Daily Archives: August 15, 2013

(Yorkshire Post) Tim Jones: the Church should lend an ear to the realities of debt

A friend of mine was recently preparing to leave the army, and began a training course for a debt recovery agency. He was horrified that the trainees were taught not to waste too much time on people who could stick up for themselves, but to concentrate on the vulnerable who could easily be intimidated, such as the elderly or single mums, from whom far more money could easily be found. He left the course, disgusted.

But the gap which the payday lenders exploit isn’t just a gap in the market. It’s a gap in our collective self discipline. We’re still a society hopelessly hooked on a spendthrift lifestyle. We see something glitzy, we want it, and we want it now, really not paying close enough attention to how on earth we’re going to pay the borrowed money back. The financial crisis that is crushing us at the moment wasn’t simply caused by the banks being feckless lenders: we were all too happy to be feckless borrowers. The banks are now being more careful ”“ perhaps overly so with business ventures ”“ but payday lending still lets people get stuff they can’t afford. Even if one has paid back a loan, there remains the constant text pestering for another: “There is £££ ready for you, just call 0800 XXX XXX and it will be in your account in 15 minutes.” As another friend told me, if you’re struggling, it can be just too hard to resist.

So, Justin Welby, the recently appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, has decided to do something about it….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(FT) Gilliam Tett-America’s doctors, like Wall Street, need a cultural shift

In recent years, doctors in America have received relatively high levels of remuneration, running about 60 per cent higher than the industrialised world average, according to data from the Paris-based OECD. But the absolute pay level is not the key issue at stake. What really needs to be debated is the system of incentives.

Most notably, in recent years about two-thirds of US doctors have been paid according to a “fee-for-service” system, meaning that they receive remuneration every time they see a patient or provide a treatment.

This differs from the pattern in much of Europe or places such as Singapore, where doctors tend to receive a base salary (which may then be topped up with private practice). It also differs from a third approach, called capitation, which pays doctors according to the health of the total population.

Read it all (or if necessary another link may be found there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine

([London] Times) In Durham, Holy order bans cathedral perks for volunteers

To the stewards who volunteer at Durham Cathedral, it is more than just a storm in a teacup.

First they were denied the scones they got as a perk in return for unpaid work. Now they have been told that if they want a free cup of tea or coffee, they must take it into another room ”” described by one of them as “smelly” ”” away from the cathedral’s restaurant.

Read it all (subscription required).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Reconciliation is our 'gift to the world': Archbishop Welby preaches in Guatemala

In an area of much killing where I was supporting reconciliation some years ago, I spent time with a group of Anglican priests. Several thousand people had been killed in heavy fighting during the previous week. It was the second outburst of fighting in less than ten years. The priests were bitter, mourning families, friends and church members. One gave up preaching and used the time for the sermon explaining how to strip, clean and reassemble an automatic rifle. Over a few months we worked together, thinking and praying about the situation, about the very real threats they faced, about the history of battle, and about the teaching of scripture, especially in Jonah. Slowly they learned afresh that they were loved, and learned to love and began to reach out to their enemies. The reconciliation remains fragile, but continues to this day.

We change our conflicted communities when we rediscover reconciliation in Christ for ourselves. Paul reminds the divided Ephesians that God breaks down all barriers. They are reconciled through the cross to God and are to be reconciled to others. It is costly. Reconciliation is cross-shaped. Justice is cross shaped. Churches that seek justice will find a cross, and will need to bear it. So many of you have done that. So many not only here in Guatemala, but elsewhere in the Province, know the pain of conflict. And yet we have the answer ”“ and that answer is us, says Paul. It is extraordinary, because again he was speaking to a small church in a very pagan society, and yet he was right, and history proved it over the centuries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, --Guatemala, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Central America, Church of England (CoE)

(Telegraph) Egypt death toll rises to 525 as Britain summons Egyptian ambassador

Britain has summoned the Egyptian ambassador for a meeting as the death toll from Wednesday’s attack on pro-Morsi supporters rose to 525.

a href=”http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/10244413/Egypt-death-toll-rises-to-525-as-Britain-summons-Egyptian-ambassador.html”>Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Egypt, Foreign Relations, Middle East, Politics in General, Violence

(Spectator) Syria’s war in miniature: meeting the Christians driven out of Qusayr

…what had changed? Why did the town turn on itself? It started happening after foreign jihadis arrived, said Ilyas. ”˜Syrian Muslims are not extremists. It’s outsiders who made this conflict sectarian.’ Ilyas was told to demonstrate his loyalty by carrying a weapon to fight the regime. Still clinging to the idea of a peaceful revolution, he refused, and was threatened by the foreign fighters. His friends in the rebel army couldn’t help him. ”˜The FSA couldn’t mount any military operation without the extremists: they had the training, the weapons, the money.’

As the town’s native Sunnis suffered more losses, so their attitude towards the Christians started to harden. One local man formed an Islamist brigade (its ranks filled with foreign fighters) and last summer, he commandeered the mosque’s loudspeaker to announce that all Christians should leave. He was one of those who finally forced Ilyas from his home, last December. ”˜I had known him ten years,’ Ilyas said sadly. ”˜We used to walk arm-in-arm at the protests.’

Ilyas lasted longer than other Christians in Qusayr because he supported the uprising, but in Lebanon, I also met Samah, a mother of three who was one of the first to flee. At first, she said, their Sunni neighbours tried to protect them. ”˜But after a while, the Christians were left with a choice: fight alongside the rebels, or leave Qusayr. Masked gunmen came to our house and shouted for our men to come out. We could see our relatives, already captured, sitting in cars.’Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

(The Upcoming) The Church of England wades into the fracking debate

The Anglican Diocese of Blackburn has released a pamphlet warning their Lancaster flock of the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking.

“The time we spend thinking, praying and acting now to protect our drinking water and the rest of God’s glorious Creation cannot compare with the time succeeding generations could potentially spend trying to make good what will likely happen if we in the church remain uninformed and silent,” reads the pamphlet.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Sexuality, Theology

(America Magazine) The Ethics of the BRAIN Initiative

Andrea Vicini, S.J., of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry discusses the ethics of the National Insitute of Health’s BRAIN Initiative. The initiative promises the possibility for medical breakthroughs in the field of neuroscience, but who will benefit from these technologies? And could they be put to questionable purposes?

Listen to it all (a little over 18 minutes).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Science & Technology, Theology

A New church leader for Christ Episcopal in Lynbrook, New York

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island, ordained melton, who has served the parish as a Deacon since May 1.

“It is a profound blessing to me to serve at Christ Church. Here, I have discovered a faithful community of people who love and care for each other and their neighbors, and who deeply love God,” said Melton.

Parishioners shared his enthusiasm and hope for the future. “We are all so excited about our new Priest-in-Charge, Fr. Melton, who is full of energy and new ideas. Since coming here in May, we have grown in many ways. We are looking forward to growth and renewal in the coming years under his leadership.” said Co-Churchwarden Marilyn Adamo.

Read it all and the parish website is there.

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

(Journal-Sentinel) After 125 years, Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Milwaukee holds its last service

Janet Engel knelt at the Communion rail at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Sunday, tears welling in her eyes.

At 85, she’d built a lifetime of memories in this sacred space. She was confirmed here. She attended its grade school. Every Christmas, every Easter was celebrated in these pews.

And on Sunday, for the last time, Engel knelt to receive the Holy Eucharist here.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Engel, who gathered with hundreds of current and former members for final services at Bethlehem, which closed its doors Sunday after 125 years.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Lutheran, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(ACNS) Egypt: Only Steel Bars Saved a Suez Anglican Priest and his Family

An Anglican priest and his family narrowly escaped harm…[yesterday] morning after a mob armed with rocks and petrol bombs were kept out his church building by steel window bars.

The Revd Ehab Ayoub, his family, a lay minister and a guard were trapped in St Saviour’s Church, Suez, for hours while pro-Mursi supporters were attacking the building.

Speaking from the Diocese of Egypt head office, Bishop’s Chaplain the Revd Drew Schmotzer told ACNS, “They [the attackers] tried to get through the windows, but our steel bars prevented it (thanks be to God).

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Prayer for the Feast Day of St. Mary the Virgin

O God, who hast taken to thyself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of thine incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Grant us, O Lord, not to mind earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to cleave to those that shall abide; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

O give thanks to the LORD, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him, tell of all his wonderful works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his presence continually!

–Psalm 105:1-4

Posted in Uncategorized

A Message from Bishop Mouneer Anis–Urgent Prayers Needed for Egypt

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

As I write these words, our St. Saviour’s Anglican Church in Suez is under heavy attack from those who support former President Mursi. They are throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the church and have destroyed the car of Rev. Ehab Ayoub, the priest-in-charge of St. Saviour’s Church. I am also aware that there are attacks on other Orthodox churches in Menyia and Suhag in Upper Egypt (photo above), as well as a Catholic church in Suez. Some police stations are also under attack in different parts of Egypt. Please pray and ask others to pray for this inflammable situation in Egypt.
arly this morning, the police supported by the army, encouraged protestors in two different locations in Cairo, to leave safely and go home. It is worth mentioning that these protestors have been protesting for 6 weeks, blocking the roads. The people in these neighborhoods have been suffering a great deal””not only these people, but those commuting through, especially those who are going to the airport. The police created very safe passages for everyone to leave. Many protestors left and went home, however, others resisted to leave and started to attack the police. The police and army were very professional in responding to the attacks, and they used tear gas only when it was necessary. The police then discovered caches of weapons and ammunition in these sites. One area near Giza is now calm, but there is still some resistance at other sites. There are even some snipers trying to attack the police and the army. There are even some rumors that Muslim Brotherhood leaders asked the protestors in different cities to attack police stations, take weapons, and attack shops and churches.

A few hours later, violent demonstrations from Mursi supporters broke out in different cities and towns throughout Egypt. The police and army are trying to maintain safety for all people and to disperse the protestors peacefully. However, the supporters of former President Mursi have threatened that if they are dispersed from the current sites, they will move to other sites and continue to protest. They also threatened to use violence. There have been a number of fatalities and casualties from among the police as well as the protestors, but it seems that the numbers are not as high as expected for such violence. However, the supporters of former President Mursi claim that there are very high numbers of casualties. The real numbers will be known later on.

Please pray that the situation will calm down, for wisdom and tact for the police and the army, for the safety of all churches and congregations, and that all in Egypt would be safe.

May the Lord bless you!

–(The Most Rev.) Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis”¨ is Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt”¨ with North Africa and the Horn of Africa”¨ and President Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican”¨
Province of Jerusalem and the Middle EastӬӬ

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Violence