Monthly Archives: October 2017

(AI) A Pastoral Letter from the bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church on women’s order

The bishops of the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) met at Church of Holy Communion, Dallas, Texas on October 2, 2017, for prayer, fellowship, planning for the renewal and planting of Reformed Episcopal parishes, and discussion of other matters concerning the church. Reformed Episcopal bishops from Canada, England, Croatia, Germany, and Brazil were present by teleconference call.

Among the topics discussed was the recent statement issued by the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), regarding the ordination of women. This statement arose from the conclave held in Victoria, British Columbia, September 5-7, 2017, and represents the first attempt by the ACNA College of Bishops, since the completion of the study by the Task Force on Holy Orders, to address the differing positions on this issue among the dioceses of the ACNA.

Because the Reformed Episcopal bishops in North America are members of the ACNA College of Bishops, the release of the statement has prompted questions among REC clergy and laity about the impact it may have on the Reformed Episcopal Church’s understanding of Holy Orders. Consequently, the bishops have deemed it wise to issue a pastoral letter to the REC family of churches, to clarify our position and allay any fears about the direction of our church.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Sacramental Theology

A Statement from Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster over abuse allocations against the Late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey

Statement from Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu and Bishop of Chester. Dr Peter Forster

“We can confirm that we have supported the police on an investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults by the late Bishop Hubert Victor Whitsey. The allegations date from 1974 onwards when he was Bishop of Chester and from 1981 while he was retired and living in Blackburn diocese. Bishop Whitsey died in 1987.

“We are deeply sorry and apologise to those individuals who have come forward to share their account of abuse by a bishop in the Church of England who was in a position of power and authority. We appreciate that it is very difficult for individuals to come forward and to give their account. Sexual abuse is a heinous crime – and is an absolute and shameful breach of trust. We acknowledge that for survivors, the effects of sexual abuse are lifelong. We are offering pastoral support to all those who have come forward and continue to hold them all in our prayers.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(Guardian) Former bishop of Chester, Victor Whitsey, investigated over abuse allegations

The former bishop of Chester, Victor Whitsey, is being investigated 30 years after his death over allegations of sexual abuse in the latest scandal involving high-profile figures in the Church of England.

A lawyer representing four of the alleged victims has claimed the abuse was covered up by the C of E and has called for a independent review.

The allegations date from the late 1970s when Whitsey was bishop of Chester, and in the 1980s after he had retired and was living in the diocese of Blackburn.

The C of E said it had supported a police investigation into allegations of sexual offences against children and adults. The police told the church that, had Whitsey still been alive, he would have been interviewed in relation to 10 allegations. Whitsey died in 1987.

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops

(ACNS) New primate and leadership team for Church of North India

The Bishop of Jabalpur, Dr Prem Singh, has been elected as the new Moderator of the united Church of North India. As such, he becomes the new primate of the Church’s Anglican province. The Church’s recent Synod also elected a new deputy moderator: Bishop Probal Kanto Dutta of the Diocese of Durgapur. A new treasurer, Mr Jayant Agarwal was also elected. Mr Alwan Masih will continue in his role as general secretary.

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Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, North India

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh’s Gafcon Chairman’s October 2017 letter

Anglicanism claims to be an expression of Reformed Catholic Christianity, but the Canterbury [Partial] Primates Meeting held earlier this month shows once again that the Anglican Communion is in urgent need of a new reformation. I and a number of brother Primates (representing between us over half of practising Anglicans worldwide) did not attend as a matter of conscience. We cannot ‘walk together’ with those who have abandoned the teaching of the Bible, but that is what the Communiqué issued from the meeting encourages us to do. The painful truth is that the authority of Scripture is being replaced by the authority of Canterbury.

There is no mention in the Communiqué of Lambeth Resolution I.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference where the vast majority of the Communion’s bishops reaffirmed the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, including the clear statement that homosexual practice is contrary to Scripture.

Same-sex ‘marriage’ is referred to merely as a difference of understanding while the only call to repentance is to those who have crossed provincial boundaries to support orthodox brothers and sisters unchurched by leaders who have rejected God’s Word.

The Conference also affirmed the LGBTI community and their lifestyle, while unequivocally disowning the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), an orthodox Anglican Province.

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Posted in Church of Nigeria, GAFCON, Partial Primates meeting Canterbury 2017

Church of England reaches more than a million on social media every month

More than a million people are being reached every month with the Christian message on social media, a year after the Church of England adopted a new digital approach, new figures show.

Videos, podcasts, blogs and images including prayers are reaching an online audience of 1.2 million a month through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, according to the statistics from the Church of England digital project.

During Christmas 1.5 million were reached through the Church’s award-winning #JoyToTheWorld campaign featuring short films. A further 2.5 million were reached during Lent, the season before Easter, through the #LiveLent project.

The report has been released as new Mission Statistics showed average Sunday attendance over October 2016 at Church of England services stood at 780,000 people, a lower figure than in 2015, in line with a long-term trend.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Luke

Almighty God, who didst inspire thy servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son: Graciously continue in thy Church the like love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of thy Name; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Irish Prayer Book

Almighty and merciful God, who in days of old didst give to this land the benediction of thy holy Church: Withdraw not, we pray thee, thy favour from us, but so correct what is amiss, and supply what is lacking, that we may more and more bring forth fruit to thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

Church of England publishes a Statement on mediation with survivor Gilo

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

(AI) Communique from the Council of the Church in East Asia meeting in Rangoon

From 11-16 October 2017, twenty-eight Anglican Archbishops and Bishops of the Council of the Church in East Asia including the Obispo Maximo of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, met in Yangon, Myanmar with the theme ‘Living and Sharing Jesus-Shaped Life’ (Colossians 2.6) hosted by the Archbishop and Primate of the Church of the Province of Myanmar, The Most Reverend Stephen Than Myint Oo. Joining them were their spouses and clergy who are members of the Executive Committee of the Council of the Church in East Asia. The delegates were from Japan, Myanmar, Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia.

The theme is inspired by the call to A Season of Intentional Discipleship and Disciple Making issued by the Anglican Consultative Council in 2016. The meeting reflected on four aspects of the theme: Church Responses to Global Extremisms, Church Responses to Peace and Reconciliation, Church Responses to Global Warming and Disasters and Church Responses to Intentional Discipleship. The speakers included Bishop Danilo Bustamante from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, The Reverend Saw Shwe Lin from the Myanmar Council of Churches, The Reverend Michael Teh from the Diocese of Singapore and The Most Reverend Datuk Ng Moon Hing, Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia.

Besides reflecting on the theme of the conference, delegates also shared from the contexts in which their churches are ministering so that there can be mutual encouragement and prayer for the work of the churches across East Asia. The delegates were also given the opportunity to worship with local Anglican churches in the Yangon area and were greatly encouraged by the devotion of the congregations and their warm welcome.

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Posted in The Anglican Church in South East Asia

(NR) David French–It’s Past Time to Rethink Modern Sexual Morality

You can sum up the sexual ethic of the sexual revolutionary in one sentence: Except in the most extreme circumstances (such as incest), consenting adults define their own moral norms. One-night stands? Fine, so long as there’s consent. May/December relationships. Fantastic, so long as there’s consent. Workplace liaisons between boss and subordinate? No problem, with consent. Adultery? Yes, there are tears, but the heart wants what it wants.

The practical result of consent-focused morality is the sexualization of everything. With the line drawn at desire alone, there is no longer any space that’s sex-free. Work meetings or restaurants can be creative locations for steamy liaisons. Not even marriage or existing relationships stand as a firewall against potential hookups.

The problem, of course, is that people don’t walk around broadcasting their desires. We don’t have a flashing “yes” or “no” that hovers over our heads. So someone has to make the ask. Someone has to make the move. Consent is determined by the request, and in a completely sexualized culture, the request can come at any time, anywhere, and from any person you encounter — regardless of the power imbalance or the propriety of the location.

And for powerful people in particular, the ask so often has fruitful results — sometimes out of genuine desire, sometimes out of fear, and sometimes out of a sense of intimidated resignation — that the ask quickly blurs into expectation, and expectations can yield demands.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

Americans Top Ten Fears in 2017

Posted in America/U.S.A., Psychology, Sociology

(CM) Myron Harrington Chimes in on the Anglican/Episcopal Dispute and the Supreme Court in South Carolina

That [SC Supreme Court] decision has been articulated in past editions of this paper so I will not go into the details. Unfathomable and unimaginable, however, is how that decision came about. A travesty of justice has occurred! Judicial integrity was not broken; it was fractured — perhaps beyond — repair by the actions of one justice. We now have a Supreme Court whose integrity, as a whole, must be questioned.

I could accept this decision if it had been properly adjudicated by our Supreme Court with no bias, as they are sworn to do. However, this was not the case, as one of the justices failed to recuse herself because of her deep affiliation and vested interest with one side, to include membership in a body that’s avowed mission has been to destroy the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina and defrock its bishop. The other sitting justices, if they knew of her ties to The Episcopal Church, should have taken immediate action to remove her. And if not, when they discovered her egregious breach of trust and confidence, they should have acted in good faith to dismiss her opinion or call for a rehearing with justices with no ties to the case.

I am a proud Citadel graduate, a retired Marine Corps Officer, a veteran of Vietnam and Beirut. My life has been about service to my God, country, family and others. Duty, Honor, Respect and Integrity have been my guiding principles.

To see our state’s most respected court have such an obvious breach of the values I stand for and fought for is troubling — not only for the case with which I’m concerned but for their future as the last word in justice and integrity.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

François Gauthier–Religion is not what it used to be. Consumerism, neoliberalism, and the global reshaping of religion

Religion is not what it used to be. Not so long ago, this statement would have been understood as meaning the decline of religion. A claim that seems supported by the recent survey that shows that over 50% of British adults today declare to be “non-religious”. Yet this trend is only a very superficial appraisal of what is really going on. If we look closer, the last half-century has not been a shift from religion to no religion¾what we commonly refer to as “secularization”¾as it is a shift from one type of religion to another. What are the forces that are driving this shift? I believe these can be boiled down to two complementary processes: the joint rise and globalization of consumerism and neoliberalism. Not as monolithic and unidirectional forces, but as the two heads of a process that has eroded the National-Statist foundations of our societies in favour of a new configuration in which the mechanisms and the idea of Global Market are determining. As a consequence, we are shifting from what I call a “National-Statist regime” of religion towards a “Global Market” one.

It is fascinating that scholars of religion have all but ignored the obvious: the incredible rise of economics as a dominant and structuring social force in the beginning of the 1980s. We have all noticed that education, health and the state’s mission in general are now all submitted to the logics of economic efficiency. And we have all noticed that consumption impregnates social life in such a way that it is impossible to relieve oneself in public facilities without having to stare at publicity. Branding has become a must for political parties, hospitals, NGO’s and even people. Still, the most prominent authors typically make no mention of the recent developments of capitalism in their analyses of religion, contrary to other disciplines which have acknowledged the neoliberal revolution.

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Posted in Consumer/consumer spending, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Sociology