Daily Archives: July 25, 2010

Lowell (Massachusetts) Sun: Episcopal churches share priest, renewed vigor

People begin to stroll out of Trinity Chapel in Shirley after a service on a Sunday morning. The Rev. Marsha Hoecker jumps into her car and drives away.

In a few minutes, the spacious 110-year-old country chapel with a large gable roof disappears in the rear-view mirror. Hoecker drives several more miles and pulls into a small parking lot on the side of busy Route 119 in Pepperell, in front of a Colonial house with an antique shop in its annex. The two-story-tall cross hanging on the side of the structure is the only indication that it’s a house of God.

As she walks in, though, she says she finds the same enthusiasm among the parishioners to celebrate God with her as she does at Trinity.

Hoecker has kept busy during the past 10 months, serving Trinity Chapel Episcopal Church in Shirley and St. David’s Episcopal Church in Pepperell, after the parishes agreed to share resources.

Read it all.

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

Time Magazine: The Case Against Summer Vacation

Blame Tom Sawyer: Americans have a skewed view of childhood and summertime. We associate the school year with oppression and the summer months with liberty. School is regimen; summer is creativity. School is work and summer is play. But when American students are competing with children around the globe who may be spending four weeks longer in school each year, larking through summer is a luxury we can’t afford. What’s more, for many children ”” especially children of low-income families ”” summer is a season of boredom, inactivity and isolation.

Deprived of healthy stimulation, millions of low-income kids lose a significant amount of what they learn during the school year. Call it “summer learning loss,” as the academics do, or “the summer slide,” but by any name summer is among the most pernicious ”” if least acknowledged ”” causes of achievement gaps in America’s schools….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Poverty

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly: The Spiritual Implications of the Oil Spill

Watch….[as the following people speak] from New Orleans Roman Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond, Margaret Dubuisson of Catholic Charities of the New Orleans Archdiocese, and Rev. John Dee Jeffries, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Chalmette, discussing the spiritual toll of the oil spill crisis for people along the Gulf Coast.

You may find the video link here.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

The Economist Leader: Rough justice–America locks up too many people

IN 2000 four Americans were charged with importing lobster tails in plastic bags rather than cardboard boxes, in violation of a Honduran regulation that Honduras no longer enforces. They had fallen foul of the Lacey Act, which bars Americans from breaking foreign rules when hunting or fishing. The original intent was to prevent Americans from, say, poaching elephants in Kenya. But it has been interpreted to mean that they must abide by every footling wildlife regulation on Earth. The lobstermen had no idea they were breaking the law. Yet three of them got eight years apiece. Two are still in jail.

America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens…. One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of America’s level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Law & Legal Issues, Prison/Prison Ministry

NPR–Robert Duvall's Cinematic Take On Faith

Duvall pioneered this more understated approach to faith in his 1983 film Tender Mercies. His performance earned him an Oscar and the enthusiasm of Christian moviegoers. His character, Mac Sledge, is a once-famous country music star who is broken by drink. He does not find redemption in a fiery born-again experience; indeed, after his baptism he confesses he doesn’t feel very different ”” “not yet” at any rate. His redemption comes gradually, through his love for the Christian woman who befriends him.

Jesus doesn’t fix his problems or make for smooth sailing, either, and he has a crisis of faith when his daughter is killed in a car accident.

“I don’t trust happiness,” the character says. “I never did and I never will.”

His faith survives, but the movie never tells us why.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Movies & Television, Other Churches, Pentecostal, Religion & Culture

AP: Some skip church, worship in homes

To get to church on a recent Sunday, the Yeldell family just walked to their own living room to greet fellow worshippers.

Members of this “house church” are part of what experts say is a fundamental shift in the way U.S. Christians think about church. Skip the sermons, costly church buildings and large, faceless crowds, they say. House church is about relationships forged in small faith communities.

In general, house churches consist of 12 to 15 people who share what’s going on in their lives, often turning to Scriptures for guidance. They rely on the Holy Spirit or spontaneity to lead the direction of their weekly gatherings.

“I think part of the appeal for some in the house church movement is the desire to return to a simpler expression of church,” said Ed Stetzer, a seminary professor and president of Lifeway Research, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. “For many, church has become too much (like a) business while they just want to live like the Bible.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture

NPR–China’s Divided Catholics Seek Reconciliation

For decades, China’s Catholics ”” estimated at more than 12 million ”” have been bitterly divided. Some worship in China’s government-sanctioned Catholic churches, others in “underground” churches loyal to the Vatican.

But three years ago, Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to Chinese Catholics ”” the first from a pope in more than a half-century ”” urging reconciliation. Yet China’s Catholics have struggled to follow these instructions.

Early morning in Sheshan, on the outskirts of Shanghai, Catholics kneel on the ground in front of the pilgrimage shrine to the Virgin Mary, known as the Marian shrine. A cacophony of prayer rises as different groups of pilgrims conduct their services, singing hymns of praise almost loud enough to drown each other out.
Many of these groups of believers refuse to enter the government-sanctioned church nearby. They are part of the “underground” church, even though on this day they are worshipping openly and unimpeded. Some of these believers refuse to take Holy Communion from Beijing’s officially appointed bishops, and instead follow bishops chosen by the Vatican.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, China, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Prayer for Growth and Grace

O Almighty God, from whom every good prayer cometh, and who pourest out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and supplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind; that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affection we may worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Youth Ministry

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

–Joshua 24:14,15

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop of York urges Stoke-on-Trent to keep faith during hard times

The Anglican Church’s second most senior cleric, after the Archbishop of Canterbury, joined faith and civic leaders from across the city at a special event last night to celebrate the federation of the six towns 100 years ago.

Ugandan-born Dr Sentamu, who was the country’s first black archbishop, was guest speaker at the King’s Hall event organised to highlight the contribution of faith to the area over the past 100 years.

Addressing around 250 guests, he said: “Great people of this city may I be with you to banish fear.

“Fear has a crippling effect more than anything else. We will not be afraid.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Religion & Culture, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

2 U.S. soldiers missing in Afghanistan; 5 killed by bombs

By any measure, Saturday was a very bad day in Afghanistan for U.S. forces: a convergence of two dreaded battlefield events.

Two U.S. soldiers were missing and feared captured or killed by the Taliban, military and Afghan officials said. And five other U.S. service members were killed by improvised explosive devices, which now pose a greater threat to life and limb for Western troops than at any point in the nine-year war.

Details of what exactly had befallen the two missing men were murky. The NATO force said in a statement that they had left their base Friday and had not been heard from since. A search was underway, it said.

Read the whole thing.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, War in Afghanistan

Orthodox Anglicans Urged to Hold Fast to Sound Teaching

Hundreds of orthodox Anglicans were urged on Friday to uphold Scripture as the church in the West continues to abandon Christ’s path.

“The Western world has become afraid or is unwilling to acknowledge that there is right and wrong ”“ that there is good and evil,” Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, primate of the Church of Nigeria, told members of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. “The West, Nations and Church, are disinheriting their Christian inheritance.”

Okoh was bringing greetings to CANA members who gathered in Herndon, Va., this week for their annual council meeting. CANA was established by the Church of Nigeria three years ago for those who were discontent with the liberal direction of The Episcopal Church ”“ the U.S. body of Anglicanism ”“ but who still wanted to remain tied with the global Anglican Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, CANA, Church of Nigeria, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Andrew Ferguson on Newsweek's Struggles: Don’t Give Readers What They Want

[The editor of Newsweek]… ignored the truth that the old newsmagazine editors lived by: journalists who write to satisfy people like themselves will soon run out of readers. The magazine that lies dying in Don Graham’s arms violated this rule week by week.

To cite one obvious example: newsweeklies annually marked Christian holidays with a cover story on a religious theme, always respectful and sometimes celebratory in tone. I’m sure it was a strain, an exercise in self-denial; few journalists are religious in any conventional sense. The new Newsweek, by contrast, published holiday issues that any good secular journalist would like to read. One issue near Christmas offered a long and fallacious cover story on “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage.” Easter came and the magazine feted “The End of Christian America.” Pieces like this weren’t so much a challenge to traditionally religious readers as a declaration of war. Why not just put a bullet in the Easter Bunny while you’re at it?

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, History, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Great NBC Video Report on One Heroic Woman's Fight Against Hunger in Ohio's Appalachian Foothills

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch it all

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Hunger/Malnutrition, Poverty, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--