Daily Archives: January 6, 2010

Recession fuels shift from private to public schools

When the family budget started feeling the recession’s pinch last year, Angela Allyn and her photographer husband, Matt Dinnerstein, pulled their three kids out of Chicago-area private schools and enrolled them in Evanston, Ill., public schools.

It has been a challenging transition: Maya, 16, now a high school sophomore, “doesn’t like crowds ”” and her high school is as big as a small college,” her mother says. Though Maya is learning a lot in the “amazing” science program, she’s also hoping to leave the crowds behind by doubling up on coursework, graduating by the end of junior year “and then going and doing interesting things,” Allyn says. Her younger children face their own challenges, from bullying to sheer boredom.

The transition also has been an education for Maya’s parents, who say they had “no choice” in the struggling economy but to switch to public schools.

They’re saving about $20,000 a year in tuition, but like many former private-school families, they’re coming face-to-face with larger class sizes and the public school bureaucracy as they push to get services for their children.

Read it all.

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

Lunchtime Video: Town buried in 55 inches ”” and counting

Watch it all.

Posted in * General Interest, Weather

A vicar’s wife: ”˜There is no one to fight for us’

When I was 21 I spent a long holiday hitch-hiking to Nepal. While I was there, I received a letter from a fellow undergraduate who had given up his teenage ambition to become an architect, for the sake of the Gospel. He hadn’t intended to get married ”” he thought that he could be more dedicated as a single man ”” but he wrote that if he did, he’d want a wife who was prepared “to give up her career as I have mine”.

And yes, since you ask, it did put me off. I fancied him rotten, but I was passionately committed to my future as an actor. A few weeks later he persuaded me to change my mind, and the following summer, just before we married, he put himself forward for ordination in the Church of England.

There was never any doubt, in his mind or mine, that this was a sacrifice ”” if a joyful, willing one. When I asked my husband, years ago, if he thought that I ought to consider ordination too and he said, certainly not, one in the family was quite enough, I couldn’t have been more relieved.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

Liverpool Cathedral and Wall Street link up for ethics debate

Has there ever been a more pressing time to discuss the ethics of business and investment?

The Dean of Liverpool Cathedral, the Very Rev Justin Welby, thinks this is exactly the right time to debate the issue.

Liverpool Cathedral will be the UK northern host of an online worldwide conference on this topic from Wall Street, New York.

It will join with Canterbury Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral, London, for the live video webcast streamed from New York.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Adult Education, America/U.S.A., Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Stock Market, TEC Parishes, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Seven Christians arrested in Egypt

Seven Coptic Christians, including two priests, were sentenced to prison for allegedly being involved in a brawl in connection with a dispute over the purchase of a property by the Coptic Orthodox Bishopric of Delga and Deir Mawas, 270 KM from Cairo.

According to the Assyrian International News Agency the Misdemeanor Court in Mallawi upheld a verdict passed by the First Instance Court in April, 2007. The Rev Maximos Talat and Rev Bolah Nassif – priest of St George’s Church were sentence to one week in prison and fined 200 Egyptian Pounds, “based on claims made by the ‘aggressors’ and without any legal basis,” according to the their lawyer, Amgad Lamei.

In 2007 an adjacent property was legally acquired by the Bishopric from the Selim family. The dispute ensued after another neighbour, the Shaker family, said they have “right of first refusal” as they are cousins of the Selims, and subsequently occupied the property. The Bishopric obtained an eviction order from the Attorney General.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Stamford developer says in court he is 'at the tipping point' on continuing Episcopal church deal

Having nearly run out of money, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church early last year approached developer Randy Salvatore to step in and “bet” on the church by agreeing to a development deal that would provide the parish with a stream of monthly rental payments, according to Tuesday testimony from Salvatore.

But facing a demolition delay, Salvatore indicated that he might back out.

“Every month, I have to make a decision whether I’m going to write a check or not write a check,” Salvatore said. “To be frank, I’m at the tipping point.”

The hearing is in its fifth day of testimony in state Superior Court. A lawsuit filed in November by a preservationist group, Save Old Stamford, is preventing the church from demolishing a 136-year-old rectory on the 1.3-acre site where Salvatore wants to build a residential complex.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Parishes

Divergent Views on Signs of Life in the Economy

Manufacturing expanded in the United States in December, the fifth straight month of gains, amplifying hopes that a job market hobbled by double-digit unemployment might finally be adding paychecks. New jobless claims slipped markedly last week. Some economists think data to be released on Friday will show the economy gained jobs in December, the first monthly net increase in two years.

“We’re really coming back,” said Allen Sinai, chief global economist at the research firm Decision Economics. “The expansion is picking up the pace….”

But many economists remain worried that momentum could soon weaken, with the economy sliding back into glum times.

Indeed, the only area in which economists can reliably declare expansion is in the supply of competing narratives about the economy ”” perhaps to be expected in any transition between downturn and the inevitable turn for better.

“That is always the nature of the boomlet after recession,” Mr. Sinai said. “People think it’s going to fade away.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Economy, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Stock Market

Clergy and ministers need protection from Church bullying, Unite union says

A bishop is among the 150 clergy and ministers who have sought protection with the trade union Unite from what it describes as a culture of bullying in the established Church.

Most of those who have sought help are in the Church of England but Roman Catholic priests, rabbis and imams have also joined Unite, according to Rachael Maskell, national officer for the union’s faith workers’ branch.

The union, which has set up a special helpline for priests intimidated by their bishops or congregations, is reviewing its clergy caseload as part of its campaign for full employment rights for clergy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Judaism, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

–Revelation 21:22-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Alaska State Troopers Chaplain comes face-to-face with human tragedy

A body is found along a lonely stretch of the Parks Highway at four in the morning. A man discovers his wife at home, who had just committed suicide. A woman, holding a gun threateningly, is shot dead by Alaska State Troopers.

Who do you call when tragedy strikes? In each of these cases, along with the Alaska State Troopers, Father Bill Fournier responded in his new volunteer capacity as a chaplain serving with the troopers.

“We get called mostly for incidents which involve death,” said Father Fournier, “and our role is two-fold. We minister to the troopers themselves, and we support the troopers in ministering to the people who have been affected.”

In addition to his chaplain duties, the priest with a sense of humor and an infectious laugh is also pastor of the 800-family Sacred Heart Church in Wasilla and the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Roman Catholic

A Venture Integrating Skype Into the Family Room

There will soon be something new to watch on the living room TV: your relatives and friends in different parts of the world.

On Tuesday, Panasonic and LG Electronics, two of the top television makers, are to announce that they are integrating the free online calling service Skype into their Internet-connected high-definition televisions.

People who buy these TVs, along with an extra Web camera and microphone accessory designed for the living room, can conduct free, live video chats and phone calls from the couch.

I just love Skype–this looks cool. Check it out.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Science & Technology

ESPN, Discovery launching 3D television networks

ESPN and Discovery Communications announced plans Tuesday to launch the industry’s first 3D television networks.

The sports programmer will introduce a 3D network this summer, while Discovery is joining forces with Sony and Imax for a 3D network to launch in 2011.

The announcements represent a potentially game-changing addition to the TV landscape, which only recently fully embraced another technological shift to high-definition programming.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television, Science & Technology

Ephraim Radner offers some Thoughts on Rowan Williams, the Covenant and recent Anglican Meetings

From here:

I have had my own disappointments and outright disagreements with Canterbury’s chosen course of action at various points over the last few years, and I have shared this with him personally. Where some have urged a “bolder” response to TEC, within the limits of his ecclesial and moral authority, I have urged the same thing. But I categorically reject the charges made here that he has set about to undermine agreements made among the Primates, as at Dar es Salaam, or to manipulate and ignore legal processes such as those in place at the ACC last May.

In the first instance, RW was personally a key player (not the only one) at getting the Dar agreement nominally accepted, through face to face persuasion on the floor, as it were. That has been stated by several GS primates present at the time. But the agreement was also made possible by the compromise work of primates who were not personally disposed to aspects of its content, e.g. Australia. The Dar agreement, in other words, was intrinsically fragile, based as it was on temporary dynamics and uncertain internal commitments. The sense of Lambeth, it soon became apparent, was that its prosecution was thereby vulnerable from the start, and at the first sign of withdrawal of strong support outside of the meeting, Lambeth decided that pressing the agreement concretely would be counterproductive to the agreements actual aims. These “signs” included TEC and AMiA both immediately rejecting key provisions, and their allies quickly standing behind them.

I believe that RW gave up too quickly, choosing instead (as he has consistently done) to rebuild alternative consensus for change through other groups (e.g. the Windsor Continuation Group). This is fair game to debate and criticize, it seems to me. But the notion that RW was the skunk in the patch here is, to put it bluntly, a matter of sinners throwing stones. The Primates Meeting had already proved to be, in certain respects, a place where bishops behaved badly, and the fact that it was judged to be a weak reed should surprise no one. I don’t believe it needed to be left at this place, but again, that is matter for debate.

As for the ACC, we all know that the running of this meeting was a procedural disaster that has set back the ACC’s credibility enormously, fanning the flames of suspicion by all and sundry. No one can mitigate that loss of trust or the justifications in general for that loss. But there is a long way between such generally well-founded worries about the ACC’s ability to do its job fairly and well, and condemning this or that individual with deliberate and malicious intent. “Manipulation” there was, I would think, although any precise assessment of blame is not possible to come by. And Canterbury’s role in this demonstrates confusion””albeit deeply regrettable confusion””rather than strategic subversion. Furthermore, the outcome with respect to the Covenant strikes me as a sign of recognition of this fact: amazingly expeditious revision, and starkly restrained in its focus. People don’t seem to admit mistakes much anymore in public; but the manner of this outcome adds up to an admission of sorts. That is my read of the matter, and I don’t think it is particularly pollyannish. Not, that is, in the face of the anti-Stalinists and anti-Czarists faced off against each other.

I remain convinced that those leaders””bishops, clergy, and laity””who can order their service to the church for the long haul, steadily and solidly faithful, ordered, engaged in commonly established processes of ecclesial life, honest and charitable, and perseverant in their commitments within and for the sake of the people shared (not just locally), will prevail. That is a promise of the Lord, it seems, to “those who endure to the end”. People like Abps. Chew and Mouneer Anis presently, or Gomez recently; and others. And, for all my concerns about this and that, Rowan Williams too has demonstrated a perserverence that is bound to his faith in Christ Jesus as Lord, and not to self-interest. From that certainly I can be strengthened. So should others be, whether or not they can affirm his decisions in this or that particular matter.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Consultative Council, Anglican Covenant, Anglican Primates, Archbishop of Canterbury, Instruments of Unity, Lambeth 2008, Windsor Report / Process

Katharine Jefferts Schori: Find new ways to tell the gospel story

Increasing percentages of the population around us don’t know who we are or why we exist. We need to find new ways of telling the old, old story ”“ ways that are congruent with the joys and challenges of the people and societies around us.

This kind of recontextualizing of the gospel is (and has been) necessary in every age, since the first apostles. The Samaritan woman went home from her water break with Jesus to tell her friends and neighbors about the person she had just encountered (John 4). She didn’t hang around the well waiting for them to show up. She didn’t write a tract and post it next to the bucket. She didn’t even produce a drama to tell the story. She went and found her friends and told her own story.

There is an urgent need for Episcopalians to learn and try new ways of evangelism. Most of them begin by telling our own stories or providing opportunities for others to tell theirs. One of my favorite images of the latter comes from Nelle Morton, which she calls “hearing others into speech” (The Journey is Home, Beacon, 1985). An intrinsic part of our task is to provide opportunities where others can feel safe enough to begin to share their questions and fears and stories about God. Increasingly that’s being done by going out into the community, rather than waiting for people to come to church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Blogging & the Internet, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop

A Prayer for Epiphany (II)

Almighty God, who hast manifested thy Son Jesus Christ to be a light to mankind: Grant that we thy people, being nourished by thy word and sacraments, may be strengthened to show forth to all men the unsearchable riches of Christ, so that he may be known, adored and obeyed, to the ends of the earth; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer