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(Christian Today) Church of England’s digital reach grows as service attendance continues to fall

Record numbers of people are seeking Christian contemplation and reflection through the Church of England’s apps and social media platforms, but service attendance continues to struggle, new figures have revealed.

Apps that allow users to pray the ancient ‘Daily Office’ of morning, evening and night prayer were used 4.2 million times on Apple devices alone in the last 12 months, up by 446,000 on the year before.

In addition to the apps, millions more are engaging with prayers, reflections and other posts from the Church of England through social media.

According to figures in its 2019 digital report, the Church of England now has an average monthly reach on social media of 3.6 million.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Saint Philip’s, Charleston) Gloria Avent–Jesus is Always Calling

I share Dr. Moore’s love for books and movies which tell inspiring true stories of faith. They always contain the element of struggle and hardship overcome by courage and great effort. Each story is unique, with the common denominator being the individual’s relationship with God. Some of my favorites titles are Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Diebler Rose, God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, and Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. All are stories of people who leave their own countries, like Gladys Aylward did, to go to another country to spread the gospel.

But what about another kind of calling, one in which one’s mission field is right where they are? How do we recognize that call? Jesus says to us, “Follow me.” How do we know where he is leading?

In Gladys Aylward’s story and many other missionary stories, there is usually a strong desire to do something. In Catherine Marshall’s classic autobiography, Beyond Ourselves, there were dramatic changes to her life’s circumstances that caused her to fervently seek the Lord out of a strong need for guidance (she went on to be a celebrated Christian writer, and her books have played an important role in discipling me). For many of us, we may feel a sense of dissatisfaction with our lives, a longing for something more (also one of Catherine Marshall’s book titles).

In any case, out of love, Jesus calls each of us with the voice of his Holy Spirit, to let us know that the Father has written a compelling story for our lives. As we learn to quiet our thoughts, ask for the Spirit’s leading, and listen for His voice, our unique stories truly begin to be written.

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Posted in Church History, Missions, Parish Ministry

(CEN) Peter Brierley–Anglican evangelicals in focus

On their Census form clergy were invited to tick different boxes. Many Anglican Evangelicals, 49 per cent, ticked both “Broad” and “Evangelical” in 1990, but such had dropped to 29 per cent by 2010 and are likely to be only 12 per cent by 2030 if present trends continue. Also in 1990, a third of all Anglican Evangelicals, 35 per cent, ticked “Charismatic” as well as “Evangelical.” Anglican Charismatic Evangelicals have remained about the same proportion since (39 per cent in 2010 and 31 per cent probably in 2030), perhaps partly because the meaning of “charismatic” has changed, some formerly Charismatic churches now simply calling themselves Evangelical.

The third group of Evangelicals, outside the Broad and Charismatic, are called “Mainstream” Evangelical in the early reports, simply to save confusion with the other two groups (ministers simply ticking the one word “Evangelical” on the Census form). The word was used before the Mainstream Anglican group came into being, although as it happens probably many of the churches in the two groups would be the same. Many would now prefer the word “Conservative” to “Mainstream”, which may or may not fit theological definitions!

It is, however, this group which is growing among the Anglicans. The Mainstream Evangelical Anglicans were only16 per cent of all Evangelical Anglicans in 1990, but had doubled in proportion to 33 per cent by 2010, and they could be almost three-fifths, 58 per cent, of the total by 2030. It is the Mainstream Evangelicals which are also growing in most of the other denominations, especially the Baptists, Independent ch urches and the Pentecostals.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture

(AH) Rodney Hacking–St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Renewal of the Anglican Episcopate

Ignatius offers a fascinating insight into the heart of a true man of God given over to His will. It is tempting to want to leap from his example and vision of episcopacy to its practice within our own Church at this time, but such a leap needs great care. A bishop in the first decade of the second century cannot fairly be compared even to one of 250 years later let alone in the Church of today. The three-fold ministry was still in an early stage of its development. Even though Lightfoot has cogently argued that a case can be made for regarding episcopacy as being of Apostolic direction, and therefore possessing Divine sanction, long years of evolution and growth lay before it. At this stage too the Church across the Roman Empire faced the daily possibility of considerable persecution and martyrdom. That demanded a particular kind of shepherding and witness.

On the other hand a bishop at the beginning of the third millennium might profitably and properly ask (or be asked) whether endless committees and synods are really the way in which their lives are to be laid down for their flock? An institution requires administration, but in the New Testament list of charisms, administrators are quite low in the order of priorities, and of its pastors at this time the Church has other, more pressing, needs. Rather than imposing upon an already disheartened clergy systems of appraisal (mostly copied from secular models of management) it would be good for parish priests to experience bishops as those who were around so much that they could afford regularly to ”˜drop in’ and just be with them. It is hard to expect the parish clergy to make visiting a priority if their fathers in God do not set an example.

In some dioceses the more obviously pastoral role has sometimes been exercised by a suffragan but as more and more diocesan bishops, at least within the Church of England, are being selected from the ranks of the suffragans the temptation is for those who are ambitious to prove their worth more as potential managers than those given to the ”˜Word of God and prayer’ (Acts 6.2). If the communities within which the bishops are to exercise their ministry of unity and care are too large for them to do their work has not the time come to press for smaller dioceses and for bishops to strip themselves of the remnants of the grandeur their office once held and be found, above all, with their clergy and amongst the people, drawing them together into the unity for which Christ gave himself?

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Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Ignatius of Antioch

Almighty God, we praise thy name for thy bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch, who offered himself as grain to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that he might present unto thee the pure bread of sacrifice. Accept, we pray thee, the willing tribute of our lives, and give us a share in the pure and spotless offering of thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of England

Almighty God,
you have made us for yourself,
and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you:
pour your love into our hearts and draw us to yourself,
and so bring us at last to your heavenly city
where we shall see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now Shephati′ah the son of Mattan, Gedali′ah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemi′ah, and Pashhur the son of Malchi′ah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out to the Chalde′ans shall live; he shall have his life as a prize of war, and live. Thus says the Lord, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken.” Then the princes said to the king, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” King Zedeki′ah said, “Behold, he is in your hands; for the king can do nothing against you.” So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchi′ah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.

When E′bed-mel′ech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king’s house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern—the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate— E′bed-mel′ech went from the king’s house and said to the king, “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern; and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Then the king commanded E′bed-mel′ech, the Ethiopian, “Take three men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” So E′bed-mel′ech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe of the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then E′bed-mel′ech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so. Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

–Jeremiah 38:1-13

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(SMH) The ‘frightening’ effects of the phone messages waking us at night

Mobile phone alerts that interrupt our sleep may have serious knock-on effects for our waking lives, leaving us more prone to car accidents, mistakes at work and poor mental health.

One in five Australians is being woken by texts and social media alerts, or waking up to send them multiple times a week, new research suggests. For one in 20, it’s every night.

When that alert sounds, “the temptation to look is enormous”, lead researcher Sarah Appleton at Flinders University’s Adelaide Institute of Sleep Health warned.

“This is a really difficult problem to deal with because it’s so pervasive and ingrained in our population,” she said.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Science & Technology

(ESPN) A Long but valuable read–the incredible story of Deandre Hopkins and his Mom

3 years ago, the NFL launched an initiative granting players permission to wear custom cleats to promote their charitable causes. That fall, Hopkins wore pink and blue shoes that had “End Abuse” written on the outside in all caps. Next to the heel, an artist painted four tiny icons of women, one of whom was rendered in a different color from the others, a symbol of the one in four women who have experienced intimate partner violence.

The year Hopkins was drafted, Greenlee started a nonprofit called SMOOOTH (Speaking Mentally, Outwardly Opening Opportunities Toward Healing) in order to assist survivors of domestic violence. Her son has quietly worked with her to advance the cause, meeting with the women she has mentored, raising money for her organization and others, and speaking to high school students about his past. While it’s difficult to recount the harrowing sounds he used to hear behind closed doors as a boy, the process of dredging them up can also be palliative, he says. “It’s helped me learn a lot, about life, about how to treat a woman,” he says. “It’s helped me become a man.”

Like her son, who she’s quick to point out is also a survivor, Greenlee harbors painful childhood memories — recollections of being “that 15-year-old girl that took that abuse, that lay on the floor, that didn’t think she was ever going to be anything,” she says. When she visits shelters, she meets women who haven’t shed those feelings of inadequacy. Her foundation has helped dozens of survivors transition to their new lives, giving them vouchers, counseling and even makeovers. “I want to tell [them] … you don’t have to stay there,” says Greenlee, who agreed in May to let a film company produce a movie about her life. “I’ll help you get out of this, just listen to me. Just follow my lead. I’m telling you: There is light after darkness.”

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Posted in Children, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Sports, Violence

(David Ould) Diocese of Perth approves extra-marital sex for clergy and church workers

davidould.net understands this change was the subject of significant debate in the legislative committee for several months prior to synod but liberal voices were insistent.

The revised standard, which now means that sexual activity outside marriage is now considered appropriate for clergy and church workers, was adopted on the voices by synod.”

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CT) Gerald Sittser–The Early Church Thrived Amid Secularism and Shows How We Can, Too

As long as Christians assume we are still living in Christendom, the church will continue to decline in the West, no matter how ferociously Christians fight to maintain power and privilege. If anything, the harder Christians fight, the more precipitous the decline will be, for cultural power and privilege will come at an increasingly high price. Christians will either accommodate until the faith becomes almost unrecognizable, or they will isolate until their faith becomes virtually invisible.

Nothing short of a change of church culture will suffice—from a culture of entertainment, politics, personality, and program to a culture of discipleship. Such a radical change will require patience, steadiness, and purposefulness.

The good news is, we are not alone, and the story of early Christianity reminds us of this fact. Faithful Christians have gone before us, bearing witness to the truth of Christianity, the power of the gospel, and the high calling of discipleship. Calling out across the centuries, they tell us that it is possible now, as it was then, to live as faithful followers of Jesus the Lord in a culture that does not approve of it or reward it.

Two millennia ago, Jesus Christ—his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension—set in motion a movement that turned the world upside down. He is the same Lord today. It can happen again.

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Posted in Church History, Evangelism and Church Growth, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

(Bloomberg) Overrun by Tourists, American Cities such as Charleston, South Carolina, Are Taking Aim at Hotels

Developers feel unjustly singled out. Jim Brady is trying to develop a 135-room hotel in Portland, Maine, where city leaders recently required new hotels to pay into an affordable housing fund, arguing that hospitality workers are being priced out. “I recognize that you need to earn a livable wage, and there are sectors that pay lower incomes, and hotels are some of those, but so are food and beverage facilities and retailers,” he says. “It just seemed unfair to say hotels were the cause of the affordable housing crisis.”

In Charleston, a decades-long effort to nurture tourism without spoiling the city’s 350-year-old heritage reached a boiling point recently. Former Mayor Joseph Riley presided over the “Holy City” for 40 years until 2016, and since then the city’s politics have been rife with infighting, locals say. Mayor John Tecklenburg campaigned on a pledge to temporarily halt new hotel construction as a candidate in 2015 and continued the fight upon taking office. Members of the City Council viewed that as alarmist and pushed for less severe restrictions. Councilman Mike Seekings, who’s hoping to unseat Tecklenburg in November’s election, published an op-ed in Charleston’s Post newspaper citing a fundraising email Tecklenburg once sent to supporters that included the line: “Every property that has the possibility of becoming a hotel will become a hotel unless we act.”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Economy, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Premiere) Bishops push for better support for women released from prison

The Bishop of Newcastle, together with the Bishop of Gloucester, hosted an event in the House of Lords on Tuesday 15 October to highlight the importance of finding suitable accommodation for women released from prison.

The event, supported by the Church Commissioners and Dame Caroline Spelman MP, brought together people and organisations from across the country who work with women in prison, in the community through Women’s Centres, housing providers and MPs. The event showcased powerful examples of how people are working to drive change for disadvantaged women.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Prison/Prison Ministry, Religion & Culture, Women

(HO) Musa al-Gharbi–Seizing the Means of Knowledge Production

It was largely a grassroots campaign. It was very deliberate, but also decentralized — with actors from different backgrounds and interests, concerned with different causes, working different institutional levers — learning from, and building upon, the work of one-another over time. Some of the most important tactics included:

They set up tenure lines, degree programs, interdisciplinary centers, academic journals, professional associations, etc. (see the work by Fabio Rojas for an excellent description of the transition From Black Power to Black Studies; see also his HxA blog post and Half Hour of Heterodoxy interview on this research).

They were ecumenical. That is, as opposed to being territorial or puritanical about the specific domains their ideas and methods applied to. For instance, sensitivity training was originally developed specifically to bridge tensions around religion and race. It now includes gender, sexuality, you name it. Instead of just white privilege and male privilege (as originally formulated), there is now cisgender privilege, straight privilege, able-bodied privilege, native-born privilege and many, many more (curiously underdiscussed, of course, is socioeconomic privilege – which is the stage upon which all these conversations take place to begin with). Microaggressions, which were initially about race (and the experience of African Americans in particular), are now implicated in gender, sexuality, fat shaming, ableism, ad infinitum. This was no accident: Derald Wing Sue’s 2007 paper, which led to a renaissance for the microaggression framework, explicitly called for others to adapt the concept in these ways.

Here, the notion of intersectionality is very important. It is the glue which holds it all together – encouraging advocates of any particular cause to see their work as complementary and interrelated with all other (left-aligned) movements. As a result of this approach, concepts like microaggressions, the idea that words amount to violence, calls for safe spaces and trigger warnings, etc. have been able to build upon and feed off one-another despite their disparate origins – creating a complex that encompasses a broad range of causes, stakeholders and institutions (and is, consequently, difficult to displace). As I will demonstrate in a forthcoming essay, a parallel movement for viewpoint diversity, which dates back just as far as any of the other phenomena listed here, has followed a very different trajectory up to now — to its peril.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Education, Politics in General

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, after the examples of thy servants Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer; that we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

Blessed Lord, who putteth down the mighty from their seat and exaltest those of low degree: Save us, we beseech thee, from pride and vainglory, from self-seeking and false ambition. Give us a humble and contrite spirit, that we may think less of ourselves, more of others, and most of all of thee, who art our mighty God and Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit we ascribe all praise and glory, now and for evermore.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

King Zedeki′ah sent Jehu′cal the son of Shelemi′ah, and Zephani′ah the priest, the son of Ma-asei′ah, to Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “Pray for us to the Lord our God.” Now Jeremiah was still going in and out among the people, for he had not yet been put in prison. The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt; and when the Chalde′ans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they withdrew from Jerusalem.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “Thus says the Lord, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army which came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land. And the Chalde′ans shall come back and fight against this city; they shall take it and burn it with fire. Thus says the Lord, Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chalde′ans will surely stay away from us,” for they will not stay away. For even if you should defeat the whole army of Chalde′ans who are fighting against you, and there remained of them only wounded men, every man in his tent, they would rise up and burn this city with fire.’”

Now when the Chalde′an army had withdrawn from Jerusalem at the approach of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah set out from Jerusalem to go to the land of Benjamin to receive his portion there among the people.

–Jeremiah 37:3-21

Posted in Theology: Scripture

(First Things) Carl Trueman–Humble John Henry Newman

Dan Hitchens recently described Newman as “a literary and theological genius.” That he certainly was. For years, I have told students who want to improve their prose that they need to read three great English writers: William Hazlitt, George Orwell, and Cardinal Newman. No less a connoisseur of literary elegance than James Joyce, speaking through Stephen Dedalus, declared Newman to be the greatest of all English prose stylists.

But for all of the dazzling brilliance of the sermons and the Apologia, his writings do vary dramatically in quality. His novels are mediocre, replete with cardboard characters and dreary, didactic speechifying. Callista has some curiosity value as a Christian novel set in the third century, but only Loss and Gain has remained consistently in print; and that, I suspect, is not because of its literary merit but because of its trite apologetic for Rome. As for Newman’s theology, the Development and the Grammar certainly represent serious and influential contributions to religious thought. Yet Tract XC remains one of the most self-serving and embarrassing pieces of historical and theological tosh ever penned by an otherwise intelligent person. Not even the author found his arguments cogent or persuasive—why should anyone else do so?

Yet Protestants, as I have written elsewhere, should read Newman and take him seriously, particularly his thoughts on doctrinal development and on Christianity as a dogmatic faith. But there are other reasons to study his work. While it may seem paradoxical to say this, his very lack of originality is also one of his great contributions to the Christian faith.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Roman Catholic

Al Zadig’s Sunday Sermon–Overcoming Discouragement with Elijah

I love the story of Oklahoma native and former heavy-weight boxer James Quick Tillis as he recalls the day he moved to Chicago. “I get off the bus with two suitcases under my arms in downtown Chicago and stop in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, look up at the Tower and say to myself, ‘I am going to conquer Chicago.’ It was my moment of glory! And then I looked down. My suitcases were stolen.”

You can read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Scripture

(ES) Jonathan Haidt: ‘Many people will soon find themselves mired in perpetual conflict over words’

“When the article came out we were braced for an enormous pushback. It was an explosive time, and things were beginning to get very strange politically in ways we’re only beginning to understand,” he says. “But the climate changed in early 2016, when the number of shutdowns and disinvitations grew, and everything got worse. Things were changing in ways that are really bad for what we do, so Greg and I decided we had to turn it into a book.”

Between the article and the book, which came out last year, Haidt’s research revealed a strong connection between Gen Z’s soaring rates of anxiety and depression (especially among girls), their emotional fragility and their upbringing . “Originally, we didn’t see how it all linked to childhood trends, such as fearful parenting and the decline of play. We also didn’t know, until research was published last year, that there was a sudden radicalisation among white progressives in 2014 about different types of inequality: feminism, racism, misogyny, white privilege, or any other term from the woke vocabulary.

“Another big shift came from changes in social media after 2012, through Twitter and Instagram. This new configuration has been much more effective at spreading outrage, because almost anything can be taken as an example of how awful the other side is if you strip it of context and put it out there.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Books, Ethics / Moral Theology, Language, Philosophy, Psychology, Science & Technology, Theology, Young Adults

Anne Snyder–Turning the Tide: Celebrating Comment and a New Era of Voices

A subtle yet important question embedded here is one of influence: How are Christians called to influence the larger culture? As long as I’ve been an adult swimming in and out of Christian waters, talk of “witness” and “Christ redeeming culture” has seemed to hinge more on strategies leveraging temporal power than it has about nurturing contexts for demonstrations of God’s power. From messianic hopes placed in the White House every four years, to theories of cultural change overly dependent upon our elites and the institutions they represent maintaining the public trust, there seems to be a glaring forgetfulness about who Jesus Christ said He was and the Beatitudinal Kingdom He came to bring. Many white believers in particular, if I may, are expressing crisis-level concern that Christianity is threatened in the West, a fear that has driven them to make certain political choices and appear like an aggrieved minority hungry for lost power. While I believe deeply in the leavening role the sacred sector plays in our society and will march to preserve the freedoms of the faithful as indispensable to our democracy surviving, the rhetoric from today’s more conservative spokesmen make them look amazingly ignorant of what their faith community actually is in their own nation, of Christianity’s growth and vitality among the burgeoning sectors of our society. In short, those who get to speak for “We, the Church” are too often found fighting their own oppression while not attending to the struggles, energy AND the wisdom of their brothers and sisters from historically non-dominant worlds.

Now, a personal caveat. I’m really grateful for Western civilization: I’ve been shaped by its ideals, I’ve worked for several institutions that seek to protect and advance them. But here at Nyack, in all its grittiness and prismatic perspective, the future felt closer, the Christian difference more palpable. Here were souls whose stories were rooted in exile, and yet they were living into this exile with hope and hospitality. And I wondered, sitting there, tears coming down my face, if the more visible ambassadors of American Christianity, concerned for the future of Western civilization and the freedoms of the faithful, could learn something from their posture and build an alliance.

This next season of Comment Magazine would like to play a role in bridging these worlds and resourcing their brother and sisterhood. As sincere people of faith navigate an era that once again scorns and misunderstands us, there is a need to look beyond each of our own cultural and ecclesial comfort zones for instruction, sustenance and relationship with those whose lives are surrendered to the same Source of Life and Love, yet are faced with different pains, equipped with different gifts, and live in trusted relationship with different communities. We at Comment would like to provide a long and unruly banquet table both on and off our actual pages for conversation, exploration, storytelling and artistic expression that is at once more Beatitudinal, more widely accessible to people of all walks of life, and more reflective of the body of Christ in ALL its beauty, scars and missteps. We’d also like to be more hospitable to those who, in the lonely cry of our age, say, “I don’t believe in God, but I sure do miss Him.”

Read it all.

Posted in Religion & Culture, Theology

The Archbishop of Canterbury Visits the Diocese of Hereford

What are the challenges for a rural diocese like Herefordshire?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spent the first day of his three-day visit to the diocese in the city centre, but he accepts the rural nature of Herefordshire throws up some challenges.

He said quite often the problems are hidden behind the beauty of one of the Church of England’s most rural dioceses.

“I think every diocese is challenging nowadays, I don’t suppose there was ever a time when they really weren’t,” The Most Reverend Justin Welby said.

“I think particularly now it is very challenging and every diocese has its own particular challenges.

“Obviously a rural diocese like Herefordshire you’re dealing with much smaller communities, the whole agricultural sector where the Church has always been very engaged for a thousand years.

“And often the problems in a rural diocese are hidden behind beautiful buildings, rolling hills, you know grazing cattle, yet they are as real.

“So yet the challenge of the Church to love and care for the communites is as great, but the capacity to do so is a big challenge.”

Read it all and enjoy all the pictures.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Parish Ministry

Archbishop Glenn Davies’ final Presidential Address to the 2019 Synod of the Diocese of Sydney

The Archbishop also referred to moves in the Diocese of Wangaratta, as well as in Newcastle, to offer services of blessing to same-sex couples. The Primate has referred these attempts to the body known as the Appellate Tribunal, which rules of matters of church law. Dr Davies called the endorsement of same-sex marriage a ‘serious breach of fellowship’ and against teaching of Scripture and the doctrine of Christ. “Yet our view of marriage is not a popular one in Australia, nor is it consistent with the definition of marriage under the amended Marriage Act 1961, after 60% of the population endorsed, by postal vote, a change to the Marriage Act, which would permit same-sex marriages. Nonetheless, God’s intention for marriage has not changed. We honour him when we abide by his instruction. We cannot bless same-sex marriages for the simple reason that we cannot bless sin. I am grateful for the Primate’s intervention by referring the decisions of the Wangaratta Synod to the Appellate Tribunal. He also requested that no clergy in the Wangaratta Diocese use the new service until a decision had been reached …” the Archbishop said. “Friends, we have entered treacherous waters. I fear for the stability of the Anglican Church of Australia. These developments have the potential to fracture our fellowship and impair our communion. I have stated this on numerous occasions at the annual National Bishops’ Conference, but sadly to little effect. Next year the General Synod will meet in a special session to confer on the issue of same-sex blessings and same-sex marriage. It has been planned by the General Synod Standing Committee as a consultation, with no opportunity for making decisions. However, the time has come to take action and make decisions, and these recent events have made it all the more imperative to do so. The General Synod must make a clear statement about the teaching of the Bible on the sanctity of sex within the marriage bond of a man and a woman, so that marriage is held in honour among all and the marriage bed is not defiled (Hebrews 13:4). My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our Church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture. Please leave us. We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

Anglican Blogger Mary Ailes RIP

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Blogging & the Internet, Death / Burial / Funerals

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Teresa of Avila

O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst move Teresa of Avila to manifest to thy Church the way of perfection: Grant us, we beseech thee, to be nourished by her excellent teaching, and enkindle within us a lively and unquenchable longing for true holiness; through Jesus Christ, the joy of loving hearts, who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Charles Kingsley

Take from us, O Lord God, all pride and vanity, all boasting and self-assertion, and give us the true courage that shows itself in gentleness; the true wisdom that shows itself in simplicity; and the true power that shows itself in modesty; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless some one interprets, so that the church may be edified.

Now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will any one know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if you in a tongue utter speech that is not intelligible, how will any one know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning; but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

–1 Corinthians 14:1-12

Posted in Theology: Scripture

A Wendell Berry Poem for a Monday

(My thanks to Jon Sweeney).

Posted in Poetry & Literature

(BBC) Cardinal John Henry Newman declared a saint by the Pope

Cardinal John Henry Newman has been declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church at a ceremony in Rome.

The open-air service at the Vatican, celebrated by the Pope, was attended by tens of thousand of pilgrims.

Theologian and poet Newman, who died in Birmingham in 1890, is the first English person to be made a saint in almost 50 years.

The Prince of Wales joined the Mass in St Peter’s Square, at which four women were also canonised.

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Posted in Uncategorized

(Yorkshire Post) Former cancer research scientist takes top job at York Minster

York Minster has appointed a former cancer research scientist as its new Canon Precentor.

The Reverend Canon Dr Vicky Johnson will be charged with helping to deliver worship and music and will take up the post in January.

Currently serving as Residentiary Canon at Ely Cathedral, she will succeed York Minster’s Rev Canon Peter Moger, who is moving to a new role in the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Upon her arrival, Dr Johnson will lead the cathedral’s liturgy and music team, supporting the work of the director of music and the 48 choristers and 12 adult singers of the York Minster Choir.

She will also seek to develop music outreach in the community over the coming years.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry