Daily Archives: May 7, 2012

United Methodist General Conference lowers apportionments

General Conference 2012 approved a budget of $603.1 million for seven general church funds during the 2013-2016 period; that total is 6.03 percent less than the amount apportioned for the previous four-year period ”“”“ the first time the assembly has accepted a lower budget than the amount set for the preceding period.

That sounds like a whopping amount, but local churches should not count on huge savings, since only 2 cents out of every dollar in the collection plates goes to support general church ministries. Also, costs of annual conference operations, clergy pension benefits and inflationary costs are likely to increase local church costs.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Economy, Methodist, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(ENS) Episcopal Dioceses of Quincy and Chicago continue reunification talks

On Saturday, April 28, leaders of the Dioceses of Chicago and Quincy met in Chicago to continue discussing the possible reunification of the two dioceses, which were created when the Diocese of Illinois divided into three in 1877. Provisional Bishop John Buchanan of Quincy, and Bishop Jeffrey Lee and Assisting Bishop Christopher Epting, both of Chicago, attended the meeting along with clergy and lay leaders from both dioceses.

The assembled leaders agreed to develop a plan and timeline for future reunification discussions, which will continue with a meeting on August 18. Both dioceses hold their annual conventions in the fall ”” Quincy in October and Chicago in November ”” and plan to discuss reunification possibilities at those meetings.

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

NATO airstrikes said to kill civilians in two Afghan provinces

NATO airstrikes killed Afghan civilians in two provinces, local officials reported Monday, and at least two dozen others died when floods swept through villages in a third province.

The extent of the alleged civilian casualties from NATO airstrikes in recent days in Badghis and Helmand provinces was not immediately clear. A spokesman for NATO-led troops in Kabul said the coalition was aware of the allegations of civilian casualties in the provinces but had no immediate comment.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

(Salt Lake Tribune) Mormon Method Switch May Mislead as to their Real Growth Rate

If you suspected the newly released U.S. Religion Census overstated the LDS Church’s growth rate, you were right. That’s because, this time around, the Utah-based faith changed the way it reported its membership to the researchers….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Mormons, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(ACNS) Announcement of the New Dean for the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr, Jerusalem

I am delighted to announce the appointment of The Reverend Canon Hosam Elias Naoum as the new Dean of the Cathedral Church of Saint George the Martyr in Jerusalem.

Canon Naoum, 38, has served as the Canon Pastor of the Cathedral since 2005, and was the Acting Dean for three years (2007-2009). As Dean, Canon Naoum will continue to serve as Pastor to the Arabic and English-Speaking Congregations at the Cathedral. He did his first theological training at the College of the Transfiguration and Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, and a Master of Theology degree in Canon Law (MTS) at the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), Alexandria, Virginia in the USA.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Israel, Middle East, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Corporate chaplain Nate Schroder finds way to stay true to faith

Corporate chaplains have been around for more than 50 years, strengthened by a portion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits religious discrimination in the workplace. Changes to labor laws in 1972 also included requirements that employers make religious accommodations for employees if they do not substantially interfere with business. By the late 1980s, several national organizations had sprung up to provide chaplains and their counseling services throughout the American business scene.

In recent years, as businesses look at ways to cut costs, some have turned to corporate chaplains as an alternative to more traditional employee assistance programs.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

The Making of a Christian Leader: Michael Green in conversation

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

Address by the Bishop of London for the Prayer Book 350th anniversary of the 1662 BCP

The Prayer Book in English was the centrepiece of an audacious cultural revolution. Stephen Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester, was one of those critical of the scheme to introduce an English liturgy. He dismissed the argument that it was desirable for the language to be “understanded of the people” and the mode of conducting the services such as to render them audible. The bishop protested that “it was never meant that the people should indeed hear the matins or hear the mass but be present there and pray themselves in silence.” The barriers of language and audibility were actually conducive to genuine devotion.

This protest from one of the most intelligent conservatives of the day illuminates the radicalism of what was published as the First Book of Common Prayer. It was an audacious attempt to re-shape the culture of England by collapsing the distinction between private personal devotion and public liturgical worship in order to create a godly community in which all and not just the clergy had access to the “pure milk of the gospel”. The result would be a sense of English nationhood crystallising around the biblical narrative of God’s dealings with the children of Israel.

And what English!

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Francois Hollande has ten weeks to avert a French bond crisis

My own view is… [that] the German deflation regime is – in the current circumstances – the greater threat to Greco-Latin societies, and to post-War comity in Europe. Sometimes you have to go through a cathartic trauma to break free.

But it is also true that Germany’s own democracy may turn fractious if policy strays too far from German needs and Grundgesetz. This is EMU’s curse. It destabilizes each nation state in turn, each in different ways – a “negative sum game”.

The worst of all worlds would be a nasty spat between Mr Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel that poisoned the atmosphere without bringing about any substantive change to Europe”˜s “asphyxiation compact”.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

Greek elections leave political system in chaos

Greece’s center-right New Democracy party looks set to get the first chance to form a new government Monday, but party leader Antonis Samaras will have a complicated task after an election where angry voters punished politicians for backing harsh government budget cuts.

No party is likely to have anything approaching a majority, leaving the politically and economically volatile nation even more in flux.

The Greek stock market plunged about 7% Monday morning….

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Greece, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

(BBC) Francois Hollande to set France on new course after win

French President-elect Francois Hollande is to start work on forming a new government, after declaring to his supporters that his victory gave hope there would be an end to austerity.

Mr Hollande has vowed to rework a deal on government debt in eurozone member countries to focus on promoting growth.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, France, Politics in General

Der Spiegel–For Chancellor Angela Merkel, Torturous Months Lie Ahead

German Chancellor Angela Merkel can’t be pleased about François Hollande’s election victory, but it will at least be bearable for her. The newfound self-confidence of her junior coalition partner, the FDP, which scored a surprise success in the state election of Schleswig-Holstein on Sunday, poses a greater threat to the chancellor.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Foreign Relations, Germany, Politics in General

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst say that in thee we may have peace, and hast bidden us to be of good cheer, since thou hast overcome the world: Give ears to hear and faith to receive thy word; that in all the confusions and tensions of this present time, with mind serene and steadfast purpose, we may continue to abide in thee, who livest and wast dead and art alive for evermore.

–Frederick Macnutt

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:1-6

Posted in Uncategorized

Nigeria: 4 Boko Haram members killed in shootout

Soldiers in the northern Nigerian city of Kano killed four suspected members of Boko Haram Islamist sect in a raid on their hideout on Sunday, an army spokesman said.

“We carried out an operation today on a terrorists hideout”¦where we killed four of them and arrested many after a prolonged shootout,” Lieutenant Iweha Ikedichi told AFP. Troops from military special Joint Task Force (JTF) had stormed the hideout in the Hotoro Kwari suburb of the city notorious for Boko Haram attacks.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Violence