Daily Archives: July 16, 2014

(JE) Jeff Walton–Do Episcopalians Have a Church Planting Problem?

On the contrary, starting new churches first will probably help the existing churches in the same community. Pastor Tim Keller of New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church notes: “studies have shown that if there is one church per ten thousand residents, approximately 1 percent of the population will be churchgoers. If this ratio goes to one church per one thousand residents, some 15 to 20 percent of the city’s population goes to church. If the number goes to one per five hundred residents, the number may approach 40 percent or more.”

In short, a rising tide lifts all ships. In Northern Virginia, I’ve long observed a flurry of successful church planting activity, even as the largest congregations ”“ such as McLean Bible Church ”“ continued to grow.

I would also take issue with [Jim] Naughton’s assertion that the resources freed up by church closures will enable more successful church starts. Studies on church plants show that, over the long-term, larger sums of money devoted to new church starts do not correlate with a substantially higher level of success. If you recruit entrepreneurial young church planters, it might even be to their benefit to be bi-vocational, where they may be more likely to interact with potential future parishioners.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Soteriology, Theology

They show no Mercy–A Scary Earlier LA Times Article on Boko Haram, reminding us why to pray

hen Boko Haram invaded her village last year, the Islamist extremists burned the churches, destroyed Bibles and photographs and forced Hamatu Juwanda to renounce Christianity.

“They said we should never go back to church because they had brought a new religion,” the 50-year-old said. “We were going to be converted to Islam.”

The head of the village, a Muslim, presented her with a thick nylon hijab to cover her head and renamed her Aisha.

She submitted, smarting with rage. Women who didn’t wear the hijab were beaten.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

[Lent & Beyond] Prayer for South Carolina Wednesday July 16th

1 Chronicles 16:28-31 (ESV)
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth;
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

Yes, Lord, You reign over the world. You reign over the church assets in the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina.
You reign among the nations and the families of the peoples. You reign over the trial between the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina. You reign. Amen.

Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here. We are grateful to Lent and Beyond for these daily prayers.

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

(TLC) Key Moments in C of E Synod’s Debate on Women Bishops

Some observers think a speech in the final stages of the 2012 vote tipped balance and led to defeat of the measure. This time the final speaker, a blind member who is an evangelical from Bristol, the Rev. John Spence, seemed to tip it the other way.

Directing comments to evangelical opponents, he said: “Your faith is my faith, is all of our faith, and every one of us has a vital role to ensure that the searing vision of the risen Christ is taken out into this country. ”¦ I am confident that we can walk hand in hand, and return the risen Christ to his rightful place at the centre of this country, its conscience, and its culture.” Spence won a standing ovation.

In greeting the result the Archbishop of Canterbury said: “Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases, disagreeing. The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Women

(Independent) Home burials: Why let strangers care for the ones you love?

The revelation this week about the home burial of Kirsty Allsopp’s mother came as no surprise to us agents of change at the Natural Death Centre charity. Her mother’s request for a ‘stranger free’, private, swift, home interment, expresses an instinctive desire that I hear frequently. The public are now increasingly aware that they have choices, power and knowledge to retake control of how our bodies are treated and cared for after death.

The internet has made information available that is generally suppressed by the industry and misunderstood by many gate-keeping professionals, including medics, registrars and civil servants. In the UK we are very lucky to actually have such freedoms – most other countries are tightly controlled by the state, industry and Church. I am contacted by people from all over Europe and beyond who cannot believe that we are so free to choose and control our funerals. Oh how I love being British.

Many people are also starting to question why we automatically hand over the care of the bodies of those who we have loved and cuddled to strangers, when we can carry out that final act of love and care for them ourselves, if we so choose. I hope Kirsty and her family are greatly comforted by their achievement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Post-Gazette) Dan Simpson–Looking back at Vietnam reminds us of our ignorance

We should have learned a lot from the Vietnam War. It showed how ill-suited we are to engineer “regime change.” We signed on with a very corrupt, French-speaking Catholic minority government. When we tried to change horses to a series of generals, things got worse, not better. Vietnam also made it clear that pouring U.S. troops into a place like that doesn’t change the situation on the ground, and it eventually fractured our own society and wore out our own military.

Mr. Just’s protagonist gets it. It takes two deaths to teach him. The first is when he visits a village to inspect an aid project and faces a man carrying a dead woman in his arms. The second is when he is trying to find his way out of the jungle and has to kill a young boy who otherwise would have killed him.

This doesn’t mean the United States can’t interact with the rest of the world without causing damage or getting banged up itself. It simply means that we must make a mighty effort to understand the people with whom we are interacting, and, even more crucially, resist meddling in their affairs, particularly with military force, until we are absolutely certain we know what we are doing. In nearly all cases, that will mean we do not.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Books, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Politics in General, Theology

(RC Church in Eng. and Wales) A Statement on Women Bishops and the C. of England

The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.

Such full ecclesial communion embraces full communion in the episcopal office. The decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate therefore sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us. Nevertheless we are committed to continuing our ecumenical dialogue, seeking deeper mutual understanding and practical cooperation wherever possible.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Women

([London] Times) New Minister of St Giles to confront secularism in Scotland

A clergyman who led a huge downtown congregation in Chicago has been appointed minister of the most important Presbyterian church in Scotland.

The Rev Calum MacLeod, 46, was chosen as minister of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, in succession to the Very Rev Dr Gilleasbuig Macmillan, after preaching at the weekend to his new Edinburgh congregation.

Yesterday, in an interview with The Times, he signalled his intention to confront what is widely perceived in the Kirk as raucous secularism within wider society and to seek to increase his congregation.

The contrast between the minister’s new parish and his old church could hardly be stronger. Though both are important city-centre institutions, the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago has a membership of 5,500, about 11 times larger than St Giles.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Scotland, Secularism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

"Assisted Dying": Archbp Welby signs faith leaders' statement against Lord Falconer’s Bill

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby today joins over 20 British faith leaders calling for Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill not to be enacted.

In a joint statement ahead of the House of Lords debate on Friday, the faith leaders said that if passed the bill would have “a serious detrimental effect on the wellbeing of individuals and on the nature and shape of our society.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology

Trial Day 6: Bishop Lawrence Tried to Keep Diocese of S.C. "Intact and in TEC"

Countering Episcopal Church allegations that Bishop Mark Lawrence engineered the Diocese of South Carolina’s withdrawal from The Episcopal Church (TEC), a witness for the denomination on Tuesday acknowledged that the bishop was committed to remaining part of the denomination.

The Rev. Marshall Dow Sanderson of Holy Communion, Charleston, was called by TEC during the trial to protect the property of the diocese and its parishes from seizure by the national denomination. However, on cross examination, Sanderson admitted that Bishop Lawrence consistently sought to keep the Diocese intact within the national church before TEC attempted to remove him. He testified that, during a meeting of the clergy in 2009, Lawrence went so far as to coin the phrase “Intact and In TEC”.

TEC has repeatedly suggested that Lawrence had engineered the diocese’s withdrawal from the denomination over several years, conspiring with members of the clergy to separate from the national church. However, the “Intact and In TEC” slogan was used by Lawrence until the national church tried to remove him in 2012 ”“ as he was still trying to work out differences between the Diocese and the denomination.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Look upon our lives, O Lord our God, and make them thine in the power of thy Holy Spirit; that we may walk in thy way, faithfully believing thy Word, and faithfully doing thy commandments; faithfully serving thee, and faithfully serving our neighbour; to the furtherance of thy glorious kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Diocese of York

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Early in the morning Joshua rose and set out from Shittim, with all the people of Israel; and they came to the Jordan, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it, that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, a distance of about two thousand cubits; do not come near it.” And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass on before the people.” And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.
And the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And you shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ”˜When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.” And Joshua said, “Hereby you shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Per”²izzites, the Gir”²gashites, the Amorites, and the Jeb”²usites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is to pass over before you into the Jordan. Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. And when the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be stopped from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”

–Joshua 3:1-13

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Nigerian acrimony over abducted girls

Nigeria’s president has accused activists of “playing politics” after his meeting with parents of the abducted schoolgirls was called off.

The #BringBackOurGirls group should be ashamed of manipulating “the victims of terrorism”, he said.

Mr Jonathan had been due to hold his first meeting with some of the girls’ parents on Tuesday.

Islamist group Boko Haram captured more than 200 girls during a raid on their boarding school in Chibok in April.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Children, Islam, Marriage & Family, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Terrorism

[Lent & Beyond] Prayer for South Carolina Tuesday July 15th

Psalm 9:9-10 (ESV)
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Lord, Your name is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe. We thank You for the security of Your name. We proclaim Your holy name over the trial between the Episcopal Church in South Carolina and the Diocese of South Carolina. Amen.

Please pray it all if you wish and there are more prayers from Lent and Beyond for South Carolina here. We are grateful to Lent and Beyond for these wonderful prayers.

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

(IBD) Social Security To Go Bust By 2030: CBO

The $2.8 trillion Social Security Trust Fund is on track to be totally spent by 2030, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

That’s one year earlier than projected in 2013 and a decade earlier than the CBO estimated as recently as 2011.

The CBO delivered the warning in a gloomy long-term budget outlook that shows federal debt reaching 106% of GDP in 25 years, up from 74% now.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Budget, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Social Security, The National Deficit, The U.S. Government, Theology