Daily Archives: June 11, 2009

Charitable Donations Fell in 2008, Report Finds

Charitable giving in the United States fell by 2 percent last year, the largest year-over-year drop and only the second decline since the Giving USA Foundation began tracking American philanthropy 53 years ago, according to a report being released today.

Individual donations dropped by about 2.7 percent from 2007 to last year, corporate giving fell by about 4.5 percent and foundation contributions grew by about 3 percent, according to the report.

Nationwide, recipients collected about $307.7 billion last year, down from the record of about $314.1 billion in 2007, according to the report, which was done for the foundation by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The only other annual decrease since the report was first published in 1956 occurred during the 1987 recession, when giving declined by 1.3 percent.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Economy, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

Higher Education a Continual Struggle in South Carolina

Chuck Allen, a member of the University of South Carolina’s board of trustees and a former state lawmaker, struggles with this issue every day.

“Our state is currently 43rd in the nation in per capita income and 43rd in the nation in its percentage of citizens with four-year degrees,” Allen says. “The correlation is obvious: higher education affects economic development and the household income of our citizens.”

A recent study found that South Carolina had cut higher education spending more than any state in the union ”” or the Confederacy. As a result, our in-state tuition rates are the highest in the Southeast.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Education

Philadelphia Inquirer: At 81, he fights Episcopal Church over abuse allegations

At 81 and in poor health, Ralph White Jr. is not confident he will live to see a dime from the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

But White voiced relief yesterday that a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court had ordered the church to respond to his lawsuit alleging his pastor sexually abused him in the 1940s, when he was a boy, and later took his inheritance.

White, of West Philadelphia, is seeking unspecified damages from the five-county diocese and All Saints parish in Wynnewood, and the return of his modest inheritance.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Pennsylvania

USA Today: More Students on Lunch Programs

School systems nationwide are trimming lunch menus, buying more food in bulk and delaying purchases of kitchen equipment to offset the costs of serving free or reduced-price lunches to millions of newly eligible students from cash-strapped families.

Record enrollment in subsidized meal programs has school systems large and small stretching already paper-thin budgets to ensure that students are well-fed and ready to learn. No region seems immune.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Education, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Anglicans need to “Repent and Refocus on mission” ”” Bishop of Rochester to say at launch of FC

ANGLICAN clergy and laity attending the launch of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans in the UK and Ireland in London on July 6 will hear the Bishop of Rochester call for ”˜repentance and a renewed commitment to evangelism and mission’.

The launch of FCA in the UK and Ireland comes less than a year after the GAFCON conference in Jerusalem, leading to a Declaration of Orthodox beliefs to which Anglicans throughout the community have rallied as a sign of fellowship and solidarity. At a time when the Anglican church in North America and Canada is facing major splits between liberals and orthodox members, the FCA is providing a home, focus and support for orthodox churches in diocese and provinces which they believe they can no longer be aligned with, or have been excluded from over their beliefs.

Delegates gathering at Westminster Central Hall will hear from a wide range of international speakers, including Bishop Keith Ackerman, president of Forward in Faith (North America), Archbishop Peter Jensen, Archbishop of Sydney, and Baroness Caroline Cox. The morning sessions will focus on the global Anglican Communion, with welcome messages from the Archbishops of Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, before looking in detail at the key issues of unity, orthodoxy, the uniqueness of Christ and holiness of life. The Bishops of Chichester, the Rt Revd John Hind, and Fulham, the Rt Revd John Broadhurst will also speak.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

In Iran Race, Ex-Leader Works to Oust President

In a makeshift campaign war room in north Tehran, two dozen young women clad in head scarves and black chadors are logging election data into desktop computers 24 hours a day, while men rush around them carrying voter surveys and district maps.

This nerve center in the campaign to unseat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s hard-line president, is not run by any of the three candidates who are challenging him in a hotly contested election on Friday.

Instead, it is part of a bitter behind-the-scenes rivalry that has helped define the campaign, pitting Mr. Ahmadinejad against the man he beat in the last election, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a two-term former president and one of Iran’s richest and most powerful men.

Read it all.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Iran, Middle East

China’s Commodity Buying Spree: Just Pantry Filling?

China’s goals vary by commodity. Chinese companies have bought iron ore heavily on the spot market in anticipation of higher prices in annual contract talks now nearing completion. The Chinese government has been stockpiling oil and some metals for strategic reasons, and bought huge quantities of aluminum and canola to insulate domestic producers of these goods from falling global prices over the winter.

“There has been enormous stockpiling of all commodities” by China, and this cannot continue indefinitely, said Tim Huxley, the chief executive of Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings, a big shipping line based here.

Those extra purchases beyond China’s daily needs have helped reverse the price collapse in commodities that followed the economic downturn, but could also limit the scale of the rebound.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, China, Economy, Globalization, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

U.S. college grads shun Wall Street for Washington

Wall Street may be losing its luster for new U.S. college graduates who are increasingly looking to the government for jobs that enrich their social conscience, if not their wallet.

In the boom years, New York’s financial center lured many of the brightest young stars with the promise of high salaries and bonuses. But the financial crisis has tainted the image of big banks, and with fewer financial jobs available, Uncle Sam may be reaping the benefit.

“Some grads might have seen two of their older siblings go through the dot-com crash and the emptiness of that, and now the Wall Street crash, just chasing after the big bucks,” said John Challenger, chief executive of job placement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, Politics in General, Stock Market, Young Adults

A (London) Times Editorial on Obama and Health Care: Taking pains

That said, the basic terms of discussion have become clear. The main question is whether congressional Democrats will be able to include a government-funded health plan to compete with existing programmes. This public plan would have the scale to negotiate with providers and drug companies and would, therefore, set prices for the industry as a whole and set a floor on cost. Republicans oppose the move, regarding it as the first step towards socialisation. A public plan would, on this view, bleed business away from the prvate providers with whom it was ostensibly in competition. That would lead, in turn, to a gradual reduction in quality, with regulation proving less effective than competition at maintaining standards.

President Obama himself has invested too much political capital in reform for nothing to happen. There will be a Bill. It will increase coverage and a victory will be declared. But the escalating cost will have been laid aside as too difficult an issue. It cannot be avoided for ever.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Health & Medicine, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama

College in Need Closes a Door to Needy Students

The whole idea of excluding a student simply because of money clashed with the college’s ideals, Leslie Limper, the aid director, acknowledged. “None of us are very happy,” she said, adding that Reed did not strike anyone from its list last year and that never before had it needed to weed out so many worthy students. “Sometimes I wonder why I’m still doing this.”

That decision was one of several agonizing ones for this small private college, celebrated for its combination of academic rigor and a laid-back approach to education that once attracted Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, to study on its leafy campus minutes from downtown.

With their endowments ravaged by the financial markets and more students clamoring for assistance, private colleges like Reed are making numerous changes this year in staff, students, tuition and classes that they hope will tide them over without harming their reputations or their educational goals.

Reed and others have admitted more students to bolster revenue with larger classes.

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s New York Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Education, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

The June Episcopal Life from the Diocese of Arizona

Check it out (8 page pdf)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), General Convention, TEC Bishops

California votes ”˜no’ on bishop-elect of Northern Michigan

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of California voted recently to withhold consent to the Rev. Kevin G. Thew Forrester as bishop of Northern Michigan. The vote was close, according to diocesan spokesman Sean McConnell.

California is the 57th standing committee to withhold consent from Thew Forrester. Twenty-nine have given consent and 25 either haven’t voted or haven’t revealed their votes, according to a survey by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The Diocese, one of 110 scattered across the U.S., Caribbean, Latin America, Asia and Europe, includes San Francisco and much of the Bay Area.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan, Theology

Down Under Millions wiped out by Bad Anglican Church Financial Decisions

THE world’s richest and largest Anglican diocese has lost more than $100 million on the sharemarket and is investigating ways to cut programs and ministries across Sydney.

Two years ago the Anglican diocese of Sydney was able to allocate $30 million to educate new ministers, spread the Gospel and reach out to young people. But returns from investments have plummeted so steeply that the funds available next year have been slashed to $5.6 million.

The cuts will probably jeopardise funding for places at the ministry training institution, Moore College – causing either lower student numbers or higher fees – and Youthworks, which recruits young people for mission work.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Economy, Stock Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

FT: US long-term interest rates hit high

US long-term interest rates rose to the highest level of the year on Wednesday, threatening the “green shoots” of recovery, after the latest sale of 10-year government debt met with a tepid response from inflation-wary investors.

Concerns about the growth of government borrowing forced the US Treasury to give investors in an auction of $19bn in 10-year notes a yield of 3.99 per cent ”“ 4 basis points higher than the yield available before the auction. That constituted the biggest yield markup since a 10-year auction in May 2003, said Morgan Stanley. Yields on the 10-year note, the benchmark rate for US mortgages, hit a high of 4 per cent during the day, up from 3.6 per cent a week ago.

Read it carefully and read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Budget, Credit Markets, Economy, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, The United States Currency (Dollar etc)

Bethlehem Standing Committee: Why we chose not to consent to Northern Michigan

The issue that posed the largest concern for the most of us was the ability of the candidate to articulate the Christian faith and to uphold the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church. It is clear to us Thew-Forrester is a deeply spiritual man who is passionate and articulate about his approach to faith. However, it is apparent from his writing, preaching and the liturgies he has written that he has difficulty with the most basic teachings of the Christian faith about the person and work of Jesus Christ, the nature of the Trinity, the nature of sin and the atonement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Northern Michigan