Daily Archives: March 28, 2012

(NY Times) Private Schools Mine Parents’ Data, and Wallets

Shortly after she enrolled her 3-year-old son in a prestigious, $21,000-a-year Upper East Side preschool, Rachael Combe, an editor at Elle, received an invitation from the head of the school to come by for a visit. She assumed the meeting was to discuss how her son was adapting to the school’s curriculum.

Instead, the head of school explained that he was laying the groundwork for a new capital campaign, and that he had already received commitments from various families ”” some up to $1 million. Would Ms. Combe and her husband consider a gift of “even $25,000 to $50,000?”

Relentless fund-raising, be it for the annual fund, the spring benefit or the latest capital campaign, is as much a feature of private schools as small classes and diverse offerings. But with schools hitting the upper limits of what they can charge for tuition, consultants, parents and school heads say the race for donations has become notably more intense and aggressive.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Economy, Education, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Science & Technology

(Encompass) Robert Lundy–Anglican Mission in the Americas: The Aftermath

In 2010, AMiA’s leadership chose to distance themselves from the newly started ACNA. Where AMiA was once an organization with “dual citizenship” within the ACNA as well as Rwanda, it pulled out of the ACNA, changing its status to “mission partner.” Some inside the AMiA were disappointed by this distancing and wanted the opportunity to officially reconnect with the ACNA; now the establishment of PEARUSA by the Archbishop of Rwanda, Onesphore Rwaje, has rekindled hopes for those who want to be structurally within the ACNA.

The Rev. Clark Lowenfield, Rector of Hope Pointe Anglican Church near Houston, Texas is among those formerly in AMiA who are now in PEARUSA and would like to join the ACNA. Lowenfield says there are a number of parishes in his region alone that desire as much, however “there is a very high value on doing things decently and in order” within the group. That’s good news for a mission organization that has been through such turmoil in recent months and is made up of churches that may be headed in different directions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Continuum, Anglican Provinces, Church of Rwanda, Other Churches

Roman Catholics in Cuba, no longer shunned, seek a new role

In interviews at three churches in the capital, parishioners complained ”” openly, and a lot ”” about the economy and voiced a desire to see change come to the island. But regarding the treatment of Catholics, they were content.

“We’re in a state of respect now. We are a normal part of life. It no longer matters if you are Catholic,” said Susana Sanchez, 46, who recalled that “in the first years of the revolution, my generation, the young moved away from the church, but they have been coming back. It’s a space to grow spiritually, to fill a need.”

Santiago Martinez, one of three priests serving the San Juan Bosco church nearby, said that even members of the all-powerful Communist Party attend Mass, and so do government bureaucrats, who in a previous generation would have been branded counterrevolutionaries for bowing their heads at the altar.

Read it all.

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

(RNS) Anglican Communion On the Rocks After "Covenant" Fails

The Covenant had been billed as a way to heal the growing splits within Anglican churches over a range of issues that centered on same-sex unions and homosexual bishops.

One of its biggest supporters was Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who backed the covenant’s call to member churches not to take steps or adopt policies that could antagonize Anglicans in other countries.

Failure to abide by the Covenant would result in a kind of second-tier membership for independent-minded member churches.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, --Rowan Williams, Anglican Covenant, Archbishop of Canterbury, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Windsor Report / Process

Anglican Church of Australia Bishops' protocol on Human Sexuality

From here:

As bishops in the Australian Church we accept the weight of 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and the 2004 General Synod resolutions 33, 59 and 61-64 as expressing the mind of this church on issues of human sexuality.

We undertake to uphold the position of our Church in regard to human sexuality as we ordain, license, authorise or appoint to ministries within our dioceses.

We understand that issues of sexuality are subject to ongoing conversation within our Church and we undertake to support these conversations, while seeking to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

Bishops in the Two Episcopal Dioceses in Kentucky Wager on Upcoming Ky.-Louisville Game

Episcopal Bishop Terry White of Louisville and his colleague Bishop Chilton Knudsen of Lexington have set a wager on Saturday’s Cardinals – Wildcats game. The amount of the wager is shrouded in sacred mystery. If the Cats win Bishop White makes a donation to the Cathedral Domain Camp and Conference Center for the Diocese of Lexington. If the Cardinals win, Bishop Knudsen makes a donation to All Saints Camp and Conference Center for the Diocese of Kentucky.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sports, TEC Bishops

An Ohio Baptist Church cuts debt to aid church planting

Debt can limit a person’s generosity — and a church’s.

Travis Smalley arrived at the Cincinnati-area Lakota Hills Baptist Church six years ago with a vision to plant churches locally, nationally and internationally. But just in Ohio, with just one Southern Baptist church for every 17,868 people, Smalley knew Lakota Hills couldn’t reach everyone.

Yet Smalley’s passion to start churches ran up against a major roadblock — lack of funds.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Baptists, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Food for Thought–On the Other Side of Suffering [Excerpt by Philip Yancey]

Harry Boer, a chaplain during World War II, spent the final days of that war among marines in the Pacific Theater. “The Second Division saw much action, with great losses,” he writes. “Yet I never met an enlisted man or an officer who doubted for a moment the outcome of the war. Nor did I ever meet a marine who asked why, if victory was so sure, we couldn’t have it immediately. It was just a question of slogging through till the enemy gave up.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Evangelicals, History, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

Jana Riess–Eugene Peterson & the Rebirth of the Religious Imagination

You’ve written often about the importance of storytelling, even to the point of suggesting that first-year divinity students should read a diet entirely of fiction — Flannery O’Connor, the Russian novelists, Faulkner. Wonderful idea. How are people transformed by fiction?

I think that their imaginations are transformed. When you’re reading a novel, you’re following a plot and character development. The best writers leave a lot to your imagination. The task of a writer is to get participation from the reader, and you can’t do that by telling them everything. The Bible is that kind of literature. There’s very little explanation””almost no explanation, no definitions. And the writers of Scripture were also, as they were telling these stories, aware of all the other voices that were in the air””Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, Jesus, Paul.

Our school curriculum teaches you how to study. You learn facts. But they don’t do much to help you read in an imaginative way to help you enter the story. That’s what novelists do. So I think a basic immersion in fiction is almost a prerequisite to reading the Bible, to preaching sermons, to teaching classes. Poetry does the same thing, but it takes a different route to do it.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Books, Education, History, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Mark Pinsky: Justice For Trayvon Martin: Where Are Our White Faith Leaders?

Why were white clergy so reluctant to engage in this issue? It may be because they lead suburban congregations composed by and large of parishioners whose daily lives are socially isolated, antiseptic, homogeneous, and largely segregated by race and class. It may also be the lingering legacy of the South, except that many of the faith leaders, like those in the pews, have moved here from other regions of the country. They have different explanations for the silence. They may simply have been waiting for all the facts of the incident to emerge, and not rush to judgment.

“To be honest, I don’t know why,” said the Rev. David Charlton, the recently arrive pastor of Sanford’s First United Methodist Church. “I don’t have a good answer, and it’s happened on my front steps.”

Read it all (and alert blog readers are asked to note the quote from Bishop Greg Brewer mentioned in the previous blog post–KSH)

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to at KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Rural/Town Life, Violence

The Consecration of the Rev. Gregory O. Brewer as Fourth Bishop of Central Florida

“To be here is not merely a matter of convenience because of the size of the church,” Bishop Brewer said immediately after the consecration. “I really hope that this is a very clear, public signal that we, along with the rest of the leadership in the Diocese of Central Florida, regardless of our denominational position, can stand together for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

When a bishop is to be ordained, the Presiding Bishop of the Church, or a bishop appointed by the Presiding Bishop, presides and serves as chief consecrator. In the case of Bishop Brewer, Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori appointed the Rt. Rev. Clifton Daniel III, Diocese of East Carolina, as bishop presiding at the consecration.

Read it all.

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

(Christian Century) New clergy, new churches–Church planting as a first call

The Presbyterians have sent new seminary graduates to plant churches across the country, resulting, for example, in Sweaty Sheep, a ministry to runners and cyclists in Louisville, and Hot Metal Bridge, a church in Pittsburgh that opened in a tattoo parlor and then bought a vacant tavern. Other church plants reflect the New Monasticism movement, including a Presbyterian congregation in Pittsburgh, Lutheran missions in Austin and Seattle and a Methodist church in Nashville. Many of these churches are affiliated with intentional communities. The Episcopalians have a disco mass in San Francisco, a liturgy for the homeless on Boston Common, a church and community center for Latinos in Fort Lauderdale and the Art & Soul Café in St. Louis. All were started by recently ordained or not yet ordained ministers.

Carol Howard Merritt, pastor and author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation, applauds these initiatives. “As we head into a time of transition in all of our denominations, when a lot of our churches are closing, it’s good to have a lot of energy going into starting new churches.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Evangelism and Church Growth, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(CBS) Forced conversions hike Pakistan minorities' fears

Hindu and Christian representatives say forced conversions to Islam have become the latest weapon of Islamic extremists in what they call a growing campaign against Pakistan’s religious minorities, on top of assassinations and mob intimidation of houses of worship. The groups are increasingly wondering if they still have a place in Pakistan.

“It is a conspiracy that Hindus and Christians and other minorities should leave Pakistan,” says Amar Lal, the lawyer representing Kumari in the Supreme Court. “As a minority, we feel more and more insecure. It is getting worse day by day.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Hinduism, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Living Church) Leander Harding on the SCLM Draft Report–Redefining Marriage?

This report envisions far more than a pastoral provision for same-sex couples. It represents an official turning point in the debate via an entirely new teaching about the nature and significance of marriage and the biological family, according to which not only procreation but male and female themselves are made optional and accidental ingredients. If such a redefinition of Christian marriage is accepted, it will represent a stunning victory for a Gnostic ”” and Pelagian ”” version of Christianity, that can only further damage the already fragile unity of our church.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, - Anglican: Analysis, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Most merciful Lord, who hast taught us that the pure in heart shall see God: Cleanse our hearts from all impurity; give us such hatred of all that is evil, and such love of all that is beautiful and good, that we may be delivered from temptation, and become a strength to others who are tempted; for the glory of thy name.

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