pope Francis’ homily on Pentecost Sunday 2015

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth. The Psalmist says: “You send forth your Spirit… and you renew the face of the earth” (Ps 103:30). The account of the birth of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles is significantly linked to this Psalm, which is a great hymn of praise to God the Creator. The Holy Spirit whom Christ sent from the Father, and the Creator Spirit who gives life to all things, are one and the same. Respect for creation, then, is a requirement of our faith: the “garden” in which we live is not entrusted to us to be exploited, but rather to be cultivated and tended with respect (cf. Gen 2:15). Yet this is possible only if Adam – the man formed from the earth – allows himself in turn to be renewed by the Holy Spirit, only if he allows himself to be re-formed by the Father on the model of Christ, the new Adam. In this way, renewed by the Spirit of God, we will indeed be able to experience the freedom of the sons and daughters, in harmony with all creation. In every creature we will be able to see reflected the glory of the Creator, as another Psalm says: “How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth!” (Ps 8:2, 10).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

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(Looking Back) The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2010 Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Renewal in the Spirit

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion

1.

‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak’ (Acts 2.4). At Pentecost, we celebrate the gift God gives us of being able to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ in the various languages of the whole human world. The Gospel is not the property of any one group, any one culture or history, but is what God intends for the salvation of all who will listen and respond.

St Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is also what God gives us so that we can call God ‘Abba, Father’ (Rom. 8.15, Gal. 4.6). The Spirit is given not only so that we can speak to the world about God but so that we can speak to God in the words of his own beloved Son. The Good News we share is not just a story about Jesus but the possibility of living in and through the life of Jesus and praying his prayer to the Father.

And so the Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of ‘communion’ or fellowship (II Cor. 13.13). The Spirit allows us to recognise each other as part of the Body of Christ because we can hear in each other the voice of Jesus praying to the Father. We know, in the Spirit, that we who are baptised into Jesus Christ share one life; so that all the diversity of gifting and service in the Church can be seen as the work of one Spirit (I Cor. 12.4). In the Holy Eucharist, this unity in and through the self-offering of Jesus is reaffirmed and renewed as we pray for the Spirit to transform both the bread and wine and ‘ourselves, our souls and bodies’.

When the Church is living by the Spirit, what the world will see is a community of people who joyfully and gratefully hear the prayer of Jesus being offered in each other’s words and lives, and are able to recognise the one Christ working through human diversity. And if the world sees this, the Church is a true sign of hope in a world of bitter conflict and rivalry.

2.

From the very first, as the New Testament makes plain, the Church has experienced division and internal hostilities. From the very first, the Church has had to repent of its failure to live fully in the light and truth of the Spirit. Jesus tells us in St John’s gospel that the Spirit of truth will ‘prove the world wrong’ in respect of sin and righteousness and judgement (Jn 16.8). But if the Spirit is leading us all further into the truth, the Spirit will convict the Church too of its wrongness and lead it into repentance. And if the Church is a community where we serve each other in the name of Christ, it is a community where we can and should call each other to repentance in the name of Christ and his Spirit – not to make the other feel inferior (because we all need to be called to repentance) but to remind them of the glory of Christ’s gift and the promise that we lose sight of when we fail in our common life as a Church.

Our Anglican fellowship continues to experience painful division, and the events of recent months have not brought us nearer to full reconciliation. There are still things being done that the representative bodies of the Communion have repeatedly pleaded should not be done; and this leads to recrimination, confusion and bitterness all round. It is clear that the official bodies of The Episcopal Church have felt in conscience that they cannot go along with what has been asked of them by others, and the consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool on May 15 has been a clear sign of this. And despite attempts to clarify the situation, activity across provincial boundaries still continues – equally dictated by what people have felt they must in conscience do. Some provinces have within them dioceses that are committed to policies that neither the province as a whole nor the Communion has sanctioned. In several places, not only in North America, Anglicans have not hesitated to involve the law courts in settling disputes, often at great expense and at the cost of the Church’s good name.

All are agreed that the disputes arising around these matters threaten to distract us from our main calling as Christ’s Church. The recent Global South encounter in Singapore articulated a strong and welcome plea for the priority of mission in the Communion; and in my own message to that meeting I prayed for a ‘new Pentecost’ for all of us. This is a good season of the year to pray earnestly for renewal in the Spirit, so that we may indeed do what God asks of us and let all people know that new and forgiven life in Christ is possible and that created men and women may by the Spirit’s power be given the amazing liberty to call God ‘Abba, Father!’

It is my own passionate hope that our discussion of the Anglican Covenant in its entirety will help us focus on that priority; the Covenant is nothing if not a tool for mission. I want to stress yet again that the Covenant is not envisaged as an instrument of control. And this is perhaps a good place to clarify that the place given in the final text to the Standing Committee of the Communion introduces no novelty: the Committee is identical to the former Joint Standing Committee, fully answerable in all matters to the ACC and the Primates; nor is there any intention to prevent the Primates in the group from meeting separately. The reference to the Standing Committee reflected widespread unease about leaving certain processes only to the ACC or only to the Primates.

But we are constantly reminded that the priorities of mission are experienced differently in different places, and that trying to communicate the Gospel in the diverse tongues of human beings can itself lead to misunderstandings and failures of communication between Christians. The sobering truth is that often our attempts to share the Gospel effectively in our own setting can create problems for those in other settings.

3.

We are at a point in our common life where broken communications and fragile relationships have created a very mistrustful climate. This is not news. But many have a sense that the current risks are greater than ever. Although attitudes to human sexuality have been the presenting cause, I want to underline the fact that what has precipitated the current problem is not simply this issue but the widespread bewilderment and often hurt in different quarters that we have no way of making decisions together so that we are not compromised or undermined by what others are doing. We have not, in other words, found a way of shaping our consciences and convictions as a worldwide body. We have not fully received the Pentecostal gift of mutual understanding for common mission.

It may be said – quite understandably, in one way – that our societies and their assumptions are so diverse that we shall never be able to do this. Yet we are called to seek for mutual harmony and common purpose, and not to lose heart. If the truth of Christ is indeed ultimately one as we all believe, there should be a path of mutual respect and thankfulness that will hold us in union and help us grow in that truth.

Yet at the moment we face a dilemma. To maintain outward unity at a formal level while we are convinced that the divisions are not only deep but damaging to our local mission is not a good thing. Neither is it a good thing to break away from each other so dramatically that we no longer see Christ in each other and risk trying to create a church of the ‘perfect’ – people like us. It is significant that there are still very many in The Episcopal Church, bishops, clergy and faithful, who want to be aligned with the Communion’s general commitments and directions, such as those who identify as ‘Communion Partners’, who disagree strongly with recent decisions, yet want to remain in visible fellowship within TEC so far as they can. And, as has often been pointed out, there are things that Anglicans across the world need and want to do together for the care of God’s poor and vulnerable that can and do go on even when division over doctrine or discipline is sharp.

4.

More and more, Anglicans are aware of living through a time of substantial transition, a time when the structures that have served us need reviewing and refreshing, perhaps radical changing, when the voice and witness in the Communion of Christians from the developing world is more articulate and creative than ever, and when the rapidity of social change in ‘developed’ nations leaves even some of the most faithful and traditional Christian communities uncertain where to draw the boundaries in controversial matters – not only sexuality but issues of bioethics, for example, or the complexities of morality in the financial world.

A time of transition, by definition, does not allow quick solutions to such questions, and it is a time when, ideally, we need more than ever to stay in conversation. As I have said many times before, whatever happens to our structures, we still need to preserve both working relationships and places for exchange and discussion. New vehicles for conversations across these boundaries are being developed with much energy.

But some decisions cannot be avoided. We began by thinking about Pentecost and the diverse peoples of the earth finding a common voice, recognising that each was speaking a truth recognised by all. However, when some part of that fellowship speaks in ways that others find hard to recognise, and that point in a significantly different direction from what others are saying, we cannot pretend there is no problem.

And when a province through its formal decision-making bodies or its House of Bishops as a body declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard (as noted in my letter to the Communion last year after the General Convention of TEC) to see how members of that province can be placed in positions where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues, where our partners (as they often say to us) need to know who it is they are talking to, and our internal faith-and-order related groups.

I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members. This is simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as the acceptable limits of diversity in its practice. It does not alter what has been said earlier by the Primates’ Meeting about the nature of the moratoria: the request for restraint does not necessarily imply that the issues involved are of equal weight but recognises that they are ‘central factors placing strains on our common life’, in the words of the Primates in 2007. Particular provinces will be contacted about the outworking of this in the near future.

I am aware that other bodies have responsibilities in questions concerned with faith and order, notably the Primates’ Meeting, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Standing Committee. The latter two are governed by constitutional provisions which cannot be overturned by any one person’s decision alone, and there will have to be further consultation as to how they are affected. I shall be inviting the views of all members of the Primates’ Meeting on the handling of these matters with a view to the agenda of the next scheduled meeting in January 2011.

5.

In our dealings with other Christian communions, we do not seek to deny our diversity; but there is an obvious problem in putting forward representatives of the Communion who are consciously at odds with what the Communion has formally requested or stipulated. This does not seem fair to them or to our partners. In our dealings with each other, we need to be clear that conscientious decisions may be taken in good faith, even for what are held to be good theological or missional reasons, and yet have a cost when they move away from what is recognisable and acceptable within the Communion. Thus – to take a very different kind of example – there have been and there are Anglicans who have a strong conscientious objection to infant baptism. Their views deserve attention, respect and careful study, they should be engaged in serious dialogue – but it would be eccentric to place such people in a position where their view was implicitly acknowledged as one of a range of equally acceptable convictions, all of which could be taken as representatively Anglican.

Yet no-one should be celebrating such public recognition of divisions and everyone should be reflecting on how to rebuild relations and to move towards a more coherent Anglican identity (which does not mean an Anglican identity with no diversity, a point once again well made by the statement from the Singapore meeting). Some complain that we are condemned to endless meetings that achieve nothing. I believe that in fact we have too few meetings that allow proper mutual exploration. It may well be that such encounters need to take place in a completely different atmosphere from the official meetings of the Communion’s representative bodies, and this needs some imaginative thought and planning. Much work is already going into making this more possible.

But if we do conclude that some public marks of ‘distance’, as the Windsor Continuation Group put it, are unavoidable if our Communion bodies are not to be stripped of credibility and effectiveness, the least Christian thing we can do is to think that this absolves us from prayer and care for each other, or continuing efforts to make sense of each other.

We are praying for a new Pentecost for our Communion. That means above all a vast deepening of our capacity to receive the gift of being adopted sons and daughters of the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It means a deepened capacity to speak of Jesus Christ in the language of our context so that we are heard and the Gospel is made compelling and credible. And it also means a deepened capacity to love and nourish each other within Christ’s Body – especially to love and nourish, as well as to challenge, those whom Christ has given us as neighbours with whom we are in deep and painful dispute.

One remarkable symbol of promise for our Communion is the generous gift received by the Diocese of Jerusalem from His Majesty the King of Jordan, who has provided a site on the banks of the Jordan River, at the traditional site of Our Lord’s Baptism, for the construction of an Anglican church. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of blessing the foundation stone of this church and viewing the plans for its design. It will be a worthy witness at this historic site to the Anglican tradition, a sign of real hope for the long-suffering Christians of the region, and something around which the Communion should gather as a focus of common commitment in Christ and his Spirit. I hope that many in the Communion will give generous support to the project.

‘We have the mind of Christ’ says St Paul (I Cor. 2.16); and, as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has recently written, this means that we must have a ‘kenotic’, a self-emptying approach to each other in the Church. May the Spirit create this in us daily and lead us into that wholeness of truth which is only to be found in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus.

I wish you all God’s richest blessing at this season.

+Rowan Cantuar:
Lambeth Palace
Pentecost 2010



Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan WilliamsAnglican Primates* Theology

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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Sunday Worship on T19

Posted by The_Elves



AVAILABLE NOW:

+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 24th
+ The Nature of Christian Service – Bishop Rennis Ponniah


From May 17th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 17th
+ A Bishop Mark Lawrence Sermon on the Ascension of Jesus
+ Sermons from St Helena's Beaufort

From May 10th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 10th
+ Defending the Reconciling Gospel – Bishop Michael Baughen [2 Corinthians 2:1 – 6:18]
+ Do you have to lose your mind to become a Christian? – William Taylor [Acts 26:24-32]
+ The Anglican Book of Common Prayer: What Relevance Does It Have to Today’s Contemporary Worship? John Yates II and John Yates III

From May 3rd
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for May 3rd
+ The Uniqueness of Christ - Andrew Wingfield Digby [Acts 4:5-12 & John 10:11-18]
+ The Place of Unity - Dr Peter Walker
+ Choral Evensong from Exeter Cathedral
+ 3rd Sunday in Easter Confirmation Sermon at Christ St Paul's - Bishop Mark Lawrence
+ My Lord and My God [John 20] - Archbishop Glenn Davies at St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore on April 13th

The previous post, Sunday on T19 is here

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, Worship

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 2:30 pm

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Malcolm Guite—A Sonnet for Pentecost

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all carefully.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 1:10 pm

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Food for Thought for Pentecost 2015 from Lady Culross (c.1578–c.1640)

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Since God has put His work into your weak hands, look not for long ease here: You must feel the full weight of your calling: a weak man with a strong God."
--Lady Culross to John Livingston of the Scottish Covenanters as cited in Ruth Bell Graham, Prodigals and Those Who Love Them: Words of Encouragement for Those Who Wait (Grand Rapdis: Baker, 2008), p.110, and used by yours truly in this morning's Pentecost sermon

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Scotland* TheologyAnthropologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm

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Some Poems for Pentecost 2015 by Francis Hall Ford

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Among the many friends I have had who have now entered the larger life, several were poets. They were more than fashioners of words – they were first the hearers of words. Francis Hall Ford was a parishioner in St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Mission in Chattanooga, which I had a small share in founding. She and her family had years before entered Orthodoxy through the Greek Church. In later years she split her time between little St. Tikhon’s in Chattanooga and St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas where her daughter, Katie, now lives. Katie has been kind enough to share some of her mother’s poetry. With her permission I share it here. As for Frances (whom I knew better by her Orthodox name, Kassiane) may her memory be eternal!

May we ourselves hear what the poets hear, and with such sounds echo the treasure of God in our world. A good feast to you.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* Culture-WatchPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 7:00 am

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Prayer for Pentecost (III)

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Living God,
you breathe in us
on all that is inadequate and fragile.

You make living water spring even
from our hurts themselves. And
through you, the valley of tears
becomes a place of wellsprings.

So, in an inner life
with neither beginning nor end,
your continual presence
makes new freshenss break through

--Brother Roger of Taizé (1915-2005) as cited in Prayers Encircling the World: An International Anthology (London: SPCK, 1998), page 71

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

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 6:15 am

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John Calvin on Pentecost

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[At Pentecost Peter] intendeth to prove...that the Church can be repaired by no other means, saving only by the giving of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, forasmuch as they did all hope that the restoring drew near, he accuseth them of sluggishness, because they do not once think upon the way and means thereof. And when the prophet saith, “I will pour out,” it is, without all question, that he meant by this word to note the great abundance of the Spirit....when God will briefly promise salvation to his people, he affirmeth that he will give them his Spirit. Hereupon it followeth that we can obtain no good things until we have the Spirit given us.

--Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 6:00 am

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John Stott on the Spirit-Filled Christian for Pentecost 2015

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our attitude to our fallen nature should be one of ruthless repudiation. For ‘those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires’ (Gal. 5:24). That is, we have taken this evil, slimy, slippery thing called ‘the flesh’ and nailed it to the cross. This was our initial repentance. Crucifixion is dramatic imagery for our uncompromising rejection of all known evil. Crucifixion does not lead to a quick or easy death; it is an execution of lingering pain. Yet it is decisive; there is no possibility of escaping from it.

Our attitude to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is to be one of unconditional surrender. Paul uses several expressions for this. We are to ‘live by the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:16, 18. 25). That is, we are to allow him his rightful sovereignty over us, and follow his righteous promptings.

Thus both our repudiation of the flesh and our surrender to the Spirit need to be repeated daily, however decisive our original repudiation and surrender may have been. In Jesus’ words, we are to ‘take up (our) cross daily’ and follow him (Lk 9:23). We are also to go on being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), as we open our personality to him daily. Both our repudiation and our surrender are also to be worked out in disciplined habits of life. It is those who ‘sow to the Spirit’ (Gal. 6:8) who reap the fruit of the Spirit. And to ‘sow to the Spirit’ means to cultivate the things of the Spirit, for example, by our wise use of the Lord’s Day, the discipline of our daily prayer and Bible reading, our regular worship and attendance at the Lord’s Supper, our Christian friendships and our involvement in Christian service. An inflexible principle of all God’s dealings, both in the material and in the moral realm, is that we reap what we sow. The rule is invariable. It cannot be changed, for ‘God cannot be mocked’ (Gal. 6:7). We must not therefore be surprised if we do not reap the fruit of the Spirit when all the time we are sowing to the flesh. Did we think we could cheat or fool God?

--Authentic Christianity (Nottingham, IVP, 1995)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 6:00 am

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A Prayer for Pentecost (II)

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Saint Nerses of Clajes (4th century Persian Bishop and Martyr)

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

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 5:16 am

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Stanley Hauerwas—‘By the Catching Force’: Reflections on the Work of the Spirit for Pentecost

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...in an odd way, I suspect that is the way it is supposed to work - namely, that the Spirit is quite good at catching us unaware. The Spirit is, as Pentecostals remind us, no tame Spirit. Rather, the Spirit is full of unanticipated surprises....

Stephen Pickard ends his book with reflections on the current state of the church in what were once presumed to be Christian cultures. It is no secret that the church has rapidly lost its standing in those cultures, leading, at least according to Pickard, to two equally disastrous strategies. One alternative Pickard characterizes as the "fast-asleep church," which he associates with churches that continue to rely on the general presumption that religion is a "good thing" so nothing about the church needs to change. The other strategy he characterizes as the "frenetic church," which he describes as the attempt to force new life into a dying church by meeting consumer demand. He doubts either response to the loss of the church's status will be successful. Each in their own way fail to rely on the Holy Spirit.

Pickard proposes an alternative understanding he calls "the slow church." We are a culture of speed, but Pickard draws on the example of monasticism to argue that the work of the Spirit is work for the long haul. It is the work of Holy Saturday in which patience and perseverance are made possible and required. Pickard refuses any suggestion that a slow church is a church that no longer has passion for justice and change, but the change sought is not that of solutions that do not last. Rather, it is the kind of church that makes possible companionship in a world based on isolation. The Spirit rests on our bodies making us capable of friendship.

I call attention to Pickard's account of what it would mean for the church to be a slow church, because I am confident that is pointing the church to where the Spirit is leading us.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 5:00 am

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(L Times) Moira Sleight—John Wesley Day: he preached to those other churches did not reach

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Today]...is Wesley Day when Methodists across the globe mark the anniversary of the day in 1738 when their founder John Wesley underwent a deep spiritual experience.

In London, Wesley’s Chapel on City Road — the “Mother Church of World Methodism” — will be holding a day of commemorations, including prayers round his tomb, while in chapels and churches across the country a host of special services will be taking place.

An Anglican clergyman, John Wesley had lived a devout life — visiting prisoners, studying the Bible, praying, living simply and even travelling to America to be a missionary — but on May 24 something happened that changed him. That evening he went (“unwillingly” as he admitted in his journal) to a meeting of Christians on Aldersgate Street, near St Paul’s Cathedral, where someone read aloud Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans, describing the change God works in the heart through faith in Christ.

Wesley recorded in his journal how, as he listened, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Read it all (subscription required).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 4:40 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day for Pentecost from Frank Colquhoun

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, who hast fulfilled thy word of promise, and from thy heavenly throne hast poured out upon thy Church the gift of the Holy Spirit: Open our hearts, we pray thee, to receive the fullness of his grace and power; that our lives may be strengthened for the service of thy kingdom, and our souls be conformed more and more to the image of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 4:20 am

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever!

--Psalm 118:1

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted May 24, 2015 at 4:00 am

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Congratulations to Denver and Maryland for making the NCAA Lacrosse Final

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Culture-WatchMenSportsYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 5:45 pm

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([London] Times) Great War chaplains who transformed the Church of England

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anglican war chaplains saw terrible things on the Western Front in the First World War and many were hailed as heroes for ministering to dying men amid the shell fire and machinegun bullets in no man’s land. They returned to their pulpits with a righteous anger to change their church and British society.

Linda Parker’s wide-ranging book, Shellshocked Prophets: Former Anglican Army Chaplains in Interwar Britain, tells the story of this brave band of Anglican clergyman — who were awarded around 250 Military Crosses between them — and then helped to transform the church. “Given the changes that occurred in the Church of England institutionally, liturgically and in its attitudes to a rapidly changing society, it is important that the role of former chaplains should be examined and their significance analysed,” says Dr Parker, herself the daughter of a former Territorial Army chaplain.

A harbinger of social change in the church was the Industrial Christian Fellowship founded by the Rev Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, MC,in 1919 to encourage Christians to relate their faith to their working lives. As chief “missioner”, Studdert Kennedy travelled the country evangelising in factories, mines and canteens, and gathered about him a team of other ex-war chaplains.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryPoetry & LiteratureReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:55 pm

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(AP) It’s the end of an era in Charleston SC as mayor opens his last Spoleto

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., who helped establish the internationally known Spoleto Festival USA in South Carolina nearly four decades ago, took a final bow Friday as he opened his last festival.

It was Riley who helped persuade the late composer Gian Carlo Menotti to establish the performing arts festival in Charleston as a companion to the composer’s Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.

Riley has opened every festival now for 39 years. Friday’s was his last because Riley, who has served as mayor longer than anyone else in Charleston’s 345-year history, retires at the end of the year. This year’s festival continues through June 7.

“There is nothing like the Spoleto Festival USA in the world, and for everyone who participates, when the festival is over, they are changed,” Riley told the hundreds gathered in front of Charleston City Hal

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtHistoryMusicTheatre/Drama/PlaysUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralCity Government* South Carolina

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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(CNBC) Study: 41 percent expect no Social Security benefits

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Americans have major doubts about the financial health of Social Security.

A new survey by Pew Research Center finds that 41 percent of Americans think there will be no Social Security benefits for them when they retire and nearly a third expect reduced levels of benefits. (Tweet This)

Some of those fears may be overblown. "People who think they will get zero benefits from Social Security are wrong and they should look at the facts," said Andy Landis, a former claims representative for the Social Security Administration (SSA) and author of "Social Security: The Inside Story."

There are concerns that benefits may be reduced, however.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyPersonal FinanceThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetSocial SecurityPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

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(B Newsltr) Norman Hamilton—Prince Charles challenged Christians to be channels for reconciliation

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his visit to the Republic of Ireland earlier this week, Prince Charles changed the climate in which reconciliation can take place, and massively changed it for the better.

In word as well as action, tone as well as content, public as well as in private, he moved the heart of reconciliation away from the political arena.

He took it to a place where the facing of pain, resentment, anguish and agonies (to use his own words) are put at the very centre of leaving our grandchildren “a legacy of lasting peace, forgiveness and friendship” (again, his own words).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm

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(AP) NFL Teams ‘Conspired’ to Push Painkillers, Allege Former Players

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hundreds of former players have filed a lawsuit claiming all 32 NFL teams, their doctors, trainers and medical staffs obtained and provided painkillers to players — often illegally — as part of a decades-long conspiracy to keep them on the field without regard for their long-term health.

The lawsuit reprises some of the allegations made in a federal lawsuit last year on behalf of 1,300 former players against the NFL. That complaint was filed in May, 2014 and dismissed in December by Judge William Alsup of the U.S. Northern District in California. Alsup wrote that the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association was the appropriate forum to resolve such claims. That decision is being appealed.

The new lawsuit was filed Thursday in the U.S. Northern District of Maryland. It names each NFL team individually as a defendant and lists 13 plaintiffs, including Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Renfro of the Dallas Cowboys and Etopia Evans, the widow of Charles Evans, a running back who played eight years with the Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens and retired after the 2000 season. Evans died of heart failure in October 2008 at age 41.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug AddictionHealth & MedicineLaw & Legal IssuesSports* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifePolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 1:26 pm

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(Irish Times) Same-sex marriage on course to be approved by Ireland

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By about 4pm, the national Yes vote stood at 62.4 per cent against 36.6 per cent for the No side with 60.2 per cent of the country going to the polls.

Donegal, against some expectations, has approved the amendment to the Constitution by a small margin. Donegal South West has been the closest so far, with 50.1 per cent voting Yes, representing a margin of just 33 votes.

The Yes vote in Dublin was particularly pronounced. Dublin Midwest reported a Yes vote of 70.9 per cent and Dublin Southwest returned 71.3 per cent, in line with an overall 70 per cent positive vote anticipated in the capital. As the result emerged thousands of people gathered, against convention, in the courtyard of Dublin Castle signalling widespread jubilation.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 11:05 am

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(Guardian) Kate Bottley on Preaching, Listening and Humor

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With Victorian-style public lectures now a rarity, listening to anyone speak to a crowd, for most of us above school age, occurs only when the best man tells stories of the groom’s indiscretions. “Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking” is as much a case of “unaccustomed as I am to public listening”.

Pity the preacher then, who, as well as the regular Sunday gig, is drafted in for school assemblies, the Women’s Institute and the odd Rotary dinner.

The vicar is charged with delivering something memorable, neither too long nor too short, and not just once in a while, but week in week out. For me, the Sunday sermon looms large enough to make many a Saturday night sleepless. As I step nervously up the pulpit steps I worry that my waffling will leave them uninspired or, worse still, asleep. But while preaching is culturally alien to many, and being “preached at” unappealing to most, it is similar to something we are more used to seeing: standup comedy.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureTheatre/Drama/Plays* General InterestHumor / Trivia* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 10:00 am

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(NYT on Religion) Responding to Suffering by Counting the Omer

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One morning last week, Lance Laver went to visit a dying friend. Mr. Laver is Jewish and his friend is a retired Episcopal priest, and they had formed a bond over nearly a decade of working together here on an annual interfaith walk for peace.

By the time of this year’s procession, however, the Rev. Frank Toia could not take more than a few steps. He was bound to his home with recurrent pneumonia, tethered to an oxygen tank and a feeding tube. As he turned 78, he decided to use his home as a hospice and await the end.

When Mr. Laver came over, he brought a book written by his rabbi. He and Mr. Toia turned to several verses from Psalm 25, which the rabbi had selected for that particular day. The passage began with the poet asking God, “May we be shown the paths to travel,” and those words drove straight to a fading minister’s heart.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsJudaism

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 9:00 am

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(Vatican Radio) The Story of Archbishop Oscar Romero

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Something is happening in El Salvador on the 23rd of May. Not just the usual rampant violence in this nation which has one of the world’s highest murder rates. But a celebration for this majority Christian nation: the beatification ceremony of one of its sons, Archbishop Oscar Romero.

The ceremony was arranged following a decree approved by Pope Francis on the 3rd of February in which he declared the Salvadoran Archbishop a martyr.

Like many of his fellow countrymen Romero was a victim of violence and was shot at while celebrating mass on the 24th of March 1980.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* International News & CommentaryCentral America--El Salvador* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 8:25 am

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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* Culture-WatchMedia* South Carolina

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 8:01 am

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In Pictures—Bishop Tito Zavala Visits the Diocese of South Carolina

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Check them all out.



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* General InterestPhotos/Photography* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaChile* South Carolina

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 7:27 am

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Another Rare TV recommendation: A good Job—Stories of the FDNY on HBO

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“‘A good job’ means a really tough fire,” says retired firefighter Alfred Benjamin. Some call it terrifying or seductive, but as Rescue 5’s Joseph Esposito notes, “You should be scared…that’s what keeps you alive.”
Directed and produced by Liz Garbus (HBO’s Emmy®-nominated “Bobby Fischer Against the World”) and produced by actor Steve Buscemi (Emmy® nominee for HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”), A GOOD JOB: STORIES OF THE FDNY explores life in one of the most demanding and innovative fire departments in the world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireMovies & TelevisionUrban/City Life and Issues* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* TheologyAnthropology

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 7:00 am

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

--Hebrews 9:11-14

Filed under: * TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 6:30 am

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Saint Augustine

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, in whom we live and move and have our being, who hast made us for thyself, so that our hearts are restless till they rest in thee: Grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose, that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing thy will, no weakness from doing it; but that in thy light we may see light clearly, and in thy service find our perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer

0 Comments Posted May 23, 2015 at 6:00 am

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(Paris Review) Martin Amis on the Art of Fiction

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I can write in the midst of—not very conveniently—but I can make progress in the midst of the usual family clamor. But it has to be said, perhaps with some regret, that the first thing that distinguishes a writer is that he is most alive when alone, most fully alive when alone. A tolerance for solitude isn’t anywhere near the full description of what really goes on. The most interesting things happen to you when you are alone....

When I worked on my first book at home, my bedroom was above my father’s study, and I would often hear, not crazy scientist’s laughter, but the sort of laughter where the shoulders are shaking, coming from below. And I continue that tradition. I do find that not only the comic scenes make you laugh but anything that works well. Really, laughter is the successful serendipity of the whole business.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPoetry & LiteraturePsychology* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 22, 2015 at 11:05 am

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[The Star Malaysia] Bishop ‘no’ to same-sex marriages

Posted by The_Elves

Kota Kinabalu: The Anglican church here will not allow same-sex marriages to take place on its pre­mises, said newly installed Anglican bishop Melter Jiki.

The 50-year-old bishop, who is the first native Kadazan chosen to lead the 90,000-strong Anglican community in the state, said this when asked about the church’s policies and what to expect during his tenure.

“We are totally against the so-called same-sex marriage. We will not allow it in the church,” said the father of four who was installed as the sixth Anglican bishop in Sabah on Tuesday.

Some Anglican churches in European countries have accepted gay marriages and even performed the ceremony in their churches.

Bishop Melter said while other Anglican dioceses and provinces decided to ordain women to the priesthood, South-East Asia had not taken the step yet.

“We are not ready for such a move.

“We are also not sure whether we will be open to the idea any time soon,” he said.

Bishop Melter was appointed bishop of the diocese on Feb 20, replacing the late Bishop Albert Vun who passed away on July 15 last year.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Anglican Church in South East Asia

0 Comments Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:37 am

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Presiding Bishop Tito Zavala Meets with South Carolina Diocesan Council

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Tito Zavala, Presiding Bishop of South America, was with us at Diocesan Council today, May 19, 2015.

"We are here to know you, to be with you, to say with our presence that we, in the Global South, are with you and want to do the best we can for you so you can continue being part of the Anglican Communion," said Bishop Zavala.
...
As one of 40 primates of the 80 million member worldwide Anglican Communion, Bishop Zavala will be in South Carolina specifically to encourage and support fellow Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, and the clergy and lay people of the Diocese of South Carolina.

“We’re grateful for the strong support we’ve received from Anglicans around the world and are especially thankful for this time we’ll have with Bishop Zavala,” said the Rt. Rev. Mark J. Lawrence, XIV Bishop of South Carolina. “The Global South Primates have assured us of their prayers and their stand with us.”

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalGlobal South Churches & Primates* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentarySouth AmericaChile* South Carolina

0 Comments Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:02 am

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(Irish Times) Voting underway in landmark Irish referendum

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Voters will be given two ballot papers: a white ballot paper for the marriage referendum and a green ballot paper for the age of presidential candidates referendum.

In the marriage referendum people may vote Yes or No to the proposal to include a new clause about marriage in the Constitution.

This new clause provides that two people may marry each other regardless of their sex.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesChurch/State MattersMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK--Ireland* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 22, 2015 at 8:00 am

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(Guardian) First Ramadi, then Palmyra: Isis shows it can storm bastions of Syria and Iraq

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Islamic State fighters are celebrating their second major conquest in a week in Syria and Iraq as they pick through the ruins of the historic city of Palmyra.

The sudden advance of the militants into the UN heritage site in central Syria resulted in the rout of a national army, the exodus of refugees and a fresh pulse of regional alarm at the resilience of the self-styled caliphate force.

The UN said one-third of Palmyra’s 200,000-strong population had fled. And Isis militants used social media to show themselves posing amid ancient columns in Palmyra on Thursday. Other images displayed a more familiar theme: the summary slaughter of local men whose blood drenched the road.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIraqSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments Posted May 22, 2015 at 7:00 am

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A Telegraph Article on Archbp Welby’s speech—Religious groups filling ‘huge gap’ left by state

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Faith groups are now filling a “huge gap” in British life occupied by the state until the financial crisis and onset of austerity forced a rethink, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said churches, mosques, temples synagogues and other religious organisations had stepped in “in a most extraordinary way” over the past seven years.

He was speaking as a detailed national “audit” of faith groups was published calculating that their members give more than £3 billion worth of time a year on volunteer social action projects.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

0 Comments Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:29 am

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Archbishop Justin Welby’s keynote speech at the Cinnamon Network Faith Action Audit launch

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The public view of religion among young people, according to a YouGov poll - well, alright it’s a poll, but … [laughter] the reputation of religion among young people is actually more negative than neutral: 41% – this was a poll in 2013, when they still got them right – 41% of 18-24 year olds agreed that “religion is more often the cause of evil in the world” and only 14% say it is a cause for good.

The Faith Action Audit reveals something different. It shows the breadth of commitment across the country, the depth of commitment, and above all the strength of experience and good practice. Thanks to Cinnamon [Network] and other bodies like it, this is not mere do-goodery. It is seeking to find best practice and put it into action in the most professional way that can be imagined.

We’ve heard some of the figures, but just a reminder: the faith sector collectively is delivering, according to the audit – I’ll round it – 220,000 social action projects, from which 47 million people benefit.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin WelbyAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPovertyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments Posted May 22, 2015 at 6:00 am

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