‘The Queen has approved the appointment of Olivia Graham as the next Bishop of Reading. In this special filmed edition of the ‘My Extraordinary Family’ Podcast, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft talks with Olivia about her Christian formation, her ministry since ordination and her hopes for the role she is about to take on.’
Molly Greene was eternally optimistic, a trait that never failed to inspire others, he said, adding that he has no doubt that her legacy will continue.
“When you talked with her about this mission, she had an unbridled enthusiasm for what we were doing,” [John] Cook said. “It was hard to be around them and not be inspired. That’s one of the traits of great leadership.”
The Rev. Jeffrey Miller, rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church where Molly and her husband were members, said he was struck by how the Greenes dedicated their lives to helping some of the most vulnerable people around the world and by how much their humanitarian work mirrors the words of Jesus Christ.
“They reached out to the least of these and they made a difference, and it’s a difference that transcends Charleston and transcends the world,” Miller said. “It flows from their faith and it was genuine.”
This is a big loss to the global humanitarian aid community.
— Liz Foster (@TheDizzyLizzieB) July 19, 2019
The Church of England is to provide support for its schools to help them deliver new relationship education required by the Government by next year, including teaching on LGBT relationships and families.
The new government guidance on Relationship and Sex Education for primary-age children comes into force in September 2020, although some schools are beginning it earlier.
A course in one school, Parkfield Community School, Birmingham, sparked weeks of angry protests from mainly Muslim parents at the school gate.
The Government’s counter-extremism commissioner, Sara Khan, criticised the Department for Education in a BBC Panorama investigation this week for its lack of support for the school, and for the assistant head teacher, Andrew Moffatt, who devised the school’s programme, “No Outsiders”.
A Church House spokesman said this week that it was considering how best to support Church schools in delivering the new relationships education.
C of E to back up government guidance on LGBT lessons
A course in one school sparked weeks of angry protests from mainly Muslim parentshttps://t.co/BbJBZFK0Bk
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) July 19, 2019
— Jane Alexander (@bishjane) July 18, 2019
Please note that there is an earlier letter there.
Merciful God, who didst call thy servant Macrina to reveal in her life and her teaching the riches of thy grace and truth: Mercifully grant that we, following her example, may seek after thy wisdom and live according to her way; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
July 19: Saint Macrina the Righteous, the elder sister of Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory of Nyssa (icon); Saint Dius pic.twitter.com/HF2HSXr5iV
— Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Canada (@GO_Metropolis) July 20, 2018
O Lord, our heavenly Father, by Whose providence the duties of men are variously ordered: grant to us all such a spirit that we may labour heartily to do our work in our several stations, as serving one Master and looking for one reward. Teach us to put to good account whatever talents Thou hast lent to us; help us to overcome all sloth and indolence; and enable us to redeem our time by zeal and patience; through Thy Son, our Saviour.
But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!
Archaeologists believe they have likely found the Church of the Apostles, which Christian tradition says had been built over the home of Jesus’ disciples Peter and Andrew in the village of Bethsaida by the Sea of Galilee.
The archaeologists, from the Kinneret Academic College and Nyack College of New York, said the Jewish village of Bethsaida on which the Roman city of Julias had been built was much larger than had been thought, they announced Thursday.
What can be said for certain is that the excavators of Beit Habek, aka el-Araj, found the hallmarks of a large Byzantine-era church. The most distinctive indicator is gilted glass tesserae (mosaic tiles), Prof. R. Steven Notley of the private Christian college in New York tells Haaretz. “Those are for wall mosaics and only appear in churches,” he says.
Archaeologists claim to have found the Church of the Apostles by Sea of Galilee https://t.co/zl8YIF1Omp
— Andrew McGowan (@Praxeas) July 18, 2019
‘NASA unveiled the completely restored Apollo Mission Control, brought back to the way it looked 50 years ago when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in Apollo 11. Flight Director Gene Kranz showed NBC’s Tom Costello around and reflected on the historic day.’ Watch it all.
I’d suggest one, at least for Americans and Europeans. It’s Matthew 25:31-46. You’ll remember the passage. Jesus tells the people about the judgment to come. The king says to some: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
Why them? He says: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” When did we do that? they ask. The King tells them: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Some did not do that for the least of these. The king tells them: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Why did I choose this passage? Because few of us like this idea. As a lovely ideal, yes, but not as a truth to be lived. We don’t want so radical a change in what we do with our stuff. And not just our stuff, but our time, our energies, our space, our company, our affections even.
I think that while this concern is understandable, the opposite may also be true: Young generations may lose the faith if Islam remains too closed to rationality, individuality, tolerance and freedom.
For that reason, I find the American Muslim quandary fascinating — and promising. “Liberalism” as a framework for a free society is painfully lacking in large parts of the Muslim world today. If the Muslim community in the United States, what Mr. Patel called the “American ummah,” can embrace that by reinterpreting its traditions without losing itself, it could contribute to the broader ummah by offering new perspectives and a lived example.
Charles Taylor, one of the most prominent thinkers on religion today, reminds us of a historical precedent in an essay from 2011: In the 19th century, American Catholics were seen by the Protestant majority as “inassimilable to democratic mores, in ways very analogous to the suspicions that nag people over Islam today.” But, Mr. Taylor added, “American Catholicism evolved and, in the process, changed world Catholicism in significant ways.”
A similar transformation took place within American Judaism, as Steven R. Weisman shows in his recent book, “The Chosen Wars: How Judaism Became an American Religion.” Rabbinical authority waned, women became empowered, practices were modernized and Reform Judaism flourished.
— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) July 17, 2019
yet these descriptions—cult, social contagion, ideology—fail to capture the uniqueness and enormity of what is happening with the transgender movement. Past and current cults have seduced their victims into losing all sense of reality and embracing bizarre and dangerous beliefs; social contagions and mass crazes have affected large groups of seemingly intelligent individuals; ideologies have taken hold that have altered societies and cost lives. But now we are facing something different.
Previous cultish or similar social phenomena have generally been limited to some degree by time, space, or eventual return of the senses. But Western civilization is now gripped by a cultural cyclone that is blowing through such limitations with totalitarian force. Transgenderism has shaken the foundations of all we know to be true. Scientific knowledge is rejected and medical practice co-opted in service of a new “reality”—that “gender” is independent of sex, that males and females of any age, even young children, are entitled to their own transgender self-identification based only on their feelings, and that literally every individual and every segment of society must bow to their chosen identity at risk of losing reputation, livelihood, and even freedom itself.
Remarkably, this revolution is happening without any credible scientific evidence to support it. The concept of changing one’s biological sex is, of course, nonsense, as sex is determined by unalterable chromosomes. An individual can change his hormone levels and undergo surgery to better imitate the opposite sex, but a male on the day of his conception will remain a male on the day of his death. And as discussed below, the idea that there is a real personal trait called “gender” that challenges or invalidates the identity significance of biological sex is equally fallacious. But the absence of genuine evidence is simply ignored, and faux “evidence” is created to validate the mania.
So far. But there are signs of cracks in the grand edifice of transgenderism. As Dr. Malcolm warned in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” So does reality. At some point it will reassert itself, and we will ask how this ever could have happened.
“… there are signs of cracks in the grand edifice of transgenderism. As Dr. Malcolm warned in Jurassic Park, ‘Life finds a way.’ So does reality. At some point it will reassert itself, and we will ask how this ever could have happened.”https://t.co/XKi60dZdVA
— Mike Johnson (@godandneighbor) July 18, 2019
Central to the Church of England’s understanding of itself as the established church is its vocation to be a “church of the nation” – a public institution ready to bring a theological voice to the national debates of the day. The trauma of Brexit confronts the four nations of the United Kingdom in different ways but – given the centrality to the debate of a resurgent English nationalism – it is most painful for England, which is where the Church of England’s mission is primarily directed.
Since 2016, several individual bishops, some in their capacity as “Lords Spiritual” have sought to contribute to this debate, often with balance and insight. Yet – unlike both the (Anglican) Scottish Episcopal Church and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland – the Church of England has so far been unable to bring any authoritative collective voice to the national conversation.
No debate on Brexit has taken place in General Synod (the Church of England’s governing body), either before or since the 2016 referendum. While the House of Bishops was able in 2015 to produce an unusually substantial statement before the general election – Who is my Neighbour? – it has so far delivered no formal public statement on Brexit at all.
One obvious explanation for this official silence suggests itself. A referendum exit poll conducted by Greg Smith and Linda Woodhead revealed that English Anglicans are as divided on Brexit as the general population, with 66% reportedly having voted Leave. Since almost all bishops were Remainers, a collective intervention on Brexit could have proved incendiary.
But this cannot be a sufficient account of the church’s institutional reticence. The Church of England has at times been prepared to risk significant controversy in its public interventions. Acrimonious divisions among Anglicans did not prevent the leadership defending its traditional but highly controversial stance against same-sex marriage in 2013.
Gambling rules in Northern Ireland could be brought into line with tighter standards in the rest of the UK following an intervention by the Church of England.
An amendment tabled in the House of Lords by the Bishop of St Albans, Alan Smith, opening the way for possible alignment in gambling regulation between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain has been accepted by the Government.
The amendment adds gambling legislation to a number of areas on which the Government would be required to produce a report by September as part of moves to restore the devolved executive in Northern Ireland.
The Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, who spoke to the amendment in the House of Lords, told peers that the current inconsistency meant that reforms introduced in mainland Britain – such as the cap on the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) – do not apply in Northern Ireland.
“The anomalies and confusions abound,” she said.
(Law & Religion UK) Russell Sandberg–Religion and Civil Partnerships: The Next Steps in a Turbulent Saga
The third and fourth proposed changes therefore smack of overkill, especially since the role of religious groups in civil partnerships is different from that in relation to marriage. Indeed, paragraph 40 of the ‘Next Steps’ paper states that ‘as there is no Canon law of the Church of England or Church in Wales that would be affected by the civil partnership changes, there is no need for any protections relating to that law’. This misses the point a little. It is not a question of there not being any religious law on the matter or indeed any religious law which is part of the law of the land on the matter. The issue is that it is not a commonly recognised legal right to have civil partnerships solemnised in these two churches (as it is for marriages). On the surface, this creates the seemingly odd situation where there is a legal prohibition of the solemnisation of same sex marriage in these two Anglican churches but no such prohibition on civil partnerships. However, this anomaly is explained by the assumed legal duty upon these churches to solemnise marriages. This does mean that the Anglican churches may find themselves lobbied to conduct civil partnerships.
This all means that the protections proposed will afford religious organisations similar protection for conducting civil partnerships as they have for religious marriage, except in the case of the Anglican churches which will have no special treatment in relation to civil partnerships. The intention is clearly for these provisions to apply to opposite and same sex civil partnerships. That means that the religious protections concerning same sex civil partnerships will increase. Yet, no suggestion is made, let alone no evidence given, to suggest that the current protections in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 are inadequate. Rather, the cause of the change seems to be a lack of clarity about the different roles that religious groups play in relation to civil partnerships rather than marriage. This means that a familiar but an overly cautious ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach is yet again being taken.
The ‘Religious Protections’ chapter concludes by recognising the judgment in Ladele v London Borough of Islington  EWCA (Civ) 1357 stating that ‘these protections will not apply to civil partnership registrars. They perform a secular function’ (para 41). It further clarifies that ‘a handful of religious ministers are also designated as civil partnership registrars, and when they are performing this secular function they will not be able to refuse on faith or belief grounds’. This perpetuates a distinction between a religious ceremony and a civil legal act of registration. It may well be time to refashion outmoded marriage laws in order to insist upon such a neat distinction there.
Indeed, although there is nothing fundamentally unsound in the ‘Religious Protections’ section, it does include a number of confusions and inconsistencies that will be perpetuated if these next steps are taken. There seems to be a lack of clarity as to the role that religious groups have in civil partnerships rather than marriage. This has meant that the same sex marriage provisions are now being replicated rather than the same sex civil partnership provisions without any explanation or justification. Harmonisation of the laws on adult relationships is badly needed. The current law on marriage distinguishes between different religions and indeed gives special treatment to places of religious worship. Calls for humanist ceremonies to be legally recognised and concerns about unregistered Islamic marriages show that the current law is not fit for purpose. As Sharon Thompson and I argue, there is a pressing need for comprehensive reform of adult relationships, particularly the formalities required and cohabitation rights. As I have noted elsewhere, the recent announcement of a review of the Law Commission into weddings law is welcome but the varied and various piecemeal reforms underscore the need for a comprehensive harmonisation and reform programme.
Eternal God, we offer thanks for the witness of Bartolomé de las Casas, whose deep love for thy people caused him to refuse absolution to those who would not free their Indian slaves. Help us, inspired by his example, to work and pray for the freeing of all enslaved people of our world, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Bartolome de las Casas, Dominican friar, prophetic defender of the Indians, died on July 18 1566: “I leave in the Indies Jesus Christ our God, scourged…and crucified not once but thousands of time.” It continues today, wherever gold is valued more than human lives. pic.twitter.com/ckB2gzBLRb
— Robert Ellsberg (@RobertEllsberg) July 17, 2018
O Lord God, suffer us not to lean to our own wisdom, nor to believe as blind flesh fancieth, nor to seek salvation where superstition dreameth; but let our faith only be grounded on Thy Word, and give us grace truly to believe in Thee, with all our heart to put our trust in Thee, to look for all good things of Thee, to call upon Thy blessed Name in adversity, and with joyful voices and more merry hearts to praise and magnify it in prosperity.
–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
Please pray for George Greene and family on the death of his wife Molly. Molly, Co-founder of Water Mission, died in an accidental drowning earlier today in the Bahamas. Many in our Diocesan community know the Greenes. Many have participated in Walk for Water. No further information is available at this time, but we will send an update as soon as we know more.
Depart, O Christian soul, out of this world;
In the Name of God the Father Almighty who created you;
In the Name of Jesus Christ who redeemed you;
In the Name of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you.
May your rest be this day in peace,
and your dwelling place in the Paradise of God.
Molly Feemster Greene
June 7, 1947 – July 17, 2019
Water Mission co-founder Molly Greene & director of community development Lara Lambert with David Douglas & Lindsay Denny of Global Water 2020! pic.twitter.com/EHLxIc4QYb
— Water Mission (@water_mission) June 19, 2019
(2nd from the right)
(Tablet) As the leading targets of hate crimes, Jews are routinely being attacked in the streets of New York City. So why is no one acting like it’s a big deal?
The incidents now pass without much notice, a steady, familiar drumbeat of violence and hate targeting visibly Jewish people in New York City.
Early on the morning of June 15, a Saturday, two men in a white Infiniti drove around Borough Park, a vast, traditional Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in central Brooklyn. Surveillance footage posted on the local website BoroPark24 showed a man jumping out of the car’s passenger side as someone in a shtreimel and long black jacket walked down the sidewalk in their direction. As the car idled, the passenger approached the Jewish stranger, lunged at him in a linebacker-like stutter-step, and then darted to the waiting vehicle, which promptly sped away. Levi Yitzhak Leifer, head of the Borough Park Shmira neighborhood patrol, said there were at least six and as many as nine reported incidents that night involving the same vehicle. Beresch Freilich, a rabbi who serves as a community liaison with the NYPD in Borough Park, said that some of the targeted individuals sensed a violent intent: “The car passed by going back and forth, and they felt it was trying to run them over.”
On a Saturday night in mid-January, Steven, a student and member of the Chabad Hasidic movement in his late teens, was returning to his apartment on Empire Avenue after a trip to the gym. (Nearly all victims interviewed for this piece asked to be identified by first name only, due to their involvement in ongoing legal cases). Steven saw what he described as a “rowdy group” of between six and eight “older teens” gathered on the sidewalk on a poorly lit stretch between Schenectady and Troy avenues. One of the teens sucker punched Steven in the back of the head as he walked past. “At first I honestly thought a car ran into me—it was such a blow.” Steven was then struck in his right cheek and fell to the sidewalk. He realized he was outnumbered but some irrational part of him couldn’t accept the insult.
“I charged towards them like in a frenzy, with blood on my hands and my face, and I started trying to give him a thing or two,” he remembered of his run toward his main attacker. They exchanged a few blows before the entire group fled. The teens made no attempt to rob Steven, and there was no clear motive for the assault. In retrospect, given the force of the first strike against a vulnerable spot on his head, Steven thinks the attack could have gone much worse for him. “I was very, very lucky,” he said.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2019
(Sky News) Man who gave birth loses anonymity in his bid to be registered as father on birth certificate
Mr [Freddy] McConnell has lived as a man for a number of years and was undergoing a number of treatments, but stopped taking testosterone as he wished to get pregnant.
He transitioned from female to male and was legally recognised as a man before giving birth to his child in 2018. Despite this, when he went to register the birth, the registrar said he could only be registered as the mother.
What are the main reasons that hunger exists in America?
Underemployment is the biggest factor. If you’re employed but only making minimum wage, there’s no place in America where you’ll be able to pay for all your expenses. And underemployment is chronic, meaning that typically families have experienced some measure of unemployment for generations.
Educational attainment is another major factor. Beyond a high school diploma, in most cases you need an additional two-year degree or a technical degree to escape hunger and poverty. But if you’re living in hunger and poverty, you’re much less likely to get the education you need.
A third factor is family structure. Common sense—and simple math—says that two gainfully employed adults are going to be better than one. My wife and I have three kids. We both have graduate degrees, we are Anglo, and we grew up in middle-class households. We’ve had every advantage that anyone could have, outside of inheriting large sums of money. But despite all these advantages, raising kids was still difficult, and it’s difficult to pay the bills. Imagine being a single parent trying to work, take care of your kids, and make sure everybody gets to school on time and gets fed on a regular basis. You have to be superhuman to pull that off while getting an additional degree.
— Stan Winder (@WinderStan) June 30, 2019
[Bishop John] Chapman said he’s had conversations with other bishops who oppose same-sex marriage.
“It’s awkward,” he said. “It’s the kind of conversation with people who are entrenched in a particular point of view, and it goes as far as these conversations typically go.”
Chapman said he’s concerned the headlines stemming from Friday’s vote will give Canadians the wrong idea about the church.
“Morally, legally and emotionally, 85 per cent of the leadership of the church that gathered in Vancouver in the last week is affirming,” he said.
— CBC Ottawa (@CBCOttawa) July 17, 2019
Understanding green finance can be challenging, add in the prolix greenwash that pours on to the internet every day and no wonder many people decide it is all too difficult.
But it isn’t. The Committee on Climate Change’s recent reports showed that the world urgently needs to reduce emissions and take action to prepare for physical impacts that will get worse in just 11 years.
To prosper in this new reality, investors have to focus on whether their investments address these two basic points. That is green finance in a nutshell.
Helping investors obtain good information to do that is why the Environment Agency Pension Fund and the Church of England National Investing Bodies set up the Transition Pathway Initiative in January 2017.
Climate change: is your equities portfolio too hot to touch? https://t.co/LfiIr3aFhK
— Financial Times (@FT) July 17, 2019
A North Norfolk News Profile of The Rev Canon Andrew Beane–Minister who almost doubled church’s numbers is leaving a Norfolk Church to go to be Archdeacon in Exeter
The church has become a community hub, hosting regular events such as after-school games, crafts and activities, a toddler group, holiday activity days, a food bank and a Monday market.
They have also been holding ‘interactive’ services where parishioners move around and talk to each other, and even trailled a mobile phone app where people could give live feedback about the service they were sitting in.
Mr Beane said of the app: “That’s a sign of how we like to experiment. We’ve been trying to blend contemporary and traditional worship together.”
He said they had also created a group of 18 rural churches, and this “collaborative model” meant some of the rural parishes could now have full-time clergy.
Mr Beane said he had presided over almost 1,000 funerals in his time at the church, as well as hundreds of christenings and weddings.
A popular rector whose tenure at a Norfolk church has seen the nationwide trend of shrinking congregations well and truly bucked is about to say farewell. https://t.co/rJwrbrNVjT
— North Norfolk News (@nthnorfolknews) July 15, 2019
O Lord, who in a time of turmoil and confusion didst raise up thy servant William White, and didst endow him with wisdom, patience, and a reconciling temper, that he might lead thy Church into ways of stability and peace: Hear our prayer, we beseech thee, and give us wise and faithful leaders, that through their ministry thy people may be blessed and thy will be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Wednesday we remember William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836. Bishop White was the chief architect of the Constitution of the American Episcopal Church and the wise overseer of its life during the first generation of its history. pic.twitter.com/oPBFvQGT4U
— Louisville Cathedral (@ChristChurchLou) July 16, 2019
Let thy merciful ears, 0 Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions make them to ask such things as shall please
thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
–A New Prayer Book (London: Oxford University Press 1923)
Now when day came, there was no small stir among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. And when Herod had sought for him and could not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesare’a, and remained there. Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and they came to him in a body, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and made an oration to them. And the people shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he did not give God the glory; and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God grew and multiplied. And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, bringing with them John whose other name was Mark.
It is “high time” that the denial of freedom of religion and belief is given the same attention as climate change, says the bishop behind a major government review into persecution.
The Bishop of Truro, the Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, said that religious freedom was under “grave threat” around the world, but the global response had typically been “inaction”.
“How grave does this situation have to become before we act?” he said.
“It seems to me that we currently face two existential threats to human flourishing and harmonious communities: climate change and the systematic denial of FoRB. We are beginning to pay proper attention to the former. It is high time we paid proper attention to the latter.”
— Christian Today (@ChristianToday) July 15, 2019
Listen to it all (about 26 minutes).
Archbishop Ben Kwashi, Gafcon General Secretary (elect), explains that external persecution is not the only pressure that he feels against his evangelistic ministry. Timidity is more endemic when it comes to sharing the gospel. Read the full interview here:https://t.co/ZgquT1eJ7o pic.twitter.com/g2Cdv0IG9e
— GAFCON (@gafconference) November 16, 2018