Daily Archives: June 23, 2015

Condolences of the Russian Orthodox Church over the Tragedy in South Carolina

Please accept my sincere condolences over the tragedy that happened at the Emanuel Parish of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the city of Charleston, South Carolina, as a result of which the blood of innocent Christians was shed.

More and more frequently we become witnesses to criminal actions committed on the grounds of intolerance and pointing to the growth of strife and hate in the world. In this connection, one of the primary tasks facing those who confess the name of Christ is to assert the ideals of goodness and love of the neighbour in today’s society, as the Gospel calls us to do.

I am praying to the Lord for the repose of the souls of the dead and for the consolation of the bereaved relatives and friends.

With love in Christ,

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk
Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations
Moscow Patriarchate

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Posted in * South Carolina

Reform/Oxf'd DEF: Evangelicals call for the Church of England to uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This week began with Katherine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (TEC) of the USA, preaching in Westminster Abbey; it will end, we are told with Canon Michael Smith of York Minster blessing the York Gay Pride March. In between we have seen the Bishop of Buckingham describe doctrine that he swore to teach and pass on as ”˜lousy’.

Nowhere in any of this has there been the clear message of the Gospel that despite our rejection of his ways we are all loved by God and can find forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is not surprising, then, that the majority of the world’s Anglicans now look to the Primates of Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) for Leadership ”“ the only question is whether after weeks like this one, those in the Church of England who wish to proclaim this Gospel will be forced to follow the same path.
“Christianity is based on revealed doctrine, enabling individuals to live rightly before a Holy God as followers of Jesus Christ. He tells us how to live in all areas of life, including in areas of sexual behaviour. No denomination is at liberty to invent its own doctrine or to sacrifice revealed doctrine on the altars of contemporary fashion. We cannot be authentically Christian whilst simultaneously rejecting the teaching of the one we claim to follow.”
Rev Simon Austen ”“ Rector of St Leonard’s Church, Exeter Diocese

“York Minster’s leading the way in the Gay Pride march is symbolic of what the Church of England’s leadership is doing generally on this issue ”“ leading people away from the clear teaching of the Bible and the Gospel. It exposes the sham of the consultation process for what it is ”“ a means by which the church can validate homosexual activity. One would hope that the Archbishop of York would do his duty and speak clearly, upholding the Bible’s position.”
Rev Melvin Tinker, St John’s Church, Newland, York Diocese

“I am deeply disappointed that Alan Wilson persists in undermining the teaching of the Church by his overt support of those who have gone against the clear rules governing clergy discipline. Describing the Church’s teaching and doctrine as “lousy” is quite breathtakingly arrogant and not language that one would expect from a senior leader in the Church. Were I in secular employment and so at odds with the leadership and core values of the company that employed me, I would resign forthwith as a matter of conscience.”
Rev Will Pearson-­”Gee -­” Rector of Buckingham, Oxford Diocese

“The Bishop of Buckingham courts publicity for his revisionist agenda and gets it. He has sadly become a figure of disunity in the Oxford Diocese and a cause of grief to many faithful Anglican Christians. The version of marriage he espouses is incompatible with Biblical Christianity.”
Rev Will Stileman ”“ Vicar of St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead and Chair of the Oxford Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship

“Sooner or later everyone in the Church of England will have to decide whether they have confidence in what God says about marriage and human sexuality in the Scriptures. If we are not willing to trust what God says is good for us and for our society then we lose the claim to be authentically Christian. And in the course of time God will make it plain that our claims to be Christian are hollow. Jeremiah 7:28 speaks of truth perishing and being cut off from the lips of God’s people, and the prophet is clear about the disastrous consequences of that”.
Rev Mark Burkill ”“Vicar of Christ Church, Leyton, Chelmsford Diocese

“The Bishop of Buckingham is a runaway train, and has lost the confidence of many of the clergy in the Diocese of Oxford who would have him nowhere near their churches. There is now a crisis of leadership in Oxford Diocese, shown in the fact that the Diocese was unable to appoint a Diocesan Bishop who can work with Buckingham. The Bishop of Buckingham thinks he can make up doctrine on the hoof to suit his own revisionist agenda. That is not how the Church of England does things”.
Rev James Paice, Vicar of St Luke’s Wimbledon Park, Southwark Diocese

Read it all [pdf]

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Anglican Bishop Backs Buhari On the pursuit of International Help with Boko Haram Fight

The Bishop of the Calabar Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Reverend Tunde Adeleye, has given kudos to President Muhammadu Buhari for successfully mobilising the international community to provide support in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Ian Paul: Is Wrong Doctrine Harmful?

For me, the low point came in reading the testimony of Richard Inwood yesterday. I need to exercise some caution here””until very recently Richard was my Acting Diocesan Bishop. My strong impression is that he has been put in a very difficult position, in effect the key player in the most pressing issue of the moment for the Church, on which national Church issues might hinge, but perhaps without the support from the centre that one might have expected.
………
if there is ”˜no harm’ when clergy defy their bishops, then we are heading for a time of institutional chaos, when everyone ”˜does what is right in his (her) own eyes’. As we move into a more clearly post-Christendom context, where residual loyalty to the institutional church is disappearing faster than the bath-water down a plughole, this is going to be a practical disaster.

But the underlying issue is (intriguingly) the one that the tribunal judge intervenes on. If doctrine has been breached, but no harm will come, what (he asks in effect) is the point of doctrine? If the bishops of the Church of England have lost confidence in the importance of right doctrine, and the danger of wrong doctrine, then we are all in deep trouble.
……..
as Anthony Thiselton points out in The Hermeneutics of Doctrine, for the first Christians doctrine was about their fundamental disposition in life; the claims of the creeds and credal statements weren’t simply claims about facts, but what they based their life on. They really believed that ”˜The truth will set you free’ (John 8.32). That is why doctrine matters, not least in this area of what it means to be created, male and female in the image of God, and the implications of that for sexual behaviour. If the bishops do not believe that wrong doctrine in this area is harmful, then now is the time to abandon any theology of marriage. In fact:

Christianity is based on revealed doctrine, enabling individuals to live rightly before a Holy God as followers of Jesus Christ. He tells us how to live in all areas of life, including in areas of sexual behaviour. No denomination is at liberty to invent its own doctrine or to sacrifice revealed doctrine on the altars of contemporary fashion. We cannot be authentically Christian whilst simultaneously rejecting the teaching of the one we claim to follow.” (Rev Simon Austen, Rector of St Leonard’s Church, Exeter Diocese) [Ref from here]

That is why the ministry of teaching is at the heart of Anglican understandings of what it means to be deacon, priest (presbyter) and bishop. That is why, in the Articles, preaching and the sacraments go hand in hand””teaching must lead to action, but action without teaching is like a ship without a rudder.
……
I sincerely hope that senior bishops in the Church will now speak up and correct the impression that has been given. Doctrine does underlie this issue; doctrine does matter; wrong doctrine causes harm. If they don’t speak now and publicly, I cannot see but that it will be the end of the Church of England as we know it.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

York Mix: Minster teams up with York Pride in historic show of LGBT support


York Minster will join this year’s York Pride in an historic show of support for the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT).

The 50m-long rainbow flag, at the heart of the Pride parade on Saturday (June 20), will be unfurled on the steps of the Minster for the first time.

Canon Michael Smith of the Minster will launch the parade. He said:

I am delighted to be involved in the York Pride Parade as it prepares to start again, this year, from the steps of the Minster.

At York Minster we invite everyone to discover God’s love through our welcome, worship, learning and work, and I am looking forward to sharing with other local organisations in welcoming and affirming the LGBT community from our city and beyond and saying a short prayer and a blessing as they begin their Parade.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Statement on her gay pride blessing decision by wannabee bishop Vivienne Faull

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See also: Telegraph – CofE’s top female cleric: I would have ”˜no problem’ with blessings for gay marriages
The Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull ”“ tipped as a future bishop ”“ says effect of the Church’s stance on same-sex marriage is ”˜dreadful’

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

(NYT Op-ed) Morris Dees+J. Richard Cohen–White Supremacists Without Borders

A variety of clues to the motives of Dylann Storm Roof, the suspect in last week’s mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., have emerged. First, we saw the patches he wore on his jacket in a Facebook photo: the flags of regimes in South Africa and Rhodesia that brutally enforced white minority rule.

Then, a further cache of photos of Mr. Roof ”” seen in several bearing a Confederate flag ”” was discovered on a website, Last Rhodesian, registered in his name, together with a manifesto, a hodgepodge of white supremacist ideas. The author (most likely Mr. Roof) calls on whites to take “drastic action” to regain dominance in America and Europe.

These themes, popular among white supremacists in the United States, are also signs of the growing globalization of white nationalism. When we think of the Islamist terrorism of groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, we recognize their international dimension. When it comes to far-right domestic terrorism, we don’t.

Americans tend to view attacks like the mass murder in Charleston as isolated hate crimes, the work of a deranged racist or group of zealots lashing out in anger, unconnected to a broader movement. This view we can no longer afford to indulge.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Anglican Unscripted 186 – How to make a Brit mad!


With thanks to Kevin Kallsen at Anglican TV

See: Reform/Oxf’d DEF: Evangelicals call for the Church of England to uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE)

Economist on the Confederate Flag–Time for the museum

Defenders of the Confederate flag say there is nothing inherently controversial or racist about it. It was adopted by the Confederate armies because the official Confederate national flag, the “stars and bars”, looked too much like the Union’s stars and stripes, and Confederate troops were killed by friendly fire in the smoke and confusion of battle. Its design was based on the cross of St Andrew, featuring in the Scottish and United Kingdom flags.

But what the Confederate flag means to most black Americans today, and to millions of their countrymen, is all too plain. The designer of Georgia’s 1956 flag was an explicit segregationist. The state legislature voted for the new flag after Denmark Groover, a state lawmaker, said it was created to “serve notice that we intend to uphold what we stood for, will stand for, and will fight for”.

Such remarks cannot be unsaid, nor unheard. But while “history cannot be unlived,” in the words of Maya Angelou, people can still change. Half a century after pushing Georgia’s new flag, Groover returned to the state legislature to support changing it. Many other white southerners have trod a similar same path, first clutching the Confederate flag in a burst of reactionary racism, then insisting the symbol had nothing to do with slavery or segregation, and finally, as Groover did, admitting the obvious: “It has become the most divisive issue on the political spectrum and needs to be put to rest.”

Read it all (and if necessary another link there).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, America/U.S.A., City Government, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Prominent Oxford Diocese Evangelicals call for the resignation of Bishop Alan Wilson

David Ould reports

This morning not one but two prominent evangelical ministers in the Diocese of Oxford appeared on BBC radio to call for the resignation of Bishop Alan Wilson.

First, Vaughan Roberts of St Ebbes Oxford, one of the largest churches in the diocese, appeared on BBC Radio Oxford. You can hear a brief grab from him here on the Charles Nove Show (available for 30 days from the time of broadcast) at 1:10 into the programme followed by Alan Wilson. Roberts says,

In any line of work if you as a leader of that organisation find yourself in a fundamental disagreement with that organisation and then you publicly speak against it, the only sensible option is to resign. He must be in a very difficult position and if he finds that he doesn’t now support this view on a fundamental issue (of marriage) by the organisation he is called to serve and to lead – obviously he should resign.

An hour later Will Pearson-Gee, the Rector of Buckingham Parish Church appeared on the BBC Radio Berks Sunday morning show. The full audio of his interview and a response from Wilson is below.

It’s worth noting a couple of things at this point…

Read it all [h/t Stand Firm]
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Watch Bishop Alan Wilson speaking in October 2014 here

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

(CHE) Professor Chad Williams Crowdsources a Syllabus on the Charleston Massacre

Q. Where is the #CharlestonSyllabus hosted, and what kind of measurable response have you seen so far?

A. It’s on the African American Intellectual History Society’s website. Since Saturday, when it went up, it’s had over 55,000 views, averaging 900 an hour. It’s gotten almost 20,000 likes on Facebook, 13,000 mentions and 28,000 engagements on Twitter. We’ve had a few trolls who’ve tried to hijack the thread with rants about how the Confederate flag is not a racist symbol but a source of Southern heritage and pride. But over all, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. By Sunday we had about 10,000 suggestions of books, articles, and other documents.

Q. Why do you think that #CharlestonSyllabus resonates in this current moment?

A. I’m a scholar of African-American history, and so I was thinking about this tragedy as a historical event as I was working through my own profound grief and sadness. This is the worst racial massacre since the Reconstruction era. What happened in Charleston is connected to other race riots of the 20th century, but this one is unique because of its explicitly religious and political intentions. We can’t disconnect it from the current moment, the killings of unarmed black people, the surge in white supremacy, and massive resistance to Obama.

Q. Can you say more about why were you so frustrated by news-media discussions surrounding the Charleston shooting?

A. So much of our conversations about race are rooted in emotions and feelings and not knowledge and facts. What I was hearing on the news lacked historical substance.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * South Carolina, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology

Statement from the Archbishop of York


Pictures at York Mix

“Clergy of the Diocese are entitled to express varying views on the question of human sexuality”

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See also: Milthorpe School: York Pride ”“ Wear a Rainbow Day

At Millthorpe, we will be dressing the outside of the building in rainbow bunting and rainbow flags and staff and students are invited to wear a rainbow piece of clothing, accessory or sticker, if they wish to do so. Students must wear full school uniform but can wear an additional piece of rainbow clothing or a rainbow accessory on top of their uniform. In addition, they will have the opportunity to collect a rainbow sticker and/or rainbow hand stamp from school, to show their support for equality between lesbian, gay, bisexual and straight people in York.

Read it all

More:
– Reform/Oxf’d DEF: Evangelicals call for the Church of England to uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ.
– Statement on her gay pride blessing decision by wannabee bishop Vivienne Faull
– York Mix: Minster teams up with York Pride in historic show of LGBT support
– Anglican Unscripted 186 – How to make a Brit mad!
– Prominent Oxford Diocese Evangelicals call for the resignation of Bishop Alan Wilson

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

(Local Paper) Charleston chamber of commerce calls for Confederate flag’s removal

The chamber said it believes the flags of the state of South Carolina and the United States of America, representing the sovereignty under which the state of South Carolina exists, should be the only flags displayed at the State House.

“Just as we did in 1999 when the Charleston Metro Chamber led local efforts to remove the flag from atop the Statehouse, we feel that the flag belongs in a place of historical reference,” said Bryan Derreberry, chamber president and CEO. “It is in the interest of all who live and work here that we show our ability to unite under the flag that is representative of everyone.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(BBB) Giving to Charleston Victims' Families: Donors Should Watch Out for Scams

In the wake of the horrific shooting that killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, BBB Wise Giving Alliance is warning about the potential for fund raising scams, and is urging donors to be aware of the different circumstances that often emerge in tragedy-related philanthropy.

“The hate crime that is being called the ”˜Charleston massacre’ is such a shocking and emotional event,” said Art Taylor, president and CEO of BBB Wise Giving Alliance, the national charity monitoring arm of the Better Business Bureau. “Many people are going to want to donate to the families of the victims, the historic church, and the community. We are warning donors to be on the lookout for questionable solicitors and scammers, not to mention people who might have good intentions but no experience with charity fund raising.”

BBB Wise Giving Alliance urges donors to give thoughtfully and avoid those seeking to take advantage of the generosity of others. Here are BBB WGA’s tips for trusted giving:

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

(ESPN FC) Graham Hays–US Women win but do not Impress in 2-0 Victory over Colombia

If the purpose here is to win the World Cup early next month, the United States is going to have to go through either Germany or France. Although the latter had its slip against the same team the United States beat Monday, in this tournament, the Americans haven’t come close to playing as well at their best as Germany and France have at their best.

Now the final opportunity to find fifth gear in advance of that potential game will take place without two of the players who would be integral to it.

Maybe it works out for the best. Maybe Morgan Brian, likely to replace Holiday in the middle of the field, and Christen Press, a good bet to replace Rapinoe wide, will be great against China. The Americans have long touted their depth, and on the oldest roster in the tournament, Brian and Press are two of the potential stars for 2015 and 2019.

Maybe that will give Holiday and Rapinoe valuable time off to rest and recover.

But the clouds that hovered just beyond Commonwealth Stadium on Monday night didn’t look like they had any silver linings. They just looked like trouble.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Globalization, Sports, Women