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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of England

Almighty and eternal God,
who, for the firmer foundation of our faith,
allowed your holy apostle Thomas
to doubt the resurrection of your Son
till word and sight convinced him:
grant to us, who have not seen, that we also may believe
and so confess Christ as our Lord and our God;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

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(C of E) Bishops of Maidstone, Ebbsfleet and Oswestry

A series of changes have been announced to the names of bishops who offer extended episcopal care to parishes that cannot accept the priestly or episcopal ministry of women.
Under these changes, now approved by the Dioceses Commission, the Bishop of Maidstone Rod Thomas’s successor will now be known as the Bishop of Ebbsfleet.

Meanwhile the role of the previous Bishop of Ebbsfleet – whose ministry was to traditional catholic parishes – will move to become that of the Bishop of Oswestry in the Diocese of Lichfield.

Bishop Rod, who will retire in October, has had a special national ministry since 2015 providing a voice in the College of Bishops and advocacy for those who cannot, on the grounds of complementarian evangelical theology, accept the priestly or episcopal ministry of women.

The future Bishop of Ebbsfleet, who will take on this responsibility when Bishop Rod retires, will live either in London or the M4 corridor for ease of travel and will minister nationally to complementarian evangelical parishes.

The combined effect of these changes means that the See of Maidstone will become vacant and could potentially revert to local use within the Diocese of Canterbury in the future.

Read it all.

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

Another Prayer for Pentecost

O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–-Saint Nerses of Clajes

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A WSJ profile of Archbp of Canterbury Justin Welby–rifts over theology, marriage and anthropology Challenge Anglicanism’s Leader

The 2008 Lambeth Conference displayed the divisions that had broken out across the denomination five years earlier, when Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was elected as Anglicanism’s first openly gay bishop by the U.S. Episcopal Church. About 230 conservative bishops from different countries, many from Africa, stayed away to protest the presence of bishops from the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada, some of whose congregations had begun to bless same-sex marriages.

That year, a group bound by adherence to a conservative reading of scripture, including the proscription of homosexual acts, founded the Global Anglican Future Conference, or GAFCON.

“There is no running away from the choice between following the teachings of the Bible or following the culture of our time,” says Nigerian Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, general secretary of GAFCON, who hasn’t attended a Lambeth Conference since 1998 and said he won’t attend this year.

Read it all.

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(Brave New World Dept) [NeoLife] Juan Enriquez explores the possibility and inevitable risks of human speciation

…soon we’ll need to cope with true diversity within our species. We are not just talking variants of ourselves that Homo sapiens could mate with.

The era of space travel, and potentially space colonization, may just force the issue of true speciation. Launch a human body into space and it dramatically decays. Almost all long-term astronauts come back severely damaged by their jaunts, in their vision, hearts, bones, brains. So if we are to leave this place, we are going to have to seriously reengineer the human body, very deliberately, to induce the kind of evolutionary adaptations required for surviving higher radiation, different gravity, more extreme environments. Those engineered humans would be diverse, and the differences between them and humans of today would increase rapidly as successive generations of them got further and further from Earth and adapted to truly different ecosystems.

Even if we do not begin to colonize space in the near future, the human genome will diversify by other means. As more and more gene therapies come online to deal with horrid diseases, the tools necessary for such procedures will become more standardized and widespread. People will use these tools to engineer their own genes and organs, and they won’t do it the same way everywhere, especially if different countries adopt different regulations, restrictions, and incentives.

Read it all.

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(FT) ‘We are now living in a totally new era’ — Henry Kissinger

We are now [faced with] with technologies where the rapidity of exchange, the subtlety of the inventions, can produce levels of catastrophe that were not even imaginable. And the strange aspect of the present situation is that the weapons are multiplying on both sides and their sophistication is increasing every year. But there’s almost no discussion internationally about what would happen if the weapons actually became used.

My appeal in general, on whatever side you are, is to understand that we are now living in a totally new era, and we have gotten away with neglecting that aspect. But as technology spreads around the world, as it does inherently, diplomacy and war will need a different content and that will be a challenge.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, History, Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Uncategorized

(Church Times) Moscow Patriarch persists in his support for war on Ukraine

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has again defended Russian intervention in Ukraine, denying that it constituted an invasion.

“Russia has never attacked anyone — it’s amazing that such a great and powerful country has only ever defended its borders,” the Patriarch told a congregation in the Cathedral of the Archangel, in the Kremlin.

“May God grant that our country remains like this till the end of the century: strong, powerful, and loved by God. . . May the Lord protect our Russian land from internecine strife and invasion by foreigners, and strengthen the Orthodox faith, the only spiritual force that can truly hold our people together.”

Preaching on Tuesday, the Patriarch said that Russia’s past rulers had “faithfully served the Orthodox Church and their fatherland”, and should be turned to in prayer “for the Russian state, so that our sacred borders remain impregnable”.

Read it all.

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A Prayer to begin the day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

O merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the Gospel of thy Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

—-Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

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Failure, Rejection, and Ineffectualness

[Shusaku] Endo locates the point of contact between Japanese life and the Gospel in what he observes, and has experienced personally, to be the essence of Japanese religious awareness. This he sees as the sense of failure in life and the subsequent shame and guilt that leave a lasting impact upon a person’s life. Such theological notions as love, grace, trust, and truth are intelligible only in the experience of their opposites. Endo sees them incarnate in the person of Jesus through his own experience of failure, rejection, and, most of all, ineffectualness. Only rarely has modern Christianity presented the story of Jesus as the one to whom those who had failed, were rejected, lonely, and alienated could turn and find understanding and compassion. Endo argues that it is our universal human experience of failure in life that provides us with an understanding of Christian faith in its depth.


–Fumitaka Matsuoka, The Christology of Shusaku Endo, Theology Today (October 1982) [emphasis mine]

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A Nice Maundy Thursday Healing Miracle Story

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(NPR) Why there are growing fears the U.S. is headed to a recession

As employers scramble to find scarce workers, they’re bidding up wages, and that’s helping to push inflation even further above the Fed’s target of 2%.

Inflation hits another 40-year high. It’s bad, but older folks say they’ve seen worse
As a result, economist Matthew Luzzetti believes the Federal Reserve will have no choice but to crack down hard, with significantly higher interest rates.

Luzzetti predicts that those aggressive rate hikes will push the economy into a mild recession by late next year.

“It’s probably surprising to be talking about recessions at this point, given the momentum that we’ve seen, particularly in the labor market,” says Luzzetti, chief U.S. economist for Deutsche Bank.

“The ultimate conclusion is that we are having very strong growth, but it is inflationary growth,” he adds.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Economy, Uncategorized

From the Morning Bible Readings

The elders of the daughter of Zion
sit on the ground in silence;
they have cast dust on their heads
and put on sackcloth;
the maidens of Jerusalem
have bowed their heads to the ground.

My eyes are spent with weeping;
my soul is in tumult;
my heart is poured out in grief
because of the destruction of the daughter of my people,
because infants and babes faint
in the streets of the city.

They cry to their mothers,
“Where is bread and wine?”
as they faint like wounded men
in the streets of the city,
as their life is poured out
on their mothers’ bosom.
What can I say for you, to what compare you,
O daughter of Jerusalem?
What can I liken to you, that I may comfort you,
O virgin daughter of Zion?
For vast as the sea is your ruin;
who can restore you?

Your prophets have seen for you
false and deceptive visions;
they have not exposed your iniquity
to restore your fortunes,
but have seen for you oracles
false and misleading.

All who pass along the way
clap their hands at you;
they hiss and wag their heads
at the daughter of Jerusalem;
“Is this the city which was called
the perfection of beauty,
the joy of all the earth?”

All your enemies
rail against you;
they hiss, they gnash their teeth,
they cry: “We have destroyed her!
Ah, this is the day we longed for;
now we have it; we see it!”

The Lord has done what he purposed,
has carried out his threat;
as he ordained long ago,
he has demolished without pity;
he has made the enemy rejoice over you,
and exalted the might of your foes.

Cry aloud to the Lord!
O daughter of Zion!
Let tears stream down like a torrent
day and night!
Give yourself no rest,
your eyes no respite!

–Lamentations 2:10-18

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(Church Times) Parishes navigate obstacles to help refugees arriving in UK

Churches across the UK are continuing their efforts to assist refugees from the war in Ukraine.

The latest figures from the United Nations show that almost 4.3 million people have left Ukraine since the outbreak of war. The International Organization for Migration says that 7.1 million are displaced within the country.

In rural North Yorkshire, the Rector of the Whorlton Benefice, the Revd Dr Robert Opala, has been involved in helping several Ukrainian families find sanctuary.

Dr Opala, who is originally from Poland, has been working with the Middlesbrough-based charity Investing in People and Culture, which has facilitated the connections needed for refugees to apply for a visa under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The application process, Dr Opala said, has proved “difficult and complicated”, and has created “a lot of frustration and even anger”.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Ukraine, Uncategorized

(The Tablet) Theologians condemn Christian nationalism and ‘Russian world’

Theologians and political scientists have issued a declaration condemning the identification of Christianity with political causes.

Attendees at a conference in Oxford signed a statement on 4 April in support of Orthodox theologians who reject the “Russian world” teaching of the Moscow patriarchate, and called on Christians “to reject unholy alliances between Christian identity and political power”.

The 83 signatories include the Czech priest and theologian Tomáš Halík, the German Reformed theologian Jürgen Moltmann, and the Italian Church historian Massimo Faggioli.

They affirm that Christian identity “is not singularly, exclusively, or supremely held by a nation or a race or a civilisation” and that “the Christian witness is distorted where it is used to create separation”.

Read it all.

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(Inews) Food banks are meant to be last-ditch but have become essential for working poor, says Bishop of Dudley

Food banks established as a last-ditch emergency service are becoming an essential part of social security for the working poor as the cost of living soars, a leading figure in the Church of England has warned.

The Right Rev Martin Gorick, Bishop of Dudley, said referrals to Black Country Foodbank, operating in his West Midlands diocese, have seen a 45 per cent increase in referrals this year.

He said the Christian charitable organisation’s services were already “pushed to the limit” but he feared national insurance (NI) rises, income tax changes and increasing energy bills would mean many more would be forced into poverty.

“Black Country Foodbank has seen a 45 per cent increase in referrals – that is concerning – and we haven’t even begun to see the main effects from energy bills going up,” he said. “We are seeing our services pushed to the limit.

Read it all.

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(Church Times) Jesus Christ forgave Tobias Rustat, judge argues, and so must Jesus College

The consistory court of the diocese of Ely has refused to grant the petition of Jesus College, Cambridge, for a faculty authorising the removal of a memorial dedicated to a benefactor of the college, Tobias Rustat (1608-94), from the west wall of the Grade I listed college chapel.

The petition, which had been supported by both the Dean of Chapel and the Bishop of Ely, was heard by the Deputy Chancellor, the Worshipful David Hodge QC (News, 25 January). It had been advanced on the basis that any harm caused to the significance of the chapel as a building of special architectural and historic interest by the removal of the memorial was substantially outweighed by the resulting public benefits in terms of pastoral well-being and opportunities for mission.

The college contended that, because of Rustat’s known involvement in the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, the continued presence of his memorial in such a prominent position, high up on the west wall, created a serious obstacle to the chapel’s ability to provide a credible Christian ministry and witness to the college community and a safe space for secular college functions and events.

Ranged against the college were 65 parties opponent to the petition, represented in court by Justin Gau. Another party opponent, Professor Lawrence Goldman, appeared in person, and two other parties opponent were neither present nor represented. The parties opponent contended that the court should give no weight to the petition since it was the product of a false narrative that Rustat amassed most of his wealth from the slave trade and used moneys from that source to benefit the college.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

–Mark 3:31-35

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From the Morning Scripture Readings

When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

–Psalm 56:3-4

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From the Morning Bible Readings

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

“Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
who shall prepare thy way;
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight”
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

–Mark 1:1-8

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A Prayer to begin the Day from Saint Bonaventure

Grant us, O Holy Spirit, wisdom and understanding that we may receive your light; prudence and strength that we may persevere in faith; knowledge and awe that we may rest in you alone, fear and delight that we may rejoice in your love. Amen.

