Category :

The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese gets a Date for SCOTUS Conference

From there:

Friends,

Good news! Today the United States Supreme Court announced that our Petition for Certiorari has been distributed for Conference on Thursday, June 7.

As anticipated, the Eden Prairie case (which involves the same legal issues as our own case) has also been docketed for Conference that day.

Both cases raise the question of how courts interpret the Jones v. Wolf (1979) decision and its guidance on “neutral principles of law”. In Conference, the Justices will be discussing if these are cases they wish to review to resolve the conflicting interpretations.

The consequence is that we could hear as early as Monday, June 11th what the Court’s decision is regarding our Petition for Certiorari. If granted, our case would then be heard some time in the next session of the court, which begins this fall.

Please encourage your congregation to keep the Court’s deliberations that day in their prayers.

Blessings,

(The Rev. Canon) Jim Lewis

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

Blessed Pentecost 2018 to all Blog Readers

Posted in Pentecost

A S Haley–The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese Goes to SCOTUS Conference

In their (non-linkable) respondents’ brief, ECSC and ECUSA took a gamble by resting their main opposition upon just a single ground: that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the case because the five divided justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court had decided the case below on independent state-law grounds, and did not rest their decision on any interpretation of federal law. (SCOTUS reviews only issues of federal law that are decided by either the state or federal courts.)

As the Diocese’s reply brief points out, this claim is far from accurate. Two of the justices below (Pleicones and Hearn) were clear that they viewed the 1979 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf as requiring them to give effect to the trust on church property imposed by the Dennis Canon, even if the documentation of that trust failed to pass muster under South Carolina law. In other words, Justices Pleicones and Hearn held that the First Amendment trumped state trust law — and that was obviously a federal ground of decision.

Even Chief Justice Beatty, who declined to articulate his reasoning, held that the Dennis Canon was sufficient to create a trust under South Carolina law so long as the individual parishes “acceded” in some way to that Canon. Since, as Justice Kittredge pointed out in dissent, any argument that a trust under South Carolina law could rest upon such a dim showing of assent was “laughable”, it is only fair to conclude that Chief Justice Beatty reached his result by relying upon the same (federal-law) reading of Jones v. Wolf that drove Justices Hearn and Pleicones.

In sum, the South Carolina case presents as good a reason as ever will arise for SCOTUS to grant review, in order to end the confusion over the meaning of Jones that divides some nineteen different state and federal courts below. (Those decisions are reviewed and discussed at pp. 21-29 of the Diocese’s petition.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

(Economist) Alexa, who is God? A new app aims to win over agnostics

Amazon’s voice-controlled smart speakers, which answer to the name Alexa, are used to being asked about the weather or upcoming calendar appointments. From now on they will be fielding deeper questions. On May 24th the Church of England will launch an app for the Alexa platform that allows users to pose metaphysical queries to the speaker on their kitchen counter. The app can also find the nearest place of worship, explain how church weddings work and recite the Ten Commandments.

Most of the 28 questions programmed into it are aimed at non-believers, who nowadays make up more than half of British adults. Curious agnostics can quiz Alexa on how to pray, what Christians believe and who the Archbishop of Canterbury is. The aim is to use new technology to “bring people into a relationship with God”, says Adrian Harris, head of digital matters at the church.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Albert Mohler–The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention

The last few weeks have been excruciating for the Southern Baptist Convention and for the larger evangelical movement. It is as if bombs are dropping and God alone knows how many will fall and where they will land.

America’s largest evangelical denomination has been in the headlines day after day. The SBC is in the midst of its own horrifying #MeToo moment.

At one of our seminaries, controversy has centered on a president (now former president) whose sermon illustration from years ago included advice that a battered wife remain in the home and the marriage in hope of the conversion of her abusive husband. Other comments represented the objectification of a teenage girl. The issues only grew more urgent with the sense that the dated statements represented ongoing advice and counsel.

But the issues are far deeper and wider.

Read it all.

Posted in Baptists, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Violence, Women

(Pew RC) Religiously, nonwhite Democrats are more similar to Republicans than to white Democrats

It’s sometimes said that the Democratic Party is less comfortable with religion than the GOP. And it is true that, on the whole, Democrats are less religious than Republicans. But this glosses over profound racial and ethnic differences within the Democratic Party: While white Democrats are less likely to be religious than Republicans, nonwhite Democrats – who mostly identify as black or Hispanic – more closely resemble Republicans overall on a host of religious measures.

For example, among Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party, 95% of all nonwhites (which includes 99% of blacks) say they believe in God or a higher power, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. This is exactly the same level of belief seen among Republicans and Republican leaners. By contrast, 78% of white Democrats believe in God or a higher power. And the share of white Democrats who say they do notbelieve in God or any higher power (21%) is quadruple the level seen among nonwhite Democrats (5%), as well as among both white and nonwhite Republicans (5% each).

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(LA Times) Fuller Theological Seminary leaving Pasadena, Calfironia and putting campus up for sale

Fuller Theological Seminary will move to Pomona by 2021, freeing its 13-acre campus in Pasadena’s central business district to be sold for new uses and development.

Fuller is acquiring downtown land in the eastern San Gabriel Valley city where it will build a more accessible campus with lower surrounding housing costs, acting provost Mari Clements said Tuesday….

Fuller has more than 3,000 students pursuing graduate degrees in theology, intercultural studies and psychology, with 1,200 students studying on the Pasadena campus.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education

(ACNS) Anglican Church of Melanesia launches Decade of Evangelism and Renewal with crusade

Members of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) should “arise and shine for Jesus Christ,” the Province said this week as it launched a decade-long focus on evangelism and renewal. The programme was launched on Pentecost Sunday with a special service at St Barnabas Cathedral, in Honiara, in which the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, preached. On the eve of the service, the province held an open-air evangelistic crusade in the car park of Honiara City Council.

Writing on its official Facebook page, the province said: “It is believed that this program will significantly transform our lives to be renewed, revived, and reformed so that we can be able to live out the realities of the Gospel truths as we seek God’s Kingdom together.

“Therefore it is a Christian call to all ACOM member to arise, and shine for Jesus Christ and to continue in the work of equipping, mentoring, forming, teaching, discipleship and nurturing those who follow Jesus Christ, individually and as a Church. The way towards the eternal goal, is to honor and glorify God.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Melanesia, Evangelism and Church Growth, Melanesia

(CT) Philip Jenkins reviews Professor Brian Stanley’s new book on Christianity in the 20th Century

Anyone with the slightest knowledge of trends in modern Christianity will have opinions about what Stanley’s 15 key themes should be. We might disagree with the exact contents of his list, but few would question the reasonableness of including, for instance, “uneasy marriages between Christianity and nationalism”; the persecution of churches in different societies; ecumenism; the dilemmas of living as a Christian under Islamic rule; human rights, gender, and sexuality; the role of migrant churches; or the relationship between Christianity, ethnic hatred, and genocide.

But if the topics to some extent select themselves, Stanley then startles with his choice of specific examples. Yes, we know that Christians in different eras have exalted the notion of “Holy Nations,” but how many authors would think to examine this approach with a comparative study of Protestant nationalism in South Korea and Marian Catholic nationalism in Poland? Or to compare the churches’ response to genocide in Nazi Germany and Rwanda? One might easily point to the fundamental cultural differences between the nations placed under the microscope, especially when Catholic and Protestant traditions are juxtaposed. But overriding those forms of diversity is one key question. Each of these churches, sects, or movements claims to be Christian, regardless of its location and historical circumstances. So what exactly is the identifiable core of that Christian belief or understanding? How malleable is it?

Another strength of Stanley’s book is the serious attention paid to a wide diversity of traditions and denominations. A generation or so ago, a book giving adequate and fair coverage to both Catholics and (mainline) Protestants was laudable. Stanley certainly treats those two fully, but over and above that he offers a chapter on the Orthodox tradition, as viewed in the cases of Greece, Turkey, and even East Africa. Given his interest in Global South religion, he is very informative on Pentecostal worlds, as well as the African independent traditions represented by the Aladura and other healing churches.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Church History, Globalization

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler

As the heavens declare thy glory, O God, and the firmament showeth thy handiwork, we bless thy Name for the gifts of knowledge and insight thou didst bestow upon Nicolaus Copernicus and Johannes Kepler; and we pray that thou wouldst continue to advance our understanding of thy cosmos, for our good and for thy glory; through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

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.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has borne witness to his Son. He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.

–1 John 5:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture

The Bp of Manchester’s Sermon today at the Civic Memorial Service at Manchester Cathedral

In the days after the Arena blast, across a range of media broadcasts, I assured the world that Manchester would be there for the victims, for as long as it took. All who were affected have a lasting place in our hearts. You have become part of our story, and we will be part of yours. Yet quite soon it became clear that those most deeply affected by the tragedy were drawn from a much wider area than our immediate city and its surrounds. Only four of the 22 killed lived in the diocese that this cathedral serves. It’s very appropriate that today’s service is being relayed far beyond Manchester, including to cathedrals in other cities such as York, Liverpool and Glasgow. The Arena families and survivors will need the same love and care, over the years and decades ahead, even if they live and work far from this city. Support will need to be there for them in places where what happened on May 22nd 2017 is not part of the shared story of that community. Support will need to be given in villages and towns where the memory of last year will inevitably fade.

Rightly, much attention has been given to the families of those whose lives were lost that night. Theirs is the greatest loss, they are ones from whose arms someone deeply dear has been ripped away. They are the ones who will never see that loved face or hear that voice again. Yet I want us also today to remember those many others, whose lives were spared but who suffered long lasting, often permanent, damage in the attack. Part of the horror of the Arena attack was that it appeared to have been deliberately chosen as a venue that would be full of young people. Today they are one year into living with those life changing injuries, yet with many decades of continuing to do so lying ahead of them. Our society has rituals to mark a death, and to console the bereaved. We lack any equivalent for those who have lost limbs, suffered sensory loss, or will never recover their confidence again. Many of the hopes and aspirations they took with them into the Arena that night are gone. Today we mark and acknowledge their suffering, and pledge to play our part for their future wellbeing here on Earth.

There’s another reason why I’m glad we are gathered today in this particular location. It’s because this cathedral is a place of hope. It’s a very well used building. We host festivals, stage lectures, hold concerts, show films, serve dinners, as well as maintain the rhythm of the Church of England’s worship, day by day and week by week. When our ancestors planned and constructed these buildings, they knew what they were doing. You can’t be in this place very long, whatever event you’re attending, before your eyes are drawn upwards. And that’s deliberate. We may be engaged in our work on Earth, but we must never forget the Heaven beyond us.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(ACNS) National memorial service held on anniversary of Manchester Arena bombing

The 22 people who died when a bomb exploded at the end of a concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester last year were remembered today in a sombre service in Manchester Cathedral. The national commemoration was attended by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, and by Prince William and senior politicians across the political divide, including Prime Minister Theresa May. The service – held a year after the explosion – was relayed to other cathedrals, including York Minster, the Roman Catholic cathedral in Liverpool, and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland cathedral in Glasgow; and was also shown on large outdoor screens in the city.

Speaking in advance of this afternoon’s service, Archbishop Sentamu said that he would be at the service “standing alongside the Bishop of Manchester and many other leaders from a great city in shared grief at the loss of so many young lives.”

He continued: “we will stand together in shared solidarity and commitment to peace and the wellbeing of all. This is a time for communities to hold together, to care for one another, to respect the privacy of those carrying this grief, and to hold on to the truth that: ‘Love is stronger than hate, light is stronger than darkness, life is stronger than death.’ May God give us his peace and blessing.”

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in a foyer of the Manchester Arena just after 10.30 pm on 22 May 2017 as thousands of people were leaving a concert by the US-based singer Ariana Grande. The 24-year-old singer is very popular amongst young people and 10 of those killed were under the age of 20: the youngest victim was eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos. The oldest was a 51-year-old woman. More than 800 people were injured.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, History, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(LA Times) California attorney general appeals judge’s decision to overturn physician-assisted suicide law

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra on Monday filed an appeal against a judge’s recent ruling overturning the state’s physician-assisted suicide law.

The controversial law, which allows terminally ill patients to request lethal medications from their doctors, has been the subject of litigation since it was enacted two years ago.

Last week, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that the law’s passage was unconstitutional and the law should be overturned.

Becerra’s action Monday moves the case to an appeals court, which will decide the future of the law. He also asked that the law stay in place while the matter is further litigated, a request that will most likely be granted, said Kathryn Tucker, an attorney who heads the End of Life Liberty Project at UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, State Government, Theology

Tuesday Food for Thought–Frederick Buechner on History

Unlike Buddhism or Hinduism, biblical faith takes history very seriously because God takes it very seriously. God took it seriously enough to begin it and to enter it and to promise that one day it will be brought to a serious close. The biblical view is that history is not an absurdity to be endured or an illusion to be dispelled or an endlessly repeating cycle to be escaped. Instead, it is for each of us a series of crucial, precious, and unrepeatable moments that are seeking to lead us somewhere.

The true history of humankind and the true history of each individual has less to do than we tend to think with the kind of information that gets into most histories, biographies, and autobiographies. True history has to do with the saving and losing of souls, and both of these are apt to take place when most people—including the one whose soul is at stake—are looking the other way. The real turning point in our lives is less likely to be the day we win the election or get married than the morning we decide not to mail the letter or the afternoon we watch the woods fill up with snow. The real turning point in human history is less apt to be the day the wheel is invented or Rome falls than the day a child is born in a stable.

Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC (New York: HarperOne, 1993)

Posted in History, Theology