Daily Archives: September 18, 2011

Church of Ireland Gazette Editorial–Civil Partnership Controversy

While civil partnership is not marriage and does not necessarily involve same- sex sexual expression, there is a very wide perception that it is a form of gay marriage, and perceptions are, of course, often as important as facts. No doubt for this reason, and also because the Christian ethical aspect of same-sex expression is theologically highly contentious, Church of England bishops ask clergy entering civil partnerships to give an undertaking that their relationship is celibate. Differing views on this subject have co-existed in a relatively settled way in the Church of Ireland during the whole inter-Anglican debate over recent years, but what has now developed jeopardises that situation. While those on one side see an advance for gay rights in the Church, those on the other side feel that there has been an unacceptable, unilateral move on the subject. There is thus a sense of ”˜log-jam’, and it is dangerous.

This is a time both for an honest speaking of minds and for action that displays Christian grace….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Vincent Nichols on Interreligious Relations

During the riots in August, for example, there were many moments in which the richness of the faith communities delivered vital correctives and action. Clergy were on the streets trying to calm and correct. I heard of one priest who was able to direct young boys back home, preventing them from picking up looted goods lying on the street and thereby risking life-changing arrest and prosecution. Churches and religious centres acted as focal points for those who wished to express their desire and determination for peace and solidarity with the victims of damage. And here in Birmingham was the most well-known example of all: the words and actions of Mr Tariq Jahan.

As we all know, in the very heart of a grievous family tragedy, he was able, on the basis of his faith, to summon and express great concern for others. Rather than express an understandable anger his appeal was eloquent and effective: ”˜Today we stand here to call to all the youth to remain calm, for our communities to stay united. This is not a race issue’ he said. ”˜The families have received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of the communities, from all faiths, all colours and backgrounds.’ His appeal was direct and passionate: ”˜I have lost my son. If you want to lose yours step forward, otherwise calm down and go home.’

This is faith in action, in its depth and dignity, a major contribution to our common good. And it has been seen and understood by so many. To Mr Jahan can be addressed the words of Pope Benedict, from a year ago, when he expressed the Catholic Church’s appreciation for ”˜the important witness that you bear as spiritual men and women living at a time when religious convictions are not always understood or appreciated.’

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(RNS) Some churches cancel Sunday school, put parents in charge

Don’t look for children’s Sunday school classes at Ridgewood Church in Port Arthur, Texas. And forget about scavenger hunts and water park trips: the youth ministry is no more.

Sound like a dying church?

No, it’s a family-integrated congregation, whose leaders wanted parents ”” rather than Sunday school teachers and youth ministers ”” to spiritually train their children. Driven by statistics about youth leaving church after high school, they’ve turned to the Bible as their sole educational text and shunned age-segregated structures.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–Paul Farmer on Haiti after the Quake

As the slow recovery continues in Haiti after last year’s earthquake, there’s a new book out called Haiti after the Earthquake. It’s by the much-admired Paul Farmer, a medical doctor, a professor at the Harvard Medical School, and a cofounder of the humanitarian aid group Partners in Health. For a quarter of a century, Farmer has worked, primarily in Haiti but in other countries, too, to provide good medical care to the poorest of the poor.

Farmer was in Washington this week signing books and talking about what he says are the two big challenges of relief and reconstruction: helping individuals in need, as so many faith-based groups do, and at the same time building up public health, public education, and other systems that help everyone. Farmer spoke as the head of one of the hundreds of aid organizations in Haiti.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Haiti, Health & Medicine, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Religion & Culture

(AP) Behind the poverty numbers: real lives, real pain

At a food pantry in a Chicago suburb, a 38-year-old mother of two breaks into tears.

She and her husband have been out of work for nearly two years. Their house and car are gone. So is their foothold in the middle class and, at times, their self-esteem.

“It’s like there is no way out,” says Kris Fallon.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Children, Marriage & Family, Poverty

Local paper–St. Andrew's rector named vicar general for Anglican churches in Carolinas

Since it severed ties with the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of South Carolina, St. Andrew’s Church-Mount Pleasant has grown. And now it has secured a central role in a new diocese in formation, part of the Anglican Church in North America.

The Rev. Steve Wood, rector of St. Andrew’s, was appointed vicar general of the not-yet-official Diocese of the Carolinas, which includes eight churches in North and South Carolina and one more that’s still being established.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Departing Parishes

Europeans leave summit with no new strategy to deal with continent’s debt crisis

European officials ended a two-day financial summit Saturday with no new concrete plans to help support euro-area countries that are having difficulty repaying their debts, as deep divisions remained about the best course for the coming weeks and months.

On Saturday, the officials discussed but failed to agree on a proposal to tax financial transactions. Greece is likely to run out of cash by mid-October if it does not receive billions of euros of bailout money, potentially setting off a financial contagion that could hop from bank to bank and country to country.

But European officials remain undecided on whether Greece has done enough of the spending cuts and reforms that it had promised to carry out as a condition of taking the money.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Episcopal Church House of Bishops daily account for Sept.17, 2011

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

Irish Rupture With Vatican Sets Off a Transformation

Even as it remains preoccupied with its struggling economy, Ireland is in the midst of a profound transformation, as rapid as it is revolutionary: it is recalibrating its relationship to the Roman Catholic Church, an institution that has permeated almost every aspect of life here for generations.

This is still a country where abortion is against the law, where divorce became legal only in 1995, where the church runs more than 90 percent of the primary schools and where 87 percent of the population identifies itself as Catholic. But the awe, respect and fear the Vatican once commanded have given way to something new ”” rage, disgust and defiance ”” after a long series of horrific revelations about decades of abuse of children entrusted to the church’s care by a reverential populace.

While similar disclosures have tarnished the Vatican’s image in other countries, perhaps nowhere have they shaken a whole society so thoroughly or so intensely as in Ireland….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church/State Matters, England / UK, History, Ireland, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord our God, give us more love, more denial of self, more likeness to thee. Teach us that it is better to give than to receive, better to forget ourselves than to put ourselves forward, better to serve than to be waited on; and unto thee, the God of love, be praise and glory for ever.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength. Yea, the world is established; it shall never be moved; thy throne is established from of old; thou art from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice, the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty! Thy decrees are very sure; holiness befits thy house, O LORD, for evermore.

–Psalm 93

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Episcopal Church House of Bishops daily account for Sept.16, 2011

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

(IMO) North America's Prettiest City

EF – Live The Language – Vancouver from Gustav Johansson on Vimeo.

Watch it all–I lived there for two years in graduate school, and our oldest daughter Abigail has just moved there for the same reason–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Canada, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

Terry Crawford-Browne–South Africa must Remove the stench of corruption

The arms deal has been described by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) as “the litmus test of South Africa’s commitment to democracy and good governance”. We rightly take pride in our constitution. There is nothing more destructive of democracy than corruption.

The arms deal represents the betrayal of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, hence my commitment for the past 15 years to expose the corruption which the arms deal unleashed.

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane assigned me to represent the Anglican Church at the 1996-98 parliamentary defence review. The defence white paper acknowledged that there was no conceivable foreign military threat to our country and that eradication of poverty was the prime priority in the post-apartheid era.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Anglican Provinces, Law & Legal Issues

(NY Times Magazine) The Cyborg in Us All

For years, computers have been creeping ever nearer to our neurons. Thousands of people have become cyborgs, of a sort, for medical reasons: cochlear implants augment hearing and deep-brain stimulators treat Parkinson’s. But within the next decade, we are likely to see a new kind of implant, designed for healthy people who want to merge with machines. With several competing technologies in development, scientists squabble over which device works best; no one wants theirs to end up looking like the Betamax of brain wear. Schalk is a champion of the ECoG implant because, unlike other devices, it does not pierce brain tissue; instead it can ride on top of the brain-blood barrier, sensing the activity of populations of neurons and passing their chatter to the outside world, like a radio signal. Schalk says this is the brain implant most likely to evolve into a consumer product that could send signals to a prosthetic hand, an iPhone, a computer or a car.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Science & Technology, Theology