Daily Archives: January 10, 2012

(Inquirer) Eastern Pennsylvania Churches struggle with declining congregations

While the public eye is focused on the troubles of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia – which announced Friday that it would close four high schools, and shutter or merge 44 elementary schools – the struggles of St. James Episcopal and Leiper Presbyterian are illustrative of the demographic trends that likewise have battered mainline Protestant congregations.

“Across the board, it’s increasingly tough sledding,” said David Roozen, director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, which studies trends in faith life.

The congregations often face dwindling membership and aging buildings. Finances are shrinking, no thanks to the floundering economy, and that hinders the offering of programming that can attract young families, Roozen said.

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

(RNS) It’s 2012, Which Means Another Doomsday May Be upon Us

On Dec. 21, 2012, the Mayan calendar reaches the end of its 5,126 epoch. That’s a cause of consternation among some end-times adherents, and amusement among some descendants of the Maya.
Fresh from having survived one end-of-the-world prediction””a two-stage affair covering 2011’s drop-dead dates of May 21 and Oct. 21””we now plunge into the countdown for End Times 2012.

Should you be inclined, you can use your smart phone to check how many days are remaining before a date that was carved into rock by a pre-Columbian civilization.

You can blame””or credit””the Maya for the commotion. Or, more likely, their New Age adherents.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Eschatology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Bishop of Liverpool says too many people are being jailed

Too many criminals are sent to prison and punishing them in public instead could be more effective, the Bishop of Liverpool said today.

The Right Reverend James Jones, the Anglican bishop for prisons, said it was simply not enough to lock up criminals.

He added that community payback schemes could act as a deterrent for others and help to reduce reoffending.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Prison/Prison Ministry

Ordinariate: Another Anglican bishop answers Pope Benedict’s call

Former Anglican monk and bishop, Robert Mercer, has been received into the full communion of the Catholic Church by Monsignor Keith Newton through the Personal Ordinariate of
Our Lady of Walsingham.

On Saturday 7 January, Mgr Newton celebrated Mass according to the Book of Divine Worship at the historic church of St Agatha’s, Portsmouth, by kind permission of the Reverend John Maunder, who cares for the Traditional Anglican Communion faithful in that area.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Faith Leaders Criticize Decision to Legalize Expansion of Online Gambling

Phil Blackwell, pastor of Chicago Temple (United Methodist Church) in Chicago, said the opinion legalized the lottery online, but it did not change the fact that the Illinois lottery is “cynical, short-sighted and cowardly.”

Blackwell characterized the thinking of Illinois lawmakers this way: “‘Since people are going to throw away their money on gambling anyway, let’s get as much of it as we can.’ Unlike levying a ‘sin tax’ on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes, by devising and promoting the lottery the state government is the pusher of the ‘sin’ itself, dedicated to producing more and bigger losers in order to make it pay.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Blogging & the Internet, Gambling, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

C of E Statement on the report of the Commission for Assisted Dying

The ‘Commission on Assisted Dying’ is a self-appointed group that excluded from its membership anyone with a known objection to assisted suicide. In contrast, the majority of commissioners, appointed personally by Lord Falconer, were already in favour of changing the law to legitimise assisted suicide. Lord Falconer has, himself, been a leading proponent for legitimising assisted suicide, for some years.

The commission undertook a quest to find effective safeguards that could be put in place to avoid abuse of any new law legitimising assisted suicide. Unsurprisingly, given the commission’s composition, it has claimed to have found such safeguards.

Unlike the commissioners, we are unconvinced that the commission has been successful in its quest….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(AP) Eddie Pells–Media tries to adjust to Tim Tebow

Entertaining as all that has been, it has made fans and the media rethink the way they judge and cover their sports stars. Reporting that a player was including the Lord in his postgame analysis has long been widely thought of as trite and inappropriate, something to simply skip over when typing in the quotes.

Tebow’s five fourth-quarter comebacks and his four overtime victories ”” each more improbable than the last ”” and his steady, genuine, yet somehow unassuming insistence on bringing God into the conversation has forced an uncomfortable question upon those who want to make it only about what happens between the lines.

In a sports season filled with unsavory stories ”” NFL and NBA labor wars, child sex abuse scandals at Penn State and Syracuse, and a baseball MVP accused of using steroids ”” Tebow is seen by many as a sports star who really could be a role model.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Evangelicals, Media, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sports

(BBC) Vatican used Wikipedia for new cardinals' biographies

The Vatican has acknowledged that it used Wikipedia to produce biographies of 22 new cardinals that were sent out to journalists.

The biographies were copied from the Italian version of the user-edited online encyclopedia, word for word in some cases, and without attribution.

One clue was that many new cardinals were described as being “Catholic”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Globalization, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology

Anglican Alliance launches an on-line consultation today

Food security and climate change were singled out as the key subjects for global advocacy, with commitments also for the Anglican Alliance to support regional advocacy on migrants and refugees, and peace-building in countries affected by conflict.

Relief is the third pillar of the Alliance’s work. The Anglican Alliance has been mandated to support communities affected by all types of conflict, natural and conflict-related. And it should help develop Anglican expertise in supporting people with disabilities in emergencies.

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Posted in Uncategorized

In Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V we trust: File sharing made an official Swedish religion on Third Request

Since 2010 a group of self-confessed pirates have tried to get their beliefs recognized as an official religion in Sweden. After their request was denied several times, the Church of Kopimism ”“ which holds CTRL+C and CTRL+V as sacred symbols ”“ is now approved by the authorities as an official religion. The Church hopes that its official status will remove the legal stigma that surrounds file-sharing.

All around the world file-sharers are being chased by anti-piracy outfits and the authorities, and the situation in Sweden is no different. While copyright holders are often quick to label file-sharers as pirates, there is a large group of people who actually consider copying to be a sacred act.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Sweden

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Laud

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like thy servant William Laud, we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Blessed Jesus, who by the shining of a star didst manifest thyself to them that sought thee: Show thy heavenly light to us, and give us grace to follow until we find thee; finding, to rejoice in thee; and rejoicing, to present to thee ourselves, our souls and bodies, for thy service for evermore: for thine honour and glory.

–Edward Hawkins

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

–Genesis 3:6-10

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Toledo, [Ohio], Blade) Historic St. Mark's Episcopal, Trinity downtown to merge

Changing demographics, a declining and aging membership, and economic pressures forced the congregation to make some tough decisions, and rather than close completely or move to the suburbs, it voted to merge with another historic Toledo church, Trinity Episcopal downtown.

Friday’s service, being held on the Feast of the Epiphany, in some ways marks the completion of a circle for the two congregations.

“It’s interesting that St. Mark’s began as a mission Sunday school of Trinity Church, actually beginning in the rectory of Trinity Church in 1888,” said Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth, Jr., who will preside at the evensong service.

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

A Birmingham News Profile of Alabama Episcopal Bishop Kee Sloan

[Bishop John McKee ‘Kee’] Sloan, a soft-spoken man known for his work with the disabled in summer programs at Camp McDowell, has a firm grasp of how he wants to lead the diocese.

“The diocesan office should not be detached, remote, long-distance,” Sloan said. “It has to be more hands-on, with trust and affection.”

Sloan assumes the reins as a diocesan leader after watching for years as liberals and conservatives battled over issues related to the growing acceptance of openly practicing homosexuals as priests and bishops. That caused defections and ill feelings.

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