Daily Archives: June 27, 2014

AS Haley: South Carolina Rump Group Files Frivolous Appeal To Delay Trial

In its latest bid to delay the start of the trial scheduled for July 7, the rump group that calls itself “the Episcopal Church in South Carolina” (ECSC) has filed a Notice of Appeal from an interlocutory order of the trial court that denied its “motion to reconsider” for a fourth time a ruling that refused to allow it to add additional individual parties to the case. As such, the appeal is purely a stalling tactic, and is thus frivolous in the extreme
………………
..For all of these reasons, therefore, Judge Goodstein properly denied all of ECSC’s motions and motions to reconsider, and the attempt to appeal her rulings before the trial can be held is simply a delaying tactic. That realization, if the Court of Appeals (or the Supreme Court) sees things the same way, should result in the imposition of sanctions against ECSC and its attorneys for taking a frivolous appeal

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(WSJ) Charlotte Allen–Meriam Ibrahim and the Persecution of Christians

Ms. Ibrahim’s story bears uncanny parallels to another Christian story involving young African mothers who did become Christian martyrs, during the early third century: the story of Felicitas and Perpetua, executed for their faith in the Roman port city of Carthage in today’s Tunisia. Vibia Perpetua was a well-educated young woman, not unlike Ms. Ibrahim, who is trained as a doctor. Felicitas was a slave in an advanced state of pregnancy when she was thrown into prison along with Perpetua and other Christians to await their deaths by wild animals in the Carthage arena. Perpetua, like Ms. Ibrahim, went to prison along with a baby son. Felicitas, like Ms. Ibrahim, bore a baby daughter before her execution date.

The most dramatic parallel is the simple affirmation that Ms. Ibrahim gave in court that led to her death sentence: “I am a Christian.” Those also were Perpetua’s words, as they were of many martyrs in Roman times. Like Perpetua, Ms. Ibrahim, who was brought up in the Ethiopian Orthodox faith of her mother, also refused to recant.

This isn’t just a matter of ancient and modern coincidences. More significantly, the Roman world of the third century was strikingly like today’s secularized West in its contempt for Christians and indifference to their persecution.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Prison/Prison Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sudan, Theology, Violence, Women

Convictional Anglican: Looking for a Faithful Anglican Church in the USA?

Back in April I posted about a friend of mine who is doing a good work over in the USA (the Pacific NW), Rev Aaron Burt of Advent Anglican. But on the other side of the USA there is another man who is doing a great work also. The Church is the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd, Binghamton.

The Rector is Rev Matt Kennedy. Matt is a bloke who is a veteran of the wars and has been at the forefront of what happens when one puts fidelity to Christ and the Scriptures before the revisionist agenda of a denomination that has jettisoned the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Several years ago Matt and his family lost their Rectory, the congregation lost their building (which The Episcopal Church sold to Muslims) and it was a very unsettling and painful time for Matt and his family and his church family. You can read Matt’s own reflection of it entitled ”˜Leaving Home’ Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

But God has been (and still is) doing wonderful things! Matt’s ministry has been blessed. I have personally been very encouraged by Matt’s ministry over many years, not just from his sermons (which I watch regularly on line, but also from his writing ministry, he blogs at a website entitled Stand Firm, and he also writes a lot on Facebook (and in my view is one of the rare people who can use FB quite well to engage). So do give God thanks for Matt and his ministry, pray for him. If you are passing through Binghamton, visit his church and say ”˜G’day’ (I would love to, but being on the other side of the pond makes it rather difficult). Better still, if you are looking for a church that is faithful to Christ and his Word and you live in the area, join his church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)

(Bloomberg) The Fastest-Growing Metro Area in U.S. Has No Crime or Kids

For Jerry Conkle, life in America’s fastest-growing metropolitan area moves as slowly as the golf carts that meander through his palm-lined neighborhood at dusk. Most days, he wakes early, reads the newspaper, and then hops into his four-wheeled buggy for a 20-mile-per-hour ride to one of the 42 golf courses that surround his home.

“It’s like an adult Disney World,” Conkle, 77, said of The Villages, Florida, whose expansion has come with virtually no crime, traffic, pollution — or children.

The mix has attracted flocks of senior citizens, making The Villages the world’s largest retirement community. Its population of 110,000 has more than quadrupled since 2000, U.S. Census Bureau data show. It rose 5.2 percent last year, on par with megacities like Lagos, Nigeria, and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., City Government, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Politics in General, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(IBN) 100 years Ago Tomorrow in Sarajevo–the day that changed the world

Sunny Sarajevo was in festive mood on June 28, 1914 for the visit of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But it was to be a dark day, and one that changed the world.

By 11 o’clock, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire would be dead, an assassination that plunged Europe into four years of horrific conflict that killed millions.

“There were flags everywhere, the whole city was covered with flags. As children, we had to stand in the front,” one witness told Austrian radio in 1994 for the 80th anniversary.

Read it all. Also, I caught this NPR piece running errands this morning.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Bosnia and Herzegovina, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, History, Politics in General, Theology, Violence

Church of England's Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) tightens investment restrictions

The EIAG also announced that during 2013 it instructed votes for the Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board on over 30,000 resolutions at approximately 3,000 company general meetings. Reflecting wider concern over executive remuneration packages, the EIAG withheld support in over 70% of cases.

In wider corporate engagement, church investors recorded important successes in the areas of both alcohol and pornography. After engagement with the EIAG, all three major UK-listed supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – published alcohol policies newly acknowledging the potential for alcohol to cause harm. In the area of pornography, church investor engagement with a major telecommunications company led to the company ceasing to promote pornographic material on its handsets in the UK.

The threshold reduction follows a review requested by the Archbishop of Canterbury in light of the “Wonga controversy.” As a consequence of the review process revenue thresholds used to exclude companies on account of their involvement in tobacco, gambling, high interest rate lending and human embryonic cloning have been capped at 10% from the previous threshold of 25%.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stock Market, Theology

(NYT) Redrawn Lines Seen as No Cure in Iraq Conflict

Over the past two weeks, the specter that has haunted Iraq since its founding 93 years ago appears to have become a reality: the de facto partition of the country into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish cantons.

With jihadists continuing to entrench their positions across the north and west, and the national army seemingly incapable of mounting a challenge, Americans and even some Iraqis have begun to ask how much blood and treasure it is worth to patch the country back together.

It is a question that echoes not only in Syria ”” also effectively divided into mutually hostile statelets ”” but also across the entire Middle East, where centrifugal forces unleashed by the Arab uprisings of 2011 continue to erode political structures and borders that have prevailed since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(BBC) New Bishop of Basingstoke announced

The new Bishop of Basingstoke has been announced as the Reverend Canon David Williams.

The current vicar of Christ Church Winchester will be consecrated at Winchester Cathedral on 19 September.

The 53-year-old succeeds the Right Reverend Peter Hancock, who is now the Bishop of Bath and Wells.

Canon Williams said he and his wife Helen were “looking forward to this new chapter in our lives” in north Hampshire.

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

(Guardian Moneyblog) The Church of England's unholy mess over its Wonga stake

In a speech in Westminster, Welby pointed out that loan sharks sometimes turn up with baseball bats if customers do not pay. It now turns out that Wonga sends out menacing letters from non-existent solicitors if its customers miss their repayments.

And, herein lies the problem for the Church of England. Its Church Commissioners arm has a £100,000 stake in Wonga ”“ albeit less than it was but a stake nonetheless, held through the Accel Partners investment vehicle which backed one of the payday lenders’ funding rounds.

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

“Xe, xem, and xyr”–Vancouver school brd approves new pronouns to address transgender students

Grammar teachers may need to amend their lesson plans after the Vancouver school board approved Monday a policy change that welcomes a brand-new string of pronouns into Vancouver public schools: “xe, xem, and xyr.”

The pronouns are touted as alternatives to he/she, him/her, and his/hers, and come as last-minute amendments to the board’s new policy aimed at better accommodating transgender students in schools.

The vote came after a brief debate that sparked unrest among opponents of the policy who shouted “dictator” and “liar” at trustees, as security guards and police officers watched from their posts at council doors. But supporters waved pink and blue-coloured flags and drowned out the detractors with their cheers once the policy passed. Three previous public meetings were similarly rowdy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Sexuality, Theology

(CEN) Graham Archer–What can be done to Improve Clergy Morale?

[The following are]… separate steps people [can] take to improve their own morale:

Invest in relationships with people who know you that you trust, who are heading towards the same goals. People who can cheer you on and vice versa. People who will celebrate your successes and stand with you in the inevitable failures, those who you can tell what is under the mask. A virtual team with mutual respect.
Set some life goals that reflect the most significant current spheres of life. Work, family, hobbies, studies, etc., and give them some measurable values. Not New Year resolutions, more intentional investments in the things that matter.
Take seriously personal and professional investment. The clearest positive trend in the ”˜FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to work for 2013’ research document highlights employee development, with staff being given on average 66 hours per year of professional development.
Guard against compassion fatigue. Our emotional resources are not infinite and in a caring profession we cannot take on all the cares of the world despite the information superhighway telling us everything we need to know about things we can worry about. Respond well to a limited number of needs.Find people, publications or websites that have a ”˜can do’ air about them. I was on a mission stand at an event recently where Jackie Pullinger was speaking. After the event I overheard a number of people saying things like, ”˜she made me feel that mission was possible, that I could play a part’.
Be intentional about eating and sleeping well.
And finally, rely on God.

Read it all (subscription called for).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Church Times) One C of E priest in a same sex marriage weds, another is disciplined

As one priest celebrated entering a same-sex marriage this weekend, another faced penalties for doing so.

The Vicar of St Mary with All Souls’, Kilburn, and St James’s, West Hampstead, the Revd Andrew Cain, married his partner of 14 years, Stephen Foreshew, on Saturday at Maidenhead register office, in the presence of two witnesses.

Fr Cain said on Tuesday that it had been emotional. “I’ve done lots of weddings; so I was not expecting the service to be moving, and it was. I was quite tearful at one point, as was Stephen. It was quite lovely.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Anne Hendershott–No apology necessary from Church of England on baptisms

Declaring that the devil has departed from the Church of England’s baptism service, The Guardian reported on June 20 that “a simplified baptism which omits mention of the devil” is now favored by the clergy who have test-marketed it throughout the United Kingdom. Claiming that the traditional rejection of the devil and all rebellion against God “put off people who are offended to be addressed as sinners,” clergy claimed that they found it much easier to ask parents and godparents to make vows that do not mention Satan.

Responding to a population “which sees no pressing reason to spend Sunday mornings or any other time in Church,” the Guardian reports, the new and improved baptism service also deletes the instruction to the godparents that the child will keep God’s commandments, and learn what a Christian “ought to know and believe to his soul’s health” ”” promising only that the church “shall do all that we can to ensure that there is a welcoming place for you. We will play our part in helping you guide these children along the way of faith.”

The decision to delete the devil from the ritual reveals that the Church of England may be losing its sense of sin ”” and its need for salvation. More than 60 years ago, T.S. Eliot wrote about the sense of alienation that occurred when social regulators ”” like the church ”” began to splinter and the controlling moral authority of a society is no longer effective. He suggested that a “sense of sin” was beginning to disappear. In his play “The Cocktail Party,” a troubled young woman confides in her psychiatrist that she feels “sinful” because of her relationship with a married man. She is distressed not so much by the illicit relationship, but rather, by the strange sense of sin. Eliot writes that “having a sense of sin seems abnormal she believed that she had become ill.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Baptism, Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sacramental Theology, Soteriology, Theology

(Faithstreet) J.R. Briggs–Why Do Half of All Pastors Want to Quit Their Jobs?

When I share these [sobering] statistics [on the discontent and discouragement among parish minsiters and their families] with pastors, they slowly, knowingly nod their heads.

Yet when I share these statistics with non-clergy, they are shocked: “How can this be? I had no idea!” A widespread Super Pastor mentality has led us to believe that pastors never struggle, never doubt, never get discouraged, and never wrestle with feelings of failure ”” just because they’re pastors.
Read more in Briggs’ recent book Fail.Read more in J.R. Briggs’ latest book.

But pastors are people, too. Ministry is a significant calling and it is involves broken, sinful, and scandalously ordinary people God calls and uses to shepherd souls. These broken ordinaries are called pastors.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

–Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

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