Daily Archives: September 23, 2016

(Economist) Online send-off: Technology is starting to change British funerals

Turn around in your seat at the crematorium in the Berkshire town of Thatcham and you will see a web-cam, fixed to a beam, following the proceedings. It enables anyone who could not make it to the service to follow from afar. The valley of the shadow of death is now being live-streamed.

Demand is growing. The crematorium gets one live-streaming request a week. Obitus, the company that hooked up the system, currently has cameras in 25 locations, charging £2,500 ($3,245) to install and manage the technology.

Forty years ago, “virtually every funeral was the same,” says Paul Allcock, president of the national funeral directors’ society””from the cortege to the Church of England rites. Nothing like the outdoorsy family that inquired this week about using a camper van as a hearse””typical, says Mr Allcock, of a customer base that is less religious, more diverse, and keen to personalise their departure.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Blogging & the Internet, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

New Steps on an Ancient Pilgrimage: Walking Together from Canterbury to Rome

Thirty-six IARCCUM Anglican and Catholic bishops, representing 19 different regions where Anglicans and Catholics live side by side in significant number, will meet in Canterbury and Rome for a summit meeting in October of this year. The bishops will arrive in Canterbury for the first leg of their meeting on 30th September. They will be staying at the Lodge in Canterbury Cathedral, will take part in the liturgical life of the Cathedral, and will make a pilgrim visit to the shrine of St Thomas à Becket, where Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Robert Runcie prayed together.

Read it all and follow the links.

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

The Parish Newsletter of Christ Saint Paul's Yonges Island SC for this week

Praying for our Presidential Election
Every Monday thru 11/7
5:30-6:30pm in the Church

Here is another opportunity to “Be the Church” and be intentional about prayer. Every Monday until the Presidential election, come gather in the church for concentrated intentional prayer for the upcoming election. Can’t make it by 5:30? That’s okay; just join as you can during this hour as we pray for our Heavenly Father to pour out His Spirit for wisdom and guidance in the coming election.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Care, Spirituality/Prayer

Archbishop Welby: Church of England schools can help shape 'hopeful' society

Education is at the heart of the work the Church of England does for the common good. Through its 4,500 primary and 200 secondary schools, it educates around one million children a day. It is estimated that around 15 million people alive today attended a Church of England school.

The fundamental purpose of Church of England education is to nurture people to live life in all its fullness, inspired by Jesus’s message in the Gospel of John: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly.[John 10:10]” Non-church schools also have inspiring visions, albeit articulated in different language; to inspire and educate the whole person, building them up to flourish in the world.

As teachers across the country well know, the education of children, in church and non-church schools, is taking place against a backdrop of deep uncertainty and rapid change.

Read it all from the TES.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

C of E Cathedral statistics 2015 show continued growth

Attendance at cathedral worship continues to increase with mid-week attendance rising and Sunday attendance stable in 2015, according to the latest Cathedral Statistics, published today. The figures confirm the trend of gradual growth in cathedral attendance noted in the report From Anecdote to Evidence published in 2014.

On average, 36,700 people (adults and children) attended services each week at the 42 cathedrals in England during 2015. This is an increase of 18% from 31,200 in 2005. Midweek attendance increased from 12,700 to 18,900, contributing most of the increase. Attendance at Sunday services has remained generally stable, at around 17,900 in 2015. Numbers on community rolls increased by 5% from 15,100 in 2014 to 15,900 in 2015.

Other regular services, such as fresh expressions and schools services conducted at least once a month and not part of the weekly pattern of services, attracted 471,300. More than 1.1 million people attended 5,310 public/civic events held in cathedrals.

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

(Church Times) Declining figures in Wales noted with ”˜a heavy heart’

Average Sunday attendance for over-18s had fallen from 30,424 in 2014 to 29,019 in 2015: a fall of five per cent. Easter communicants were down one per cent to 51,435, while the number of Christmas communicants had fallen three per cent to 49,972.

“I’d like to make clear I am not here as a doom-and-gloom merchant, merely to present the facts,” the chairman of the Representative Body, James Turner, said.

“Attendances appear to be falling, but that is not the case in nearly half of our parishes. We fear the church is losing touch with our young people, but there are indications that, through hard work and intentional investment, good things are happening around the country.

Read it all.

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

(TLC Covenant) Jordan Hylden: 'Rebuilding a culture of teaching and learning'

The great catechist of the Early Church, St. Augustine, knew better. L. Gregory Jones, in his valuable essay on baptism and catechesis in the patristic era[1], pointed out that for Augustine instruction of the mind and the conversion of the heart were not alternatives, but two sides of the same coin, as the human person is drawn by grace through an extended period of catechetical instruction to exchange error and sin for the knowledge and love of the true God.

This “instruction,” Jones writes, should be conceived of broadly; in the patristic era, it included “learning Scripture through study and hearing homilies ”¦ and the shaping of their affections ”¦ and being mentored in actual Christian living.” Augustine’s teaching immersed catechumens in the biblical narrative, not simply as “our story” to be expressed in this way or that, but in the intellectually rich mode of faith seeking understanding of the true God.

As a trained rhetor, Augustine was no dry pedant, but sought to “stir genuine delight in his listeners” so that they would come to love that which their minds were beginning to understand. Catechumens were assigned mentors to guide them relationally through the journey of conversion, for Augustine knew that “Christ is announced through Christian friends.” These sponsors were charged with keeping watch over the moral and spiritual formation of new believers, and in Lent would be asked whether their charges had kept from grievous sin and stuck to their Lenten disciplines.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Adult Education, Books, Church History, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Christina Rossetti

O Lord, whose way is perfect: Help us, we pray thee, always to trust in thy goodness; that walking with thee in faith, and following thee in all simplicity, we may possess quiet and contented minds, and cast all our care on thee, because thou carest for us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

From the Morning Bible Readings

Dost thou work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise thee?…Is thy steadfast love declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in Abaddon? Are thy wonders known in the darkness, or thy saving help in the land of forgetfulness?

–Psalm 88:10-12

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Eleanor Parker) An equinox miracle-story about St Dunstan

An unusual miracle recorded in Eadmer of Canterbury’s Life of St Dunstan, written in the early years of the twelfth century:

[Dunstan], while setting up his hospices at suitable intervals in his villages which were far afield from Canterbury, built a wooden church at Mayfield, just as he had in the locations of his other hospices. And while he was dedicating it and walking around it according to ritual he noticed that it was not aligned with the rising of the sun at the equinox; it is related that while passing near it he pushed it slightly with his shoulder and immediately changed it from its former orientation into direct alignment with the East where he wanted it. No one doubts that he could do this easily unless there exists someone who doubts the words of Christ our Lord in which he promises to those who have faith like a mustard seed that they can move even a mountain with their words.

Read it all and don’t miss the diagram on the first day of Fall 2016.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History

Thursday Mental Health Break– 'Forever Country' Video

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Music

Todd Simonis' First Sermon at Saint Helena's Beaufort, SC–The True Mediator

Sermon from 1 Timothy 2:1-7 & Luke 16:1-13. QUESTIONS for Small Groups: (1) In 1 Timothy 2:1, Paul mentions various types of prayer (supplication, intercession, thanksgiving)…when you pray, what type of prayer do you typically default to? (2) What are some practical ways that you can grow in your prayer life? (3) Jesus is the Mediator for ALL people. Is there anyone you have considered beyond the reach of God’s love? How can you pray for that person and reach out to them? (4) If a stranger asked you, “Is the Christian faith inclusive or exclusive, how would you answer?

You can listen directly there or download it here.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * South Carolina, Christology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(JE) Jeff Walton–The Episcopal Church Continues its Uninterrupted Decline

Declines in Episcopal Church membership continue a downward spiral that began in the early 2000s. Updated statistics made available this week by the Episcopal Church Office of Research show a denomination continuing a gradual, uninterrupted decline in 2015. The U.S.-based denomination shed 37,669 members in 2015, a decline of -2.1 percent, while attendance declined -20,631, down -3.4 percent. A net 43 parishes closed, bringing the denominational total to 6,510 congregations.

The pattern is consistent with past years, in which dioceses in New England, the Rust Belt and predominantly rural areas post sharp declines, while dioceses in the South either retain their numbers or decline at a more gradual rate.

Episcopal Church officials, including former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori ”” who completed a nine-year term in office in late 2015 ”” have predicted that decline would level off after years of internal dispute and the departure of dioceses, congregations and individual members. While there were no major congregational departures in 2015, the denomination still exceeded its baseline rate of decline of approximately 28,000 members a year by a substantial margin. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has struck an optimistic tone, encouraging the church to embrace its role in “the Jesus Movement” even as he seeks to address a workplace culture marked by “fear, mistrust and resentment” at the church’s national headquarters.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Data