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Remembering Sam Shoemaker on his Feast Day (III)–His Obituary in the New York Times, Nov. 2, 1963

Dr. Shoemaker did not confine his preaching to his church. He would mount a box on a street corner if he thought he could bring religion into someone’s life. And he often did. Years after a young clergyman’s zeal night have been expected to diminish, he went to country clubs and steel plants to preach.

Read it all (my emphasis).

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O God, who art the God of peace, mercifully grant that, as much as lieth in us, we may live at peace with all men; and if our outward peace be broken, yet do thou preserve peace in our hearts; through him who is the Prince of peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing so among yourselves, from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth, as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

–Colossians 1:1-14

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(NPR) The UAE is adopting a 4.5-day workweek and a Saturday-Sunday weekend

The United Arab Emirates just announced some big changes to its work schedule.

The Gulf nation is transitioning to a 4.5-day workweek, with weekends to consist of Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.

That’s significant for two reasons: It likely makes the UAE the first nation to formalize a workweek shorter than five days, and it also brings the country more in line with Western schedules. Up until now, the UAE has had a Friday-Saturday weekend, which is the standard in many predominantly Muslim countries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day from H. C. Cooksey

O Holy Spirit of God, Lord and Giver of Life: Come into our hearts, we beseech thee; that enlightened by thy clear shining, and warmed by thine unselfish love, our souls may be revived to the worship of God, and our life be dedicated anew to the service of our fellows; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

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Veterans Day Statistics 2021

You can find a page of 4 graphs there. There is also a research summary here and an infographic there. An excellent short summary of the history of Veterans Day may be found at this link. Finally, a link for the Veterans History Project is well worth your time exploring today. The VA’s National Cemetery Administration currently maintains 155 national cemeteries (you can find more facts about the national Cemetery Administration there). Twenty percent (105,845 Veterans interred in FY 2020) of U.S. Veterans who died (estimated 592,682 in FY 2020) in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in FY 2020 were buried in a national, state or tribal Veterans cemetery. As new national, state and tribal Veterans cemeteries open, this percentage is expected to increase.

Finally, a 16 page teachers guide for Veteran’s Day 2021 may be found there.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O God, the Lord and leader of the hosts of the blessed: Instruct us in the spiritual warfare; arm us against all foes visible and invisible; subdue unto us our own rebellious affections; and give us daily victory in the following of him who vanquished sin and death, and now goeth forth with us conquering and to conquer, even thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Soon afterward he went to a city called Na’in, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report concerning him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

–Luke 7:11-17

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(Bloomberg) U.S. Covid Recovery Spreads as Prospects Improve in 47 States

The U.S. recovery from the latest Covid-19 wave is taking hold across the country, with cases dropping or poised to start falling in the vast majority of states.

In 47 states plus the nation’s capital, a measure of average new infections from one newly infected person is below the key level of 1, signaling that cases are expected to decline, according to covidestim, a modeling project with contributers from Yale School of Public Health, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Stanford Medicine.

That measure, known as the effective reproduction number or Rt, was below 1 in 42 states and the capital a week ago; a month ago it was just nine. Meanwhile, the seven-day average of new cases in the U.S. was 110,232 as of Sept. 27, down from more than 160,000 at the start of September, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Read it all.

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Sunday food for Thought from Charles Spurgeon

I will only further say, upon this point, that a Christian may expect to grow in faith the more troubles he has. If you have ever been at sea in a storm and noticed how unconcerned about it the weather-beaten sailors have been, you must have realized that it was because they had been hardened in many a tempest that they could so calmly go on with their duties while you and other landsmen were in dread of sinking, or longing for the end of the voyage! Storms help to make the sailors sturdy—and trials help to make Christians strong in faith and in every other Divine Grace. Damascus blades have to be annealed and those who are to be like a sharp sword in the Lord’s hand will have to pass through the fire. The more the wind blows, the firmer will the oak’s roots grip the soil—
“March winds and April showers Bring forth May flowers”—
and you, as Christians, must have your stormy times and your rainy days if you are to bring forth the flowers of Grace and the fruit of the Spirit! You will probably grow more in the cloudy and dark day of adversity than you will while the sun of prosperity is shining brightly upon you. So be of good courage, Beloved, under the most adverse circumstances, for they are working for your lasting good!

–From a sermon on January 24, 1864

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