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Blessed Pentecost 2018 to all Blog Readers

Posted in Pentecost

A S Haley–The South Carolina Case of the Historic Diocese and the Nearly brand New TEC Diocese Goes to SCOTUS Conference

In their (non-linkable) respondents’ brief, ECSC and ECUSA took a gamble by resting their main opposition upon just a single ground: that the Court lacked jurisdiction to review the case because the five divided justices of the South Carolina Supreme Court had decided the case below on independent state-law grounds, and did not rest their decision on any interpretation of federal law. (SCOTUS reviews only issues of federal law that are decided by either the state or federal courts.)

As the Diocese’s reply brief points out, this claim is far from accurate. Two of the justices below (Pleicones and Hearn) were clear that they viewed the 1979 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf as requiring them to give effect to the trust on church property imposed by the Dennis Canon, even if the documentation of that trust failed to pass muster under South Carolina law. In other words, Justices Pleicones and Hearn held that the First Amendment trumped state trust law — and that was obviously a federal ground of decision.

Even Chief Justice Beatty, who declined to articulate his reasoning, held that the Dennis Canon was sufficient to create a trust under South Carolina law so long as the individual parishes “acceded” in some way to that Canon. Since, as Justice Kittredge pointed out in dissent, any argument that a trust under South Carolina law could rest upon such a dim showing of assent was “laughable”, it is only fair to conclude that Chief Justice Beatty reached his result by relying upon the same (federal-law) reading of Jones v. Wolf that drove Justices Hearn and Pleicones.

In sum, the South Carolina case presents as good a reason as ever will arise for SCOTUS to grant review, in order to end the confusion over the meaning of Jones that divides some nineteen different state and federal courts below. (Those decisions are reviewed and discussed at pp. 21-29 of the Diocese’s petition.)

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Supreme Court

In the Diocese of SC Supreme Court Case–The Diocese has now filed its response to TEC and the new TEC Diocese

You can find the full 17 page pdf here–read it carefully and read it all. Please do continue to note that you can follow all the documents as they become available there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, State Government

([London) Times) Google dreams up future of manipulating everyone

Google has imagined a future where it uses enormous quantities of data it collects on individuals to manipulate their behaviour and achieve “desired results” for the whole species.

In a leaked video from the company’s secretive X research division, the narrator cites Richard Dawkins’ book The Selfish Gene and depicts Google’s data as a “selfish ledger” which treats users as “transient carriers” or “survival mechanisms” for valuable data.

He says that the ledger could move beyond a passive record to actively influence people’s actions, in line with Google’s “values”. If Google didn’t have enough data on a particular user its algorithms would identify a suitable “smart” product to sell him or her to gather that data.

Google dismissed the video as a “thought experiment” unrelated to any present or future plans. However, analysts said that the dystopian future it painted was plausible. Similar ideas can be found in some of the firm’s patent applications, including one for “detecting and correcting potential errors in user behaviour”.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Psychology, Science & Technology

(Local Paper) Study: Charleston, North Charleston South Carolina in top 5 most prosperous U.S. cities

A new report proclaims Charleston and North Charleston are among the top five most prosperous cities in the U.S.

California-based online apartment service RentCafe measured municipalities with at least 100,000 people in six prosperity indicators between 2000 and 2016. They include changes in population, income, home values, education, poverty and unemployment over the time span.

Charleston ranked No. 3, just below oil-rich Odessa, Texas, and the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The Holy City also is one of only 11 cities, out of 303 in the survey, to show improvements in all six categories.

Charleston’s population grew 35 percent, income is up 16 percent, home values rose 39 percent, higher education attainment is up 34 percent, poverty dropped 15 percent and unemployment dipped 10 percent.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Economy

(Aeon) Jocelyn Crowley–Why are so many baby boomers getting divorced?

At first, Kathy, 53 years old, spoke to me calmly, but as the minutes ticked away, her voice started to crack. Her husband had a long-standing problem with alcohol. The couple, married for more than 25 years, had one son, and tried to keep the marriage together by seeing a therapist. But there came a decisive moment when she could no longer keep the relationship going. She told me: I discovered a hotel receipt and went and counselled with our priest at that point. [The hotel receipt] was for the Oriental Fantasy suite at [this hotel] at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning and I’m quite certain I wasn’t there at the time.’ At that point, she knew that her marriage was over.

Kathy experienced a mid-life or what is also known as a ‘grey divorce’. A grey divorce is simply a divorce that occurs at or after the age of 50. Even though the divorce rate across all age groups has stabilised, the number of grey divorces in the United States has recently dramatically increased. Currently, about one out of every four divorces is grey.

What has caused this dramatic surge in grey divorces? First has simply been the ageing of the Baby Boomer generation. In 1990, there were only 63.5 million Americans aged 50 and older, but by 2010, there were 99 million in this same age group. By 2050, the US Census Bureau predicts that there will be 158.5 million individuals aged 50 and over. In addition to the growth in absolute numbers of such individuals, life expectancy has mostly continued to tick upwards. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 1950, men could be expected to live, on average, 65.6 years, while women could be expected to live 71.1 years, on average. By 2016, these ages had increased to 76.1 and 81.1, respectively. Both of these factors have worked to expose ever-greater numbers of couples to the possibility of a grey divorce.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, History, Marriage & Family, Psychology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the First Book of Common Prayer

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, did restore the language of the people in the prayers of thy Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Church History

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Ferguson

Almighty God, who fillest all things with thy boundless presence, yet makest thy chosen dwelling-place in the soul of man: Come thou, a gracious and willing Guest, and take thine abode in our hearts; that all unholy thoughts and desires within us be cast out, and thy holy presence be to us comfort, light and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight;
for I give you good precepts:
do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me, and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Get wisdom; get insight.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
love her, and she will guard you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.

–Proverbs 4:1-7

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(Economist Erasmus Blog) Followers of Jesus fail to agree about his homeland

Hundreds of millions of followers of Jesus Christ are about to celebrate the annual feast of Pentecost, which celebrates an event in Jerusalem roughly 2,000 years ago, when it is believed that cultural and ethnic barriers were miraculously overcome. The festival, which falls on May 20th in this year’s western Christian calendar and a week later in the Orthodox one, commemorates what many regard as the establishment of the Christian church. A new kind of divine inspiration, including the ability to communicate with speakers of any language, is said to have come over the disciples who had gathered in the holy city for the Jewish festival of Shavuot, which falls seven weeks after Passover.

So there is sad irony in the fact that people who cherish that sacred story seem more divided than ever, with some rejoicing in Jerusalem’s rising earthly status and others expressing the very opposite view.

Read it all.

Posted in Israel, Middle East, Religion & Culture

(Stuff) Same-sex blessing vote could split Anglican church in New Zealand

Behan is chair of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand (FCANZ), a conservative group within the church that opposes same-sex blessings. A statement on the FCANZ website greeted the synod vote with “deep sadness”.

“We are ready to support people and parishes that cannot remain within this changed Anglican structure. We will work together nationally and internationally to provide fellowship and support as we look towards new ways and structures of ministering the unchanging good news of Jesus,” it stated.

Drye said he did not know if he would leave the Anglican church.

“We don’t really have anything to say because we are in the middle of negotiations and we need to deal with our own churches.

“This is quite a big deal for us and we need to work out what we are going to do. If the church goes pear shaped who knows what will happen from here. Nobody knows what is happening from here.”

Behan did not return calls for comment.

Vicar Helen Jacobi, of St Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland, said it was “pathetic” Canterbury vicars were considering leaving the church.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology: Scripture

The Church of Scotland has moved a step closer to allowing some Ministers and Deacons to conduct same-sex marriages

The General Assembly voted 345 by 170 to instruct the Legal Questions Committee to prepare legislation with safeguards in accordance with Section 9 (1A) of the Marriage Scotland Act.

But commissioners agreed that the committee should only act if, in its opinion, said safeguards “sufficiently protect against the risks they identify”.

The committee will report its findings to the General Assembly of 2020.

The motion calling for legislation to be prepared was put forward by Rev Bryan Kerr, minister of Greyfriars Parish Church in Lanark.

It was amended to ensure the committee had the power to recommend withdrawal following a call from Rev Peter White of Sandyford Henderson Memorial Church in Glasgow.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Scotland, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

(NYT Op-ed) Rob Henderson–lessons from my life as a foster child

One piece of inherited wisdom is the value of the two-parent family. It’s not fashionable to talk about this. How people raise their children is a matter of preference. But it is not really up for debate that the two-parent home is, on average, better for children.

First, two parents can provide more resources to children, including emotional support, encouragement and help with homework. One conscientious parent, no matter how heroic, cannot do the work of two. Second, single-parent households have a lower standard of living, which is associated with lower school grades and test scores.

Here is an example of the success of intact families from one of my psychology classes. The professor asked students to anonymously respond to a question about parental background. Out of 25 students, only one other student besides me did not grow up in a traditional two-parent family. It’s no accident that most of my peers at Yale come from intact families.

Outcomes are worse for foster children. Ten percent of foster children enroll in college, and only 3 percent graduate. To my knowledge, among more than 5,000 undergraduates at Yale in the current school year, the number of former foster children is under 10.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Marriage & Family

(NYT) ‘Please Pray’: Santa Fe, Texas, Is a Town That Has Long Found Comfort in Faith

“Please pray,” began one text message sent to a mothers’ prayer list. “My niece is not accounted for. Was in art when shooting took place.”

“URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!!” read another. “I don’t have details but was just informed that there is an active shooting going on at Santa Fe high school.”

Their requests were heeded. “Prayers lifted for the Santa Fe schools right now,” someone wrote.

There have been prayers sent from Nigeria and from Grapevine, Tex., from Virginia and São Paulo. Vice President Mike Pence offered prayers from the White House. They are words that, however sincere, have come to seem routine — even cynically so, to some Americans who see in them an evasion of the gun-control debate — when American communities find themselves plunged into grief.

But in Santa Fe, where football players appeal to the Lord before Friday night games, where church on Sunday is all but a given, where the school district once went all the way to the Supreme Court to preserve the right to sponsor prayer, these expressions of faith are not mere words, but salves.

On Friday, inside the high school, the students turned to prayers for protection. As gunfire roared through the hallways, several students hid in a classroom, forming a prayer circle.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Violence

The Rev. Creighton Evans RIP

Please keep the family and loved ones of the Rev. Creighton Evans in your prayers. Creighton died on May 17, 2018 following a year-long illness. Funeral arrangements are still being made. We will send out another notice when they have been announced.

Born June 17, 1953 in Charleston, S.C., he holds a B.S. in Psychology from the College of Charleston and an M. Div. from Trinity School of Ministry. He married his wife, Nina Evans, on July 1, 1978. He was ordained a deacon on June 18, 1994 in the Diocese of South Carolina and a priest Jan. 4, 1995.

From 1994 – 1998 he served at St. Matthias, Summerton. From 1998 until 2008 he served at All Souls in North Fort Myers, FL. Between 2008 and 2013, he served as interim rector in both South Carolina and Florida. In 2013 he accepted a call to serve as the Rector of All Souls Episcopal Church in Okinawa. He had intended to retire from that position later this summer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(WKTV) Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Whitesboro, New York, closes its Doors

The atmosphere inside St. John’s Episcopal Church was bittersweet Sunday, as it closed its doors for the final time. It was a day to celebrate Pentecost, but also a day to call it quits at 135 Main St. in Whitesboro.

“I will remember this church as a gather of people I knew throughout my life,” said John Groves, a member of St. John’s. “It will be a sad time.”

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Parishes

A Guardian Interview with Archbishop Justin Welby–“Would…[disestablishment] be a disaster? No.”

Disestablishment – separating the church from the state – is mooted from time to time. “Would it be a disaster? No,” he says, adding, “Nothing is a disaster with God.” Establishment is “a conglomeration of different bits of history. There’s no Establishment of the Church of England Act that you could repeal – it’s a complicated process. And if you mean, by privilege, that the archbishop of Canterbury is often involved in royal weddings, or crowns the monarch, or whatever, that’s really a decision for parliament and the people.”

But neither would disestablishment be liberating for the church. “It wouldn’t make any of that [the grassroots social action] easier, as far as I can tell, because that’s all done at a local level. We’re an incredibly delegated, dispersed organisation. All of those things happen because local Christians reach out to those around them, with other faith communities, with those of no faith; they do all that because they follow Christ. So I don’t think [disestablishment] would make it easier, and I don’t think it would make it more difficult.”

A consequence of establishment is that the UK is one of only two countries in the world that reserve seats in their legislature for clerics, the other being Iran – a fact relayed with some relish by Welby to a group of business leaders at Warwick University. But in contrast to the Iranian parliament, the 26 Lords Spiritual in the UK’s upper house now include two (soon to be three) women, who are among more than a dozen appointed as bishops since the church made a historic change to canon law in 2014 – a move championed by Welby.

“If I look back over the past five years, at what’s been achieved in the Church of England, the most significant would clearly be the ordination of women to the episcopate. Am I delighted it’s happened? I’m more than delighted, and I’m even more delighted that, since it became possible in law, about half the bishops that have been appointed are women.” He would like to see a woman take over as archbishop of Canterbury at some point, he says.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE)

A Prayer to Begin the Day from George Edward Lynch Cotton

O God, who hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and didst send thy blessed Son Jesus Christ to preach peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh: Grant that all the peoples of the world may feel after thee and find thee; and hasten, O Lord, the fulfillment of thy promise to pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer