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(The Hill) New Jersey high school baseball coach, 30, dies of coronavirus after being released from the hospital

A 30-year-old high school baseball coach in New Jersey died Monday from the coronavirus after being discharged from the hospital.

News of Ben Luderer’s death was shared by Cliffside Park superintendent Michael Romagnino in a letter to families.

Read it all.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Almighty God, look upon those whose hearts fail them for fear, whose path is dark from overshadowing threats or strewn with obstacles, whose footsteps have well nigh slipped. Deliver them, O God, from every apprehension which is groundless; teach them to trust in the mercies thou bestowest through the changing course of things; let them not feed anxiety or terror with their life-blood, but let them walk in quiet confidence and fortitude, leaning on the staff of thine assistance; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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(CNN) US epidemiologist Michael Osterholm: “I do not know what the national plan is” on coronavirus

An infectious disease epidemiologist says there is still confusion over a concerted national plan for responding to the coronavirus.

“We still don’t have a plan. I do not know what the national plan is for responding to this virus. Until we get that, it is a piecemeal situation,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Take the time to watch the whole video interview.

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(Atlantic) Ed Yong–How the Pandemic May End

Veterans of past epidemics have long warned that American society is trapped in a cycle of panic and neglect. After every crisis—anthrax, SARS, flu, Ebola—attention is paid and investments are made. But after short periods of peacetime, memories fade and budgets dwindle. This trend transcends red and blue administrations. When a new normal sets in, the abnormal once again becomes unimaginable. But there is reason to think that COVID-19 might be a disaster that leads to more radical and lasting change.

The other major epidemics of recent decades either barely affected the U.S. (SARS, MERS, Ebola), were milder than expected (H1N1 flu in 2009), or were mostly limited to specific groups of people (Zika, HIV). The COVID-19 pandemic, by contrast, is affecting everyone directly, changing the nature of their everyday life. That distinguishes it not only from other diseases, but also from the other systemic challenges of our time. When an administration prevaricates on climate change, the effects won’t be felt for years, and even then will be hard to parse. It’s different when a president says that everyone can get a test, and one day later, everyone cannot. Pandemics are democratizing experiences. People whose privilege and power would normally shield them from a crisis are facing quarantines, testing positive, and losing loved ones. Senators are falling sick. The consequences of defunding public-health agencies, losing expertise, and stretching hospitals are no longer manifesting as angry opinion pieces, but as faltering lungs.

After 9/11, the world focused on counterterrorism. After COVID-19, attention may shift to public health. Expect to see a spike in funding for virology and vaccinology, a surge in students applying to public-health programs, and more domestic production of medical supplies. Expect pandemics to top the agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. Anthony Fauci is now a household name. “Regular people who think easily about what a policewoman or firefighter does finally get what an epidemiologist does,” says Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Such changes, in themselves, might protect the world from the next inevitable disease. “The countries that had lived through SARS had a public consciousness about this that allowed them to leap into action,” said Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar. “The most commonly uttered sentence in America at the moment is, ‘I’ve never seen something like this before.’ That wasn’t a sentence anyone in Hong Kong uttered.” For the U.S., and for the world, it’s abundantly, viscerally clear what a pandemic can do.

The lessons that America draws from this experience are hard to predict, especially at a time when online algorithms and partisan broadcasters only serve news that aligns with their audience’s preconceptions. Such dynamics will be pivotal in the coming months, says Ilan Goldenberg, a foreign-policy expert at the Center for a New American Security. “The transitions after World War II or 9/11 were not about a bunch of new ideas,” he says. “The ideas are out there, but the debates will be more acute over the next few months because of the fluidity of the moment and willingness of the American public to accept big, massive changes….”

Read it all.

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(NYT) 13 Deaths in a Day: An ‘Apocalyptic’ Coronavirus Surge at an N.Y.C. Hospital

In several hours on Tuesday, Dr. Ashley Bray performed chest compressions at Elmhurst Hospital Center on a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a 38-year-old who reminded the doctor of her fiancé. All had tested positive for the coronavirus and had gone into cardiac arrest. All eventually died.

Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other facilities as it moves toward becoming one dedicated entirely to the outbreak. Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of “Team 700,” the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed.

A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City’s public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.

“It’s apocalyptic,” said Dr. Bray, 27, a general medicine resident at the hospital.

Read it all.

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From the Morning Bible Readings

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food” –and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

–1 Corinthians 6:12-14

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Euchologium Anglicanum

O God, heavenly Father, who by thy Son hast made all things in heaven and earth, and yet desirest to draw to thyself our uncompelled love and devotion: Grant us grace to understand the manifestation of thy Son Christ the Lord and Saviour of mankind, and to engage all our affections in thy service, and labour to spread the gospel among those who know him not; that when he shall come again in great glory he may find a people gladly awaiting his kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Bishop John Cosin

Grant me, gracious Lord, a pure intention of my heart, and a steadfast regard to Thy glory in all my actions. Possess my mind continually with Thy presence, and ravish it with Thy love, that my only delight may be, to be embraced in the arms of Thy protection.

–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)

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Eleanor Parker on Childermas Day, the feast of the Holy Innocents

I wonder if the popularity of the Coventry Carol today indicates that it expresses something people don’t find in the usual run of joyful Christmas carols – this song of grief, of innocence cruelly destroyed. The Feast of the Holy Innocents (Childermas, as it was known in the Middle Ages) is not an easy subject for a modern audience to understand, and the images which often accompany it in medieval manuscripts, of children impaled on spears, are truly horrible. But they are meant to be; they are intended to disgust and horrify, and they’re horrible because they’re not fantasy violence but all too close to the reality of the world we live in. Children do die; the innocent and vulnerable do suffer at the hands of the powerful; and as this carol says, every single form of human love, one way or another, will ultimately end in parting and grief. Every child born into the world – every tiny, innocent, adorable little baby – however loved, however cared for, will grow up to face some kind of sorrow, and the inevitability of death. Of course no one wants to think about such things, especially when they look at a newborn baby; but pretending otherwise, not wanting to think otherwise, doesn’t make it any less true.

Medieval writers were honest and clear-eyed about such uncomfortable truths. The idea that thoughts like these are incongruous with the Christmas season (as you often hear people say about the Holy Innocents) is largely a modern scruple, encouraged by the comparatively recent idea that Christmas is primarily a cheery festival for happy children and families.

Read it all.

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More Music for Christmas 2019–Det är en ros utsprungen- Jan Sandström

Michael Praetorius arr. Jan Sandström sung by Siglo de Oro

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,
From tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung;
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night. [based on Isaiah 11:1]

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More Music for Christmas–Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

Ever since I first heard it, my favorite Christmas song–KSH.

Lyrics–The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit, and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I’m weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be
of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

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All of the Talks from the ReNew 2019 Conference are now available

Take the time to enjoy them all and note that several have links to handouts that accompanied the talks.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Eschatology, Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day adapted from Lancelot Andrewes’ thoughts on the parable of the unmerciful servant

O Lord and Father, to whom alone the debtors in ten thousand talents can come with hope of mercy: Have mercy upon us, O Lord, who have aught to repay; forgive us all the debt, forgive us all our sins, and make us merciful to others; for the sake of 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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(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.

Read it all.

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From the Morning Scripture Readings

When Micai′ah the son of Gemari′ah, son of Shaphan, heard all the words of the Lord from the scroll, he went down to the king’s house, into the secretary’s chamber; and all the princes were sitting there: Elish′ama the secretary, Delai′ah the son of Shemai′ah, Elna′than the son of Achbor, Gemari′ah the son of Shaphan, Zedeki′ah the son of Hanani′ah, and all the princes. And Micai′ah told them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the scroll in the hearing of the people. Then all the princes sent Jehu′di the son of Nethani′ah, son of Shelemi′ah, son of Cushi, to say to Baruch, “Take in your hand the scroll that you read in the hearing of the people, and come.” So Baruch the son of Neri′ah took the scroll in his hand and came to them. And they said to him, “Sit down and read it.” So Baruch read it to them. When they heard all the words, they turned one to another in fear; and they said to Baruch, “We must report all these words to the king.” Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you write all these words? Was it at his dictation?” Baruch answered them, “He dictated all these words to me, while I wrote them with ink on the scroll.” Then the princes said to Baruch, “Go and hide, you and Jeremiah, and let no one know where you are.”

Jeremiah 36:11–19

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Historic Anglican Diocese of South Carolina recent Legal Developments (IV)–An Analysis by A S Haley

No one disputes, or could dispute, that the newly organized Episcopal Church in South Carolina (ECSC), which was organized for the first time at a meeting of its delegates in January 2013 and immediately recognized as a diocese by ECUSA without going through any of the formalities required by Article V of ECUSA’s Constitution, was regarded by ECUSA as a successor to the Diocese of Bishop Lawrence which had earlier voted to dissociate from General Convention. The vacancy left by that withdrawal obviously required a successor, and so ECSC was it.

But viewed in secular legal terms, the Diocese of Bishop Lawrence had its own continuity of existence. It was still (under South Carolina secular law) the same unincorporated association of clergy and parishes after it voted to withdraw that it was before that vote — it had the same bishop, the same headquarters, telephone number and address, the same employees and records: nothing had changed except for its affiliation with ECUSA.

And most notably, it still owned and possessed the same name, brands and marks as it had before its withdrawal. Those were not given to it by ECUSA, but invented and trademarked by that Diocese on its own, as its own property. Yet thanks to the aside by Justice Beatty in a footnote, the civil law question of legal successorship becomes subsumed under an ecclesiastical question which no one would dispute.

Or, stated another way: from an ecclesiastical law point of view, no one would take issue with Chief Justice Beatty’s assertion. The last thing Bishop Lawrence’s diocese wanted was to be seen as continuing as a member diocese of the apostate ECUSA. But from a civil law point of view, Justice Beatty’s claim is simply wrong on its face. An entity whose existence is recognized under South Carolina secular law does not cease to exist, or become some new entity altogether, simply because it changes its religious affiliation.

Read it all.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick Macnutt

Lord Jesus Christ, the Way by which we travel: shew me Thyself, the Truth that we must walk in: and be in me the Life that lifts us up to God, our journey’s ending.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Grant to us, O Lord, the royalty of inward happiness, and the serenity which comes from living close to thee: Daily renew in us the sense of joy, and let the eternal spirit of the Father dwell in our souls and bodies, filling us with light and grace, so that, bearing about with us the infection of a good courage, we may be diffusers of life, and may meet all ills and cross accidents with gallant and high-hearted happiness, giving thee thanks always for all things.

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

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(Eleanor Parker) Some extracts from an Anglo-Saxon homily on St Swithun’s life and miracles

Today is St Swithun’s Day, when the weather-gods obey the saint of Winchester – ‘St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain / For forty days it will remain’, and all that. So let’s look at a few extracts from an Old English homily for St Swithun’s Day, written by Ælfric in the last decade of the tenth century.

Ælfric had a personal connection to Swithun’s story, and in this homily he adds in one or two comments to remind us of it. Swithun was an obscure ninth-century Bishop of Winchester whose fame is almost entirely the work of Æthelwold, his successor at Winchester more than a century later. Winchester was the royal city of Wessex but it was surprisingly short on saints, so Æthelwold did his best to elevate some of his predecessors to that status, including Swithun and St Birinus (a better-attested saint, though his popularity never caught on as Swithun’s did). On 15 July 971, Æthelwold had Swithun’s remains translated to a new shrine inside the Old Minster, Winchester. Ælfric, who was educated at Winchester under Æthelwold and had a great respect for his bishop, would have witnessed much of this, and by the time he wrote about it, around 25 years later, he had come to see Æthelwold’s time – his own youth – as a kind of golden age for the English church, when the king and holy bishops worked together and religion and peace flourished in the land. By the 990s, with the Vikings suddenly once more a pressing threat, this seemed to him like a bright but vanished world.

Read it all.

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(BBC4) Thy Kingdom Come Full Programme for Pentecost Featuring a Sermon by Archbishop Justin Welby

From the BBC description:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, preaches at a service for Pentecost. This Pentecost Sunday afternoon, Trafalgar Square in Central London is set to host a large gathering of Christians celebrating the most joy filled festival marking when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they were sent out across the known world to preach a gospel of repentance, faith and hope. The event will be the climax of this year’s ‘Thy kingdom come’ global prayer movement which invites Christians around the world to pray for the growth of the Church as more people come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Today’s service looks forward to the celebration and is led by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, with contributions from leaders of other Christian denominations including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Archbishop Angaelos, General Bishop in the UK of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Michaela Youngson, President of the Methodist Conference. Christian singer-songwriter Matt Redman explores the power of the Holy Spirit through music.

In the ten days between Ascension Day and Pentecost Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Christians have united by pledging to pray in the most ambitious evangelism project in a generation. What started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer, involving over 65 denominations, in 114 countries around the world.

Listen to it all (just under 40 minutes and note the outline of the whole service in print is toward the bottom).

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick Macnutt

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst say that in thee we may have peace, and hast bidden us to be of good cheer, since thou hast overcome the world: Give ears to hear and faith to receive thy word; that in all the confusions and tensions of this present time, with mind serene and steadfast purpose, we may continue to abide in thee, who livest and wast dead and art alive for evermore.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Book of Cerne

God the Father bless me, Christ guard me, the Holy Spirit enlighten me, all the days of my life! The Lord be the defender and guardian of my soul and my body, now and ever, and world without end! Amen. The right hand of the Lord preserve me always to old age! The grace of Christ perpetually defend me from the enemy! Direct, Lord, my heart into the way of peace. Lord God, haste Thee to deliver me, make haste to help me, O Lord.

–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)

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JRR Tolkien for Easter 2019–Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?

Sam believes that Gandalf has fallen a catastrophic distance and has died. But in the end of the story, with Sam having been asleep for a long while and then beginning to regain consciousness, Gandalf stands before Sam, robed in white, his face glistening in the sunlight, and says:

“Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?”

But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

“A great shadow has departed,” said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from bed… “How do I feel?” he cried.” Well, I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel” –he waved his arms in the air– “I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!”

— J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), The Return of the King

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A Prayer for Holy Saturday (III)

O Lord God, who didst send thy only begotten Son to redeem the world by his obedience unto death: Grant, we humbly beseech thee, that the continual remembrance of his bitter cross may teach us to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof; that in the union and merits of his death and passion we may die with him, and rest with him, and rise again with him, and live with him for ever, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory; world without end.

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(BBC) Good Friday marked around the world

Enjoy all the pictures.

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Music for a Saturday–It All Comes Down by Patti Casey

From the time that you set foot upon this earth to pass your days
You are walking on borrowed ground, and you may stake no claims
To the soil and to the water, to the creatures lying by
Even the breath you take is loaned from on high

(chorus)
(It all comes down)
In the end, all the works of your hand
Though built of stone and honesty no earthly house shall ever stand
(And it all comes down)

As you walk along those borders with the deed held in your hand
Just remember you don’t own this you are a steward of this land
So seek wisdom and show mercy leaving some for another day
For you will call upon yourself the same someday

(It all comes down)
In the end, all the works of your hand
Though built of stone and honesty no earthly house shall ever stand
(And it all comes down)
Down in the end like a hand full of sand
(And it all comes down)
(And it all comes down)
Down in the end

When you drift down like a leaf to find your final resting place
You will return what you have borrowed you will have to show your face
And did you help some troubled soul did you try to lend a hand
For only kindness in the end alone shall stand

Listen to it all.

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(National Archives) George Washington’s Birthday

Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on February 22nd until well into the 20th Century. However, in 1968 Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law to “provide uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays.” By creating more 3-day weekends, Congress hoped to “bring substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the Nation.”

One of the provisions of this act changed the observance of Washington’s Birthday from February 22nd to the third Monday in February. Ironically, this guaranteed that the holiday would never be celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, as the third Monday in February cannot fall any later than February 21.

Contrary to popular belief, neither Congress nor the President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington’s Birthday be changed to “President’s Day.”

Read it all.

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Cornelius the Centurion

O God, who by thy Spirit didst call Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles: Grant to thy Church, we beseech thee, such a ready will to go where thou dost send and to do what thou dost command, that under thy guidance it may welcome all who turn to thee in love and faith, and proclaim the Gospel to all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

[Gerbrand van den Eeckhout]

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The Spectator Talks with The Archbishop of Canterbury on God, politics and Christian unity

‘The decline is flattening,’ he tells me. But to understand the modern Church of England, he says, you need to look at the far-larger ‘worshipping community’. ‘Churches across England are now involved in more than 33,000 social projects. Food banks, night shelters, debt counselling, family ministry — all kinds of other things.’ Since the crash, he says, the Church of England has launched into all kinds of social action helping those affected – food banks especially. He seems almost offended when I ask if it really counts as religious activity. ‘Feeding the poor? I think Jesus would have thought of it as a form of religious activity.’

The bright spot, for him, is vocations — which he says will soon be at a 40-year high. That is striking, given that church numbers are at an all-time low. I ask why this might be. ‘You will think me very naive and sort of naff about this, but I think it’s probably got something to do with God. We’ve made a real effort to pray for and encourage vocations and we’ve seen a very significant rise, getting on for well over 20 per cent over the past three years.’

He accepts that, overall, the numbers are challenging: vocations are rising but weekday and Sunday services decreasing and the number of marriages and baptisms declining sharply. Perhaps the most startling statistic is that just 2 per cent of under-25s regard themselves as Anglican. ‘If you’re over 70, you’re eight times more likely to go to church than if you’re under 30,’ he says. ‘And I think that’s a huge challenge.’ I ask if he thinks rising secularism is also a challenge: that young people who go to church are seen not just as weird but as potential bigots and homophobes. It’s not a story he recognises…

Read it all.

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Thorneloe University appoints the Rev. Canon Dr. John Gibaut as its Next President

A priest of the Diocese of Ottawa, Gibaut is well known in ecumenical circles, having served on national and international dialogues and commissions.

He has been a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada, the Faith and Witness Commission of the Canadian Council of Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations.

Gibaut earned a doctorate in theology from Trinity College, University of Toronto, and has honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from the Montreal Diocesan Theological College and Trinity College, Toronto. He has served as canon theologian of the Diocese of Ottawa.

He has lectured in the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College as well as academic institutions in Australia and the United States. He has an impressive list of publications and presentations to his credit, reflecting his deep and diverse perspectives on theology. He is a highly regarded scholar in the areas of ecumenism, liturgy, church history, historical theology and Anglican studies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Canada, Ecumenical Relations, Education, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized