Monthly Archives: April 2015

(UCM) Susan Ralphe: To the People in the Pews ”“ with Love

It’s already happened. In late June in Kingsburg, Calif., all 371 members of Kingsburg United Methodist Church transferred their membership to the Kingsburg Community Church they had just founded. These brave Pacific pioneers, guided by a brighter light than the shine of silver or gold, were forced to leave the building they constructed and remodeled and other assets in the Conference’s hands.

Methodism is dying for renewal, and the light needed to fan the flame in its logo and its life must begin as tiny candles in the hearts and lives of individual members, in particular their prayer lives.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Ministry of the Laity, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Soteriology, Theology

(Acadia Advocate) Former SAAB showroom home to Baton Rouge Anglican church

At first glance, a Cadillac dealer’s showroom may not seem like a “mission outpost” of Christianity, but that’s exactly how Holy Cross Anglican Church was described by a visiting bishop when he blessed the congregation last Sunday evening.

Holy Cross Anglican worships at the Gerry Lane Cadillac dealership, in a spacious showroom where SAAB cars were once sold until the Swedish company liquidated three years ago.

Shepherded by the Rev. Ernie Saik, the 70-member congregation began worshipping there in September, but he didn’t want to make it public until the group could be blessed by the Rev. Clark W.P. Lowenfield, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast of the Anglican Church in North America.

“On this third Sunday of Easter we celebrate 1,982 years ago, when 11 apprentices of Jesus stepped off a mountain after being told to go and make more apprentices ”¦ and they changed the world,” Lowenfield preached as the sun streamed through the large showroom windows. “They started mission outposts all over the world. Mark went to Constantinople and Thomas went to India ”¦ and they began to establish exactly what you have established here ”” a mission outpost of the kingdom of God.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Parish Ministry

(UMNS) Divorced clergy barred from nomination as bishop in Liberia

Efforts to overturn a long-standing provision barring divorced clergy nomination for bishop in The United Methodist Church in Liberia were rejected by conference delegates on April 18. United Methodists who wanted the ban lifted picketed with homemade signs and sang, halting one afternoon session of the conference.

During the 182nd Session of the Liberia Conference, delegates voted 433 to 24 to affirm the rule barring divorced clergy persons from the episcopal office. Six delegates abstained from the voting process.

Those opposed to the bar argued the provision violated the rights of individuals who wanted to run for the episcopal office, since the bar is not in the Book of Discipline.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liberia, Marriage & Family, Methodist, Other Churches, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

[ACI] What Then Shall We Do? A Note on the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church

By Philip Turner and Ephraim Radner
In what way will our General Convention respond to subversion of our church’s governmental forms, common purposes and Gospel character? Viewing these events and trends in the full light of day we are bound to ask ourselves and others the question put to St. Peter by the crowd to which he preached. “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) Peter’s answer was “Repent”””turn around. Given the acrimony and bitterness that now characterizes TEC’s common life it would seem that a turning from our combative ways is certainly called for. As a church we certainly need a fresh start, but a fresh start must begin somewhere. Our analysis of the present treatment of our Constitution and Book of Common Prayer points to this place. Let us pull back and, in the processes of change, adhere to the boundaries the constitution has provided us so that change can come about decently and in order, rather than by slight of hand or the sheer exercise of power.Read it all

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Polity & Canons

(C of E) Welcome for Vatican Statement on Climate Change

The Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment says he shares a Vatican statement’s clear view that climate change is largely caused by human activity and mitigating it is a ‘moral and religious imperative for humanity’.

The Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, welcomed the statement on climate change by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences after a landmark conference in the Vatican this week.

Bishop Holtam said:

“Climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our day, for people of all faiths and people of no faith. I am delighted that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences have so clearly supported the scientific consensus that the major driver of climate change is almost certainly our burning of fossil fuels.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(GC) Dan Gyun–Broken and Burdened in Baltimore

As a church planter and pastor in Baltimore, my soul is burdened with all of the hurt and pain in my city this week. Though it has been encouraging to know that more people from around the country are praying for my city than ever before, right now I wish the city I love could be famous for different reasons.

The injuries sustained by Freddie Gray and his subsequent tragic death in police custody have rallied Baltimore residents, who had peacefully protested for weeks. Based on the coverage from major media outlets, however, one would believe that the protests have been all about random riots, looting, and fires.

I’ve seen many on social media asking why someone would destroy the neighborhoods where they live and that none of this would be happening if people simply made better choices or parents did a better job of raising their kids. However, we must avoid the temptation of letting the media paint us an overly simplistic picture of Baltimore and her issues.

These protests and riots are not merely the culmination of the past few weeks’ events. They are the collective groaning of years of brokenness from systemic sin in our city under a brewing simmer that had finally reached this boiling point.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, City Government, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Poverty, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(Diocese of South Carolina) Motion for Rehearing Denied; Ruling Not Based on Merits of Case

Today, April 29, 2015, the Federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond denied our motion for a rehearing of their decision to return to the District court the case of vonRosenberg vs. Lawrence, which asserted that this was a case of Federal trademark violations. ”¨The case will now go back to the Charleston court for further action. Several things remain true about this action. While the Fourth Circuit said that Judge Houck used the incorrect procedural standard to grant our Motion for Dismissal, it expressed no opinion on the merits of Bishop vonRosenberg’s claims. It was certainly not a ruling in their favor on the merits. It simply means that the court believes the standard used to make his decision to dismiss was the wrong one and should be reconsidered using the appropriate standard. The question is one of procedure and not the merit of the complaint itself. The judge could in fact reach the same conclusion, using the new standard. To that point, the standard called for by the court, exceptional circumstances, is arguably well met by the facts that we now have both a strong trial court ruling in our favor, as well as a date certain for the case to be heard by the South Carolina Supreme Court. All the issues at stake in the Federal complaint will be essentially resolved by that decision. ”¨

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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, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

(C of E) Court of Appeal upholds freedom of clergy to be office holders

The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Revd Dr John Inge said: “We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has taken this view of the matter. There has been considerable consultation with the clergy on this issue as well as discussions at General Synod, and clergy have consistently said that they don’t wish to change their status as office holders. To become employees, clergy would lose the freedoms which are at the heart of the Church’s ministry and this is not something that they want to give up.

It is regrettable that UNITE fails to understand the context in which parish clergy exercise their ministry whilst the Church seeks to uphold the freedoms enjoyed by its clergy.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(SF) Another Southern Episcopal Bishop Rejects the Gospel, Allows Same Sex Blessings

Choosing to allow same sex blessings within their diocese is the revisionist activist bishops’ way of pleasing their allies in the clergy, while enacting their own particular custom-little-ideology on the diocese, and at the same time trying to keep conservative parishioners in the pews with their money of course flowing to the diocesan budget by claiming “generosity” and “gracious space.”

There is no outcry for same sex blessings in any of these dioceses. The number of partnered gay persons who desire same sex blessings””even in Episcopal dioceses here in the South””is practically negligible, as our own diocesan survey demonstrated and as all of us, each in our own parishes, recognize.

No, these dioceses merely have bishops and clergy who are revisionist activists in their ideology and their particular custom little-gospel””a little-gospel that is so important to them that they are willing to divide the diocese over it””and who are determined to force their particular faith on their dioceses.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops

(Standard Digital) New Malindi Anglican Diocese in Kenya gets its first bishop

Archbishop [Eliud] Wabukala challenged leaders to practise responsible leadership guided by the principles of trust, reliability and accountability in the discharge of their duties.

The Archbishop reiterated terrorism was an international security concern and called upon the international community to address the issue instead of imposing travel advisories on Kenya. “Terrorism is not a Kenyan affair. US, UK and other countries should stop issuing travel advisories as this is a problem affecting all the countries, ” Wabukala said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Provinces

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor's Prayerbook

O God, our Father, we pray for thy Church, which is set today amid the perplexities of a changing order, and face to face with new tasks. Baptize her afresh in the life-giving spirit of Jesus. Bestow upon her a greater responsiveness to duty, a swifter compassion with suffering, and an utter loyalty to the will of God. Help her to proclaim boldly the coming of the Kingdom of God. Bid her cease from seeking her own life, lest she lose it. Make her valiant to give up her life to humanity; that, like her crucified Master, she may mount by the path of the cross to a higher glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Scripture Readings

See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations, “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh.

–Colossians 2:8-23

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Anglican Unscripted 174: Episcopal Church Bishops


With thanks to Kevin Kallsen and George Conger at Anglican TV

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, - Anglican: Commentary

(USA Today) Tom Krattenmaker–Secular movement faces 5 challenges

Seculars are known for what they are not ”” religious ”” more than what they are. This is part of a wider reputation problem borne out by atheists (the most visible subset of secular America) emerging as the second-least popular religion-related category on a “feeling thermometer” study by the Pew Research Center, with Muslims barely edging out atheists for the dubious honor of being last.

A wide swath of the American public continues to equate God belief with morality. A reminder of this comes courtesy of the recent speech by conservative Christian icon Phil Robertson, who graphically described an atheist family being tortured and murdered and having no legitimate basis to object, given their non-belief in God. This notion is patently unfair and unsupported by data. Research shows, in fact, that non-religious families do well at fostering ethical behavior and moral values among their offspring. Secular people can be and generally are “good without God,” to cite the slogan of the American Humanist Association. Even so, the movement has a way to go in convincing the rest of the culture.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Secularism

(Guelph Mercury) The Future of another Guelph Anglican church is unclear

As the debate around the sale of the St. Matthias Anglican church heats up, the future of another Anglican place of worship in the Royal City is left uncertain.

The Anglican Diocese of Niagara says the congregation at St. David and St. Patrick, at 520 Speedvale Ave. E., will move to worship at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church this June.

Reverend Bill Mous, director of justice, community and global ministries at the diocese, wrote in an email to the Mercury the Anglican parish has entered into a two-year “partnership agreement” with the nearby Lutheran church.

That leaves the future of the Anglican church building unclear.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture