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Gafcon Primates Council Communiqué, Entebbe, April 2018

Some of our members who lead the largest provinces in the Anglican Communion chose on principle not to attend the 2017 Primates’ Meeting. However, we received a report from those members who did choose to attend.

We are grieved that the Communiqué from that meeting did not accurately describe the relationships that have been broken by The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Scottish Episcopal Church. These provinces have torn the fabric of the Anglican Communion. They are not walking together with us. The Communiqué also did not accurately describe the Anglican Church in North America, which we recognised as a Province in the Anglican Communion. In addition, in addressing cross-border interventions, the Communiqué failed to recognise that there is no moral equivalence between border crossing, which arises “from a deep concern for the welfare of Anglicans in the face of innovation”, and the innovations themselves (Dar es Salaam Communiqué 2007).

We were disappointed both in the content of the Communiqué and the process of its production. The Communiqué was not made available until the very last day of the meeting, and there was not adequate time to consider its content. At the moment when trust between the provinces of the Anglican Communion is exceptionally fragile, this was not an event that facilitated healing and reconciliation. Instead, the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury has contributed to a deepening of the divide in our beloved Communion.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, GAFCON, Global South Churches & Primates

From the Morning Scripture Readings

“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

–Matthew 5:17-20

Posted in Theology: Scripture

The File of Responses from member provinces in the Anglican Communion in response to TEC’s proposal, including that of William Nye in the previous post

Read them carefully and read them all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Secretary General of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, writes a letter which warns TEC (The Episcopal Church) about same-sex marriage rites

Proposals to incorporate marriage rites used by same-sex couples into the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) of the Episcopal Church in the United States will increase pressure in the Church of England to “dissociate” itself, the secretary general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, has warned.

In a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage, which has produced the proposals, Mr Nye writes that, if the rites — written to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples — are incorporated into the BCP as the only marriage rite, “the pressure to dissociate the Church of England from TEC [the Episcopal Church], in all manner of ways, would increase”. Such a move would also be “potentially damaging” to work in the C of E to create a new teaching document on sexuality (News, 30 June), he writes.

He goes on to warn that, if provision is not made for traditionalists in the Episcopal Church, it would be a “serious blow for interfaith relations, negatively impacting Christians around the world especially in areas where they are persecuted minorities, as well as harming the stringent efforts to reinforce moderation in religious expression in countries like ours which are affected by terrorism”. The Episcopal Church’s promulgation of the new liturgies is, he writes, “at the least, unhelpful to those of us seeking to bring the Church of England’s deliberations to a good outcome”.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, England / UK, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NBC) A Great story about one Utah Bus Driver, my favorite from last week

Watch it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(NBC) Evangelical Christians divided on human role in global warming

Preaching an environmental message to evangelicals is a bit like, as the New Testament says, casting seeds on rocky ground.

And few people know that better than atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who recently ran into a pair of climate change skeptics while speaking at the Presbyterian Church in Granada Hills, California.

“These were two men who were leaning back and looking stern, with their arms folded across their chest and shaking their heads while I was speaking,” said Hayhoe, who is both the director of the Climate Change Center at Texas Tech University and a pastor’s wife.

“So I finally said, ‘The real reason most people reject the science of climate change has nothing to do with the science and everything to do with the solutions … they’re afraid of having the government regulating their thermostat,'” she recounted.

“One of the two guys said, ‘Yes, that’s exactly it!'”

Read it all.

Posted in Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals

(PR FactTank) Black Americans are more likely than overall public to be Christian, Protestant

Unlike Americans of European descent, most black Americans trace their ancestry to areas of Africa that, centuries ago, were not primarily part of the Christian world. Yet, today, a larger share of African Americans than whites say they are Christian. And, of all major U.S. racial and ethnic groups, blacks are the most likely to identify as Protestant.

Nearly eight-in-ten black Americans (79%) identify as Christian, according to Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. By comparison, seven-in-ten Americans overall (71%) say they are Christian, including 70% of whites, 77% of Latinos and just 34% of Asian Americans. Meanwhile, about seven-in-ten blacks are Protestant, compared with less than half of the public overall (47%), including 48% of whites, roughly a quarter of Latinos and 17% of Asian Americans.

More than half of all black adults in the United States (53%) are classified as members of the historically black Protestant tradition. This includes those who tell us they belong to specific denominations such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church or the Church of God in Christ. The category also includes black Americans who do not identify with a specific denomination but instead say they associate with a broader Protestant group (e.g., “just Baptist” or “just Methodist” or “just Pentecostal”) that has a sizable number of historically black denominations.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(NYT Op-ed) Alex von Tunzelmann–The recent Windrush failure shows how the Empire still Haunts Britain

Hostility to immigration in Britain was a significant force driving the vote to leave the European Union, yet prominent Brexiteers are often sensitive to the charge that any part of their movement is inward-looking, xenophobic or racist. Many of them have recently rushed to condemn the treatment of the Windrush generation. Even the Daily Mail, a newspaper that regularly publishes scare stories about immigrants, splashed it on the front page as “Fiasco that shames Britain.”

Yet this is not an accidental fiasco but the intended outcome of Britain’s draconian and Byzantine immigration policy. Moreover, rather than being an upset, the treatment of the Windrush generation is all too consistent with Britain’s historical attitude toward those former colonies and dominions that supposedly make up its “family.”

The Commonwealth comprises 53 nations, most of which were once British-ruled, and 2.4 billion people, 94 percent of whom live in Africa and Asia. It is supposedly based on a common language, institutions and values — though, given its size and diversity, the commonality of those values is debatable. Its head is the Queen. In 2002, Boris Johnson, now the foreign minister but then a journalist, wrote: “It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.” The line is still often quoted for its offensive language; it is less commonly observed that Mr. Johnson was taking a swipe at the monarch for indulging the Commonwealth partly as a vanity project.

Is the Commonwealth more than that?

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Immigration, Politics in General

(Local paper) Lowcountry South Carolina’s St. Andrew’s Church ‘finding a way forward’ after blaze that ravaged ministry center

One day after a fire devastated a large portion of St. Andrew’s Church Sunday, leaders started to plan how they’ll press forward, as authorities investigate the cause of the blaze.

Staff gathered Monday morning in a conference room inside Whole Foods, where they worshiped and debriefed after the fire that ravaged the Mount Pleasant church’s ministry center in the Old Village early Sunday.

Officials from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina attended the meeting to offer support, St. Andrew’s spokesman Greg Shore said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire

Eleanor Parker–The Story of Saint Mellitus

24 April is the anniversary of the death in 624 of Mellitus, first Bishop of London in the Anglo-Saxon period and third Archbishop of Canterbury. Mellitus arrived in England in 601, as part of the second wave of missionaries sent by Pope Gregory to support Augustine in his attempt to convert the Anglo-Saxons. With him came Justus (about whom I wrote here) and Paulinus (whose adventures in Northumbria you can read about here). Mellitus seems to have been the most senior of the party, since he is the addressee of the famous papal letter in which Gregory told the missionaries not to destroy the Anglo-Saxons’ pagan temples, customs and sacrifices, but to replace them.

Thanks to Bede, we have a detailed account of Mellitus’ activities once he arrived in Kent, and of the many trials and tribulations of the new church. We begin in Book II of the Historia Ecclesiastica (quotations are taken from A History of the English Church and People, trans. Leo Sherley-Price (Penguin, 1974), ch.3-7):

In the year of our Lord 604, Augustine, Archbishop of Britain, consecrated two bishops, Mellitus and Justus. Mellitus was appointed to preach in the province of the East Saxons, which is separated from Kent by the river Thames, and bounded on the east by the sea. Its capital is the city of London, which stands on the banks of the Thames, and is a trading centre for many nations who visit it by land and sea. At this time Sabert, Ethelbert’s nephew through his sister Ricula, ruled the province under the suzerainty of Ethelbert, who, as already stated, governed all the English peoples as far north as the Humber. When this province too had received the faith through the preaching of Mellitus, King Ethelbert built a church dedicated to the holy Apostle Paul in the city of London, which he appointed as the episcopal see of Mellitus and his successors.

Augustine also consecrated Justus as bishop of a Kentish city which the English call Hrofescaestir after an early chieftain named Hrof. This lies nearly twenty-four miles west of Canterbury, and a church in honour of St. Andrew the Apostle was built here by King Ethelbert, who made many gifts to the bishops of both these churches as well as to Canterbury; he later added lands and property for the maintenance of the bishop’s household.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK

A Prayer for Saint Mellitus Day from a College that bears His Name

From there:

God of grace and wisdom,
who called your servant Mellitus
to leave his home and proclaim your Word:
grant to all who belong to the college that bears his name
diligence for study, fervour for mission,
and perseverance for ministry,
that they might shine with your love and truth
in these dioceses and beyond,
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast promised in thy holy gospel that thy disciples shall know the truth, and the truth shall make them free: Give us, we pray thee, the Spirit of truth, sent by thee and leading to thee, that we may find the truth in finding thee, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, for ever and ever.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

We give thanks to God always for you all, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit; so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

–1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Posted in Theology: Scripture

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Sermon at Saint Michael’s, Charleston, Yesterday

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics

Adrian Hastings–Did Archbishop Sentamu fob off the Clergy Discipline Commission to protect bishops from allegations of misconduct?

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CNS) Roman Catholic group warns that Europe fails to give Young Europeans the support they need to start families

Young people in Europe need political support to start families in countries with aging populations, a French Catholic campaigner said.

While “young people want to form lasting relationships and have children,” they “don’t feel safe” to start families, said Antoine Renard, president of the Brussels-based Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe.

Unless something is done rapidly, Europe risks a total demographic collapse,” Renard said in an April 19 interview with Catholic News Service after the federation called on European Union governments to “put the family at the center of national policies.”

Young people are “often discouraged by inadequate and individualistic policies and cultures which are hostile to the family,” the federation said in an April 13 statement at the end of its spring meeting in Vienna.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Theology, Young Adults