Daily Archives: September 23, 2010

Lovett H. Weems Jr. (Christian Century)–The decline in worship attendance

Many people assume that there has been a steady decline in worship attendance for all the mainline denominations since the mid-1960s””the era when most of them began to see their memberships decline. But trends in attendance””usually thought to be a better indicator of church vitality than trends in membership””have actually followed their own patterns.

For example, the Episcopal Church re ported higher attendance in 2000 than in any year since 1991, the year the denomination began recording attendance figures. The United Methodist Church re ported worship attendance figures in 2000 that were higher than those in the mid-1980s. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America had relatively flat attendance rates in the years before 2001, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in the 1990s had several years showing modest gains in attendance.

But the years following 2001 have shown a deep recession in worship attendance (see graph below). The losses in worshipers year after year were more dramatic than what data from the previous decade would have predicted.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, TEC Data

(CBC) In Canada an Anglican bishop shops for parishioners on street

Anglican Bishop Sue Moxley is determined to get more people into church, even if she has to go out and get them.

Moxley, leader of the Anglican church in Nova Scotia and P.E.I., handed out invitations to passersby on the Halifax waterfront Wednesday morning. In full bishop’s regalia, she certainly stood out.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Women

GBC–Archbishop Desmond Tutu Visits Ghana

The former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, in South Africa, Desmond Tutu arrives in Ghana on Thursday for a three-day visit. He is visiting Ghana at the instance of Anglo-Gold Ashanti. South Africa and Ghana are joint share holders in Anglo-Gold Ashanti.

Nice picture–read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Central Africa

Irish Times–Papal Visit that could have been disaster bordered on triumphant

The visit by Pope Benedict XVI to England and Scotland last week could have been a disaster. Indeed, more than a few involved were worried: about the crowds who would come to see him and the prospect of large-scale demonstrations, and about the often gratuitously antagonistic commentary in much of the British press in the days before he arrived.

Instead, it bordered on the triumphant. Decent crowds, if not those matching the 1982 visit of Pope John Paul II, turned out to see him. Even larger numbers gathered as his popemobile passed by in Edinburgh, London and Birmingham, though a significant percentage were not locals, but tourists, or eastern European immigrants.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

RNS–Spirituality Meets Consumerism at Joyce Meyer Conference

The scene near the concession stands resembled something closer to a strip mall on Black Friday than the hour preceding a worship service.

Hundreds of women lined up outside a temporary “boutique” with displays of $25 T-shirts and $40 hoodies emblazoned with messages like “Love Revolution” and “Think Happy Thoughts.”

A staff member controlling the flow of shoppers wondered aloud whether a bullhorn would help.

Nearby, a crush of women lined up three deep to pick up copies of DVDs and books, most bearing the smiling face of Joyce Meyer, the woman they’d all paid an average of $55 to see and hear.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Spirituality/Prayer, Women

The Tablet–Anglican bishops encouraged by papal visit

Relations between the Catholic Church and the Church of England were strengthened by the Pope’s visit, according to leading Anglican bishops, writes Victoria Combe.

The Bishop of Oxford and the Bishop of Guildford both spoke of the positive impact the papal visit will have on strengthening ties between the denominations.

The Rt Rev John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, said he was struck by the emphasis on “common stories and friendship” by both the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

The Rt Rev Christopher Hill, of Guildford, a passionate ecumenist, said the visit had “given real encouragement to local churches to work together”. He also said Pope Benedict’s visit had helped heal any hurt felt among bishops about the Vatican’s proposal for an Anglican Ordinariate.

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Posted in Uncategorized

WSJ: New Way to Treat Deadly Heart Problem

Some people suffering from a life-threatening heart condition known as severe aortic stenosis could benefit from an experimental treatment that avoids open-heart surgery to replace the aortic valve, a new study indicates.

As many as 1.5 million Americans have aortic stenosis, a progressive narrowing of the aortic valve that prevents blood from being pumped from the heart to the body and brain. About 300,000 of these people have a sufficiently severe condition as to require an artificial replacement. But open-heart surgery can be too risky for about one out of three of these patients, many of whom are elderly. For them, there is currently no effective treatment.

The experimental therapy, developed by Edwards Lifesciences Corp., of Irvine, Calif., is designed to place a new aortic valve in position in the heart without major surgery. The replacement valve is attached to a catheter, which is threaded through blood vessels until it reaches the heart.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

Local Paper Front Page: North Charleston gives Cooper River proposal initial OK for casino boat plan

North Charleston City Council opened the door Wednesday night for gambling boats to sail out of the Cooper River, rejecting the idea of a citywide referendum next year.

In a series of votes, council gave initial approval to the casino boat package. And since Mayor Keith Summey appears to have the majority six council votes he needs to pass the final measure, the boats could begin operating from the waterfront as soon as this winter if all of the necessary City Code changes pass in the coming weeks.

Speaking to a council committee, Summey said the boats would not be a radical introduction of the vice of gambling, pointing out that the state already backs games of chance by running a lottery.

I have one word for this–mistake. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Theology

Significant Developments in Terror Threats Since 9/11, Officials Say

The nation’s top counterterrorism officials were blunt. The threat from within—of Americans willing to commit terrorist acts— is growing. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told a congressional hearing today that a spike in recent terrorism cases is direct evidence of the evolving threat.

“Groups affiliated with al Qaeda are now actively targeting the United States and looking to use Americans or Westerners who are able to remain undetected by heightened security measures,” Mueller said. “It appears domestic extremism and radicalization appears to have become more pronounced based on the number of disruptions and incidents.”

Mueller appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee along with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and National Counterterrorism Chief Michael Leiter.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Terrorism, The U.S. Government

CSM–Roman Catholic Church backs Muslim struggle to build Milan's first mosque

American pundits and politicians continue to argue over whether building an Islamic cultural center two blocks from ground zero ”“ where Al Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center nine years ago ”“ is appropriate.

But as the debate, centered around religious freedom and the role Islam itself played in the 9/11 attacks, continues in New York another of the world’s great cultural cities is arguing over a proposal for its first mosque. And proponents are getting help from an unlikely corner: the Vatican.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Islam, Italy, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Seeking Kashmir Peace, India Feels Anger of Residents

The Indian members of Parliament left their shoes on the floor beneath a wall covered in photographs of slain Kashmiris. The five men sat cross-legged on the floor of the headquarters of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, staring into a throng of television cameras as they delivered a carefully scripted message of reconciliation.

“We have come to get your counsel,” said Ram Vilas Paswan, a member of Parliament, turning to the leader of the Liberation Front, a former guerrilla fighter named Yasin Malik. “What is the way out? What is the way to stop the bloodshed?”

For more than 100 days, in which Indian security officers have killed more than 100 Kashmiri civilians, the Indian government has seemed paralyzed, or even indifferent, as this disputed Himalayan region has plunged into one of the gravest crises of its tortured history.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, India, Pakistan, Politics in General, Psychology

Tom Friedman on China and America: Too Many Hamburgers?

To visit China today as an American is to compare and to be compared. And from the very opening session of this year’s World Economic Forum here in Tianjin, our Chinese hosts did not hesitate to do some comparing. China’s CCTV aired a skit showing four children ”” one wearing the Chinese flag, another the American, another the Indian, and another the Brazilian ”” getting ready to run a race. Before they take off, the American child, “Anthony,” boasts that he will win “because I always win,” and he jumps out to a big lead. But soon Anthony doubles over with cramps. “Now is our chance to overtake him for the first time!” shouts the Chinese child. “What’s wrong with Anthony?” asks another. “He is overweight and flabby,” says another child. “He ate too many hamburgers.”

That is how they see us.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, China, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Foreign Relations, Globalization

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord, our heavenly Father, by whose providence the duties of men are variously ordered: Grant to us all such a spirit that we may labour heartily to do our work in our several stations, as serving one Master and looking for one reward. Teach us to put to good account whatever talents thou hast lent to us, and enable us to redeem our time by patience and zeal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help.

–Psalm 146:1-3

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

ENS–Group in the Diocese of South Carolina asks church leadership for investigation

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts