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The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese gets a Date for SCOTUS Conference

From there:

Friends,

Good news! Today the United States Supreme Court announced that our Petition for Certiorari has been distributed for Conference on Thursday, June 7.

As anticipated, the Eden Prairie case (which involves the same legal issues as our own case) has also been docketed for Conference that day.

Both cases raise the question of how courts interpret the Jones v. Wolf (1979) decision and its guidance on “neutral principles of law”. In Conference, the Justices will be discussing if these are cases they wish to review to resolve the conflicting interpretations.

The consequence is that we could hear as early as Monday, June 11th what the Court’s decision is regarding our Petition for Certiorari. If granted, our case would then be heard some time in the next session of the court, which begins this fall.

Please encourage your congregation to keep the Court’s deliberations that day in their prayers.

Blessings,

(The Rev. Canon) Jim Lewis

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

Blessed Pentecost 2018 to all Blog Readers

Posted in Pentecost

A S Haley–The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese Goes to SCOTUS Conference

In their (non-linkable) respondents’ brief, ECSC and ECUSA took a gamble by resting their main opposition upon just a single ground: that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the case because the five divided justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court had decided the case below on independent state-law grounds, and did not rest their decision on any interpretation of federal law. (SCOTUS reviews only issues of federal law that are decided by either the state or federal courts.)

As the Diocese’s reply brief points out, this claim is far from accurate. Two of the justices below (Pleicones and Hearn) were clear that they viewed the 1979 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf as requiring them to give effect to the trust on church property imposed by the Dennis Canon, even if the documentation of that trust failed to pass muster under South Carolina law. In other words, Justices Pleicones and Hearn held that the First Amendment trumped state trust law — and that was obviously a federal ground of decision.

Even Chief Justice Beatty, who declined to articulate his reasoning, held that the Dennis Canon was sufficient to create a trust under South Carolina law so long as the individual parishes “acceded” in some way to that Canon. Since, as Justice Kittredge pointed out in dissent, any argument that a trust under South Carolina law could rest upon such a dim showing of assent was “laughable”, it is only fair to conclude that Chief Justice Beatty reached his result by relying upon the same (federal-law) reading of Jones v. Wolf that drove Justices Hearn and Pleicones.

In sum, the South Carolina case presents as good a reason as ever will arise for SCOTUS to grant review, in order to end the confusion over the meaning of Jones that divides some nineteen different state and federal courts below. (Those decisions are reviewed and discussed at pp. 21-29 of the Diocese’s petition.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

Irish Times exit poll projects Ireland has voted by landslide to repeal Eighth Amendment

Ireland has voted by a landslide margin to change the constitution so that abortion can be legalised, according to an exit poll conducted for The Irish Times by Ipsos/MRBI.

The poll suggests that the margin of victory for the Yes side in the referendum will be 68 per cent to 32 per cent – a stunning victory for the Yes side after a long and often divisive campaign.

More than 4,500 voters were interviewed by Ipsos/MRBI as they left polling stations on Friday. Sampling began at 7am and was conducted at 160 locations across every constituency throughout the day. The margin of error is estimated at +/- 1.5 per cent.

Counting of votes begins on Saturday morning at 9am with an official result expected to be declared in the afternoon.

However, the size of the victory predicted by the exit poll leaves little doubt that, whatever the final count figures, the constitutional ban on abortion, inserted in a referendum in 1983, is set to be repealed.

Read it all.

Posted in --Ireland, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A BBC Radio 4 Profile on the New Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally

Sarah Mullally, appointed this week as the first woman Bishop of London, the third most senior position in the Anglican Church. A former nurse and senior civil servant, she was ordained in 2001. Her surprise appointment followed a brief spell as Bishop of Devon in Crediton. She’s expected to attract criticism from more conservative elements of the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical elements of the church. Mark Coles profiles the most senior woman in the Anglican Church.

Listen to it all (a little under 14 minutes).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(NYT) When Living Your Truth Can Mean Losing Your Children

The questioning went on for days. Did she allow her children to watch a Christmas video? Did she include plastic Easter eggs as part of her celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim? Did she use English nicknames for them, instead of their Hebrew names?

This grilling of Chavie Weisberger, 35, took place not in front of a rabbi or a religious court, but in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, during a custody battle with her ultra-Orthodox Jewish ex-husband after she came out as lesbian and decided to leave the ultra-Orthodox fold. The stakes could not have been higher. In fact, the judge, Eric I. Prus, eventually ruled that she should lose custody of her children, largely because she had lapsed in raising them according to Hasidic customs.

Ms. Weisberger’s case, which was reversed on appeal in August, is still reverberating through New York courts that handle divorce and custody matters for the state’s hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

A New York State appellate court ruled that Justice Prus had erred in making religious observance the paramount factor when deciding custody. The court also said he had violated Ms. Weisberger’s constitutional rights by requiring her to pretend to be ultra-Orthodox around her children, even though she was no longer religious, in order to spend unsupervised time with them.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Judaism, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(NPR) Q&A: National Correspondent Leila Fadel Discusses ‘Muslims in America’

Were you surprised by anything you learned through reporting this series?

What shocked me was just how much the communities I visited seem to be flourishing at a really difficult time for Muslim Americans. Despite the anti-Muslim rhetoric, people are out there telling their own stories. They’re getting into politics and fashion and music and storytelling. I also was surprised by the incredible diversity of practice and culture that exists here. I’ve covered the Muslim world for over a decade, and I don’t think I’ve seen such diversity within Islam outside of the Muslim pilgrimage, Hajj, in Mecca.

What do you hope readers and listeners will take from reading or listening to “Muslims in America”?

I hope people listen to these as stories about Americans they might not know otherwise. One of the things I’ve been struck by since coming back to the U.S. is how we live in a country with such rich diversity of culture, religion and race but so often people feel stuck in a stereotype of their own community. After the presidential election, which was seen as so polarizing, I think a lot of people felt they didn’t know their fellow citizens.

I want these stories to be about knowing and understanding people not through the lens of what you think they might be, but who they actually are.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Islam, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Want to know about God? Just ask Alexa

The Church of England has launched an “Alexa skill” that provides answers to questions about faith and prayer, and can find a church to attend on the basis of the user’s location.

Launched on Wednesday night, the skill is compatible with all Amazon Echo and Alexa devices. Users can ask questions such as “Who is God?” and “How do I become a Christian?” besides making the device read specific prayers or prayers for different situations or periods of the day.

The skill is similar to an app on a smartphone or tablet, and is one of the “first significant faith-based resources” for Alexa, the C of E’s head of digital, Adrian Harris, says.

It works alongside the website A Church Near You to help users find their nearest church events and services.

Users can launch the C of E skill on Alexa by saying “Alexa, open the Church of England.” A full list of commands is available online.

 

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence Calls for Day of Prayer and Fasting on June 7, 2018

From there:

Dear Friends in Christ,
“At the set time which I appoint I will judge with equity.
 When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.”
Psalm 7:2-3

On Tuesday of this week, we learned that the United States Supreme Court has scheduled a conference for Thursday, June 7, 2018 to consider our Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.  This conference will determine if they will hear our case during the next term. Though this is welcome news, only a small fraction of Petitions is granted each year by the Court.

Therefore, as your bishop, I am requesting that along with your congregational prayers, you will also include this matter in your personal and daily prayers.  I also ask that many of you, and particularly those with gifts of intercession, join me in setting aside the Thursday, of June 7th as a Day of Prayer and Fasting for the Court and for the Church.  

You will find below a general prayer to which you may add your petitions as God, the Holy Spirit, might lead you.  We are also providing a link to a list of the Justices of the Supreme Court, whom you may want to pray for individually.

Almighty God, Judge and Redeemer of the world, send upon all courts of justice, and especially the Supreme Court of the United States and its justices, a spirit of wisdom, understanding, and discernment; grant that they may rightly and impartially interpret and administer the law; through him who shall come to be our Judge, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

–(The Right Reverend) Mark J. Lawrence is 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Supreme Court

Friday Morning Mental Health Break–People Versus Birds

Posted in Animals, Humor / Trivia, Photos/Photography

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bede the Venerable

Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from H. C. Cooksey

O Holy Spirit of God, Lord and Giver of life: Come into our hearts, we beseech thee; that enlightened by thy clear shining, and warmed by thine unselfish love, our souls may be revived to the worship of God, and our lives be dedicated anew to the service of our fellows: for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved….Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore

Psalm 16:7-8;11

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(CEN) [The Church of England Evangelical Council] CEEC–Why The Episcopal Church is on the brink

Three proposals before General Convention this year would significantly alter this situation and make it hard to see how there will be any ongoing place for this Communion witness within American Anglicanism. One would remove, with immediate effect, the diocesan bishop’s freedom to refuse trial use in their diocese (there is also a proposal to introduce a new transgender re-naming rite across all dioceses).

More serious still is a first reading to write the current trial same-sex marriage liturgies into the Prayer Book, which would require confirmation in 2021 before taking effect. Alongside this there would be a rewriting of the Church’s Prayer Book Catechism to state that “Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which two (2) people [replacing “the woman and man”] enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows”. Given that all those ordained in TEC have to “solemnly engage to conform to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of the Episcopal Church” and that doctrine and worship is expressed in the Catechism and Prayer Book these proposals, if accepted, will make it practically impossible for clergy holding an orthodox Christian doctrine of marriage to remain with integrity in The Episcopal Church.

Finally, it is also noteworthy that the proposals coming to General Convention extend further TEC’s revision of traditional sexual ethics. There has for some time been a liturgy for “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant”, which was produced for same-sex unions before there was a marriage liturgy.

It is now proposed to add to this a liturgy for “The Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship” in response to “study of contemporary trends and the expressed experiences of Episcopalians who desire to form and formalise a lifelong, monogamous and unconditional relationship, other than marriage, in particular circumstances”.

This would be the first authorised Anglican liturgy to bless non-marital heterosexual unions. It is these very significant proposed developments eliminating the Christian doctrine of marriage from TEC’s doctrine and liturgy and effectively excluding its adherents from their church – which led to William Nye’s letter and for many Anglicans it is these, rather than the letter, which should be the headline news and real cause of serious concern within the Church of England.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, General Convention, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

(ABC 7 Chicago) Hard to watch but important–Milwaukee police release Sterling Brown arrest body cam video

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized to Bucks guard Sterling Brown on Wednesday for a January arrest that started with a parking violation and escalated to include use of a stun gun, and said some officers had been disciplined.

Brown responded with a statement that described the incident as “an attempt at police intimidation” and said it “shouldn’t happen to anybody.”

Morales’ apology came as police released body-camera footage that showed how a simple interaction over an illegally parked car quickly escalated. City officials’ concern over the content of the video was apparent earlier this week when Mayor Tom Barrett said he found it concerning.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Race/Race Relations, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CT) John Perkins On The Day He Finally Understood The Bible

What would you say is your calling?

Well, when I started reading the Bible it was difficult for me to understand, because the Bible was not written in the everyday English language. In addition to that, I was an Ebonics speaker. I spoke within the context of my dialect in Mississippi. So the Bible was not that easy for me to read.

It didn’t have relevant meaning to me in Genesis. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, darkness…” I bet you I read over that without really understanding what it was. But as I began to read through the Bible, I came to Abraham’s calling; it was the twelfth chapter of Genesis. To me, that’s where Genesis began: the call of Abraham.God had said to Abraham, “Get thee out from among your family and from your father’s house, and I will make you, I will bless you. I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you. And through you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” It seemed like, what he was saying to Abraham, I heard it like he was talking to me. That’s when I really thought I was being called of God.

I heard that to say “I’m going to redeem your name.” Or better yet, I felt my name was so messed up, my heritage, my people and that I was such a sinner. That brought a conviction in my life. And I said to God, “God, would you redeem my name?”

Read it all.

Posted in Poverty, Theology: Scripture

(NBC) Former medical debt collectors using expertise to help the neediest patients

Craig Antico co-founded RIP Medical Debt, a non-profit that buys up batches of overdue medical bills, erasing $120 million in debt for 60,000 patients so far.

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance & Investing, Stewardship

(Christian Today) Church of England should be stripped from Prince Charles’ coronation vows, report suggests

The Church of England should be stripped from Prince Charles’ coronation service and replaced with an ‘oath to the people’ to reflect Britain’s religious diversity, a new report suggests.

Charles will inherit the Queen’s title of supreme governor of the Church of England when he takes the Crown. However the substantial changes to Britain’s religious and cultural outlook since the Queen’s coronation in 1953 have raised questions over whether the new king should continue to hold the title of Defender of the Faith – one adopted by all British monarchs since it was conferred on Henry VIII by Pope Leo X in 1521, before the Tudor king split from the Catholic church.

The UCL Constitution Unit, a respected think tank, has produced a raft of recommendations for the planning the Prince of Wales’ accession to the throne after the Queen, aged 92, dies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), History, Politics in General, Religion & Culture