Category : Other Churches

(WSJ) Why the Roman Catholic Church Is Losing Latin America

Tatiana Aparecida de Jesus used to walk the city’s streets as a sex worker, high on crack cocaine. Last year, the mother of five joined a small Pentecostal congregation in downtown Rio called Sanctification in the Lord and left her old life behind.

“The pastor hugged me without asking anything,” said Ms. de Jesus, 41, who was raised a Catholic and is one of more than a million Brazilians who have joined an evangelical or Pentecostal church since the beginning of the pandemic, according to researchers. “When you are poor, it makes so much of a difference when someone just says ‘good morning’ to you, ‘good afternoon,’ or shakes your hand,” she said.

For centuries, to be Latin American was to be Catholic; the religion faced virtually no competition. Today, Catholicism has lost adherents to other faiths in the region, especially Pentecostalism, and more recently to the ranks of the unchurched. The shift has continued under the first Latin American pope.

Seven countries in the region—Uruguay, the Dominican Republic and five in Central America—had a majority of non-Catholics in 2018, according to a survey by Latinobarómetro, a Chilean-based pollster. In a symbolic milestone, Brazil, which has the most Catholics of any country in the world, is expected to become minority-Catholic as soon as this year, according to estimates by academics that track religious affiliation.

Read it all.

Posted in Brazil, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, South America

How Did Billy Graham Respond to an Invitation to Meet with Notorious Los Angeles Mobster Mickey Cohen?

A few days after a tearful Vaus made his way to the front of the tent to publicly commit his life to Christ, he came to visit Mr. Graham, and he had an unusual request. He asked if the evangelist would be willing to meet with Mickey Cohen.

“I’ll go anywhere to talk to anybody about Christ,” Mr. Graham said.

As he wrote in his autobiography, Just As I Am:

“By arrangement then, we slipped out of the tent by a back exit after the meeting one night, in order to avoid the press, and got away undetected in Jim’s car. As he drove toward Mickey Cohen’s home, I had mixed feelings—a little uncertainty and hesitation, to be sure, yet a deep-down boldness as well.”

He said the boldness came from knowing he was going in the name of Jesus Christ to share the Gospel.

Seeing Cohen reminded Mr. Graham of Zacchaeus, a notorious figure from the Bible who was short in stature.

Read it all; from a story that was used in yesterday morning’s sermon by yours truly.

Posted in Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Theology: Evangelism & Mission

(World) Sophia Lee Talks to Tim Keller on coming to Christ and learning to love the city

How does New York City set the culture for the rest of the country and the world? In the ’90s I heard New Yorkers discussing and expressing their views on gender and sexuality in ways that are now, many years later, mainstream on a national level. The city is a pacesetter for the culture, whether we like it or not. Some might think therefore that Christians should stay away from cities, but when you look at Scripture, you can’t deny that Jesus went from city to city in his ministry, or that Paul was willing to argue with the cultural intelligentsia in city centers such as Athens and Ephesus. In fact, I went back to Acts 17 over and over while I was in NYC to learn how to interact faithfully with center-city people.

How can Christians influence New York City for good? I started wondering, “What if there could be a movement of the gospel in one of the most religiously hostile and influential cities in America?” That was a goal. And it has been partially realized. A great number of people who became Christians here are now serving as salt and light in all sorts of places you’d never expect to find Christians.

At the time were there other contemporary pastors who preached about loving and investing in the city? Well, we have to start by pointing out that this question is something of a white-centric question. Or at least it’s the kind of question an upper-middle-class professional would ask. Because black, brown, and Asian churches never left the city. When white evangelicalism grew so much from 1965-1995, it was shaped by this “white flight” mentality and so had a very anti-urban bias to it.

However, during my five years teaching practical theology at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia alongside Harvie Conn and Manny Ortiz, I was exposed to a host of thoughtful, dynamic, and theologically informed African American, Hispanic, and Asian pastors and their ministries. They had thriving ministries at a time when U.S. inner cities were in terrible shape. But there they were. When Kathy and I announced we were moving to New York City, a number of people told us we were sinning against our children by taking them to the city, that they would lose their faith—and maybe their lives. (The opposite was true.) But the white evangelical view of the big cities as complete “spiritual wastelands” was wrong. So yes, in the 1980s, there were not many white and middle-class pastors talking about loving and investing in the city.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

New Vicar Chosen For Holy Trinity Brompton

Holy Trinity Brompton (known as HTB), the largest church in the Church of England, is to have a new Vicar lead its 4,000-strong congregation.

The former curate who pioneered its first ‘plant’ outside of London – the Revd Canon Archie Coates, 51, currently Vicar of St Peter’s Brighton, has been chosen as HTB’s Vicar Designate. It is expected that Canon Coates will become Vicar in September 2022, taking over from the Revd Nicky Gumbel, 66, who has announced his intention to resign his post from July 2022. Mr Gumbel has been Vicar of HTB since 2005 and has overseen considerable growth in that time. His books, which include Why Jesus? and Questions of Life, have been international best-sellers.

HTB is located in Knightsbridge, west London, and comprises a large, young and diverse congregation including a significant number of students, youth and children. Eleven services take place each Sunday across six sites in South Kensington, Earl’s Court and on the Dalgarno estate in west London.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Urban/City Life and Issues

(Church Times) Cultural change is needed at Titus Trust, says independent review

A narrow focus on public schools, a hierarchical structure in which Bible teachers enjoyed greater levels of authority, and a lack of diversity among its leaders, drawn from the conservative Evangelical wing of the Church of England, are among the factors that have increased the risk of abuse at holiday camps run by the Titus Trust, an independent review concludes.

The review, carried out by Thirtyone:eight, an independent Christian safeguarding charity, and published in full on Wednesday, was commissioned by the trust in the wake of revelations about abuse perpetrated by a former chairman of the Iwerne Trust (now part of the Titus Trust), John Smyth (News, 10 February 2017, 27 August). It focuses mainly on the past five years, and responses come largely from current leaders on holidays, campers, current staff, and supporters. Visits to camps were also undertaken this summer.

It notes that “a significant amount of contributors were happy with the culture of the trust and its camps and did not have any issues with how they had been treated, nor any concerns about safeguarding,” but cautions that few responses were received from young people who had stopped going on the holidays.

The report explores nine themes, commenting that “some of these are not problematic in themselves, but it is the way in which they interrelate which increases the potential for abuse occurring.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Violence

(Church Times) Evangelicals encouraged to engage in soul-searching after abuse

The Church of England Evangelical Council (CEEC) has published material intended to initiate conversations about “issues of culture, power and abuse” within its constituency.

The materials, published on Wednesday, are “designed to help Evangelical churches review, repent and reshape their cultures on the back of the recent Thirtyone:eight independent reviews into two prominent Evangelical churches and their leaders”, a press release says.

The reviews to which it refers are those of Emmanuel Proprietary Chapel, Ridgway, in Wimbledon and the Revd Jonathan Fletcher (News, 26 March), and the Crowded House, a non-denominational Evangelical church in Sheffield, at which “some instances of emotional and/or psychological abuse took place as a result of persistent coercive and controlling behaviour”.

The resources include an introductory film and a “liturgy of lament” for churches to use. There is also a booklet, Church Cultures Review Questions, which contains more than 100 questions for churches.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Bp David Hamid–Was Ecumenical history made in Palermo?

On 7 November, I believe that ecumenical history may have been made when the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Palermo, Corrado Lorefice, preached the sermon at the installation of the new Chaplain of Holy Cross, the Revd Dr James Hadley. Certainly this is a first in this diocese and in the Church of England itself it may well be unprecedented for a Roman Catholic Archbishop to take such a significant role in the installation of an Anglican parish priest!

Many other local clergy were present for the mass, including the Orthodox Archimandrite for Southern Italy, representing Metropolitan Policarpo of Italy.

Read it all and enjoy the pictures.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Europe, Italy, Roman Catholic

A NYT article on Marvin Olasky and World Magzine

When Marvin Olasky gets angry emails from readers — more often than not about an exposé of wrongdoing at an evangelical church, or about a story that reflects poorly on Donald Trump — he has a stock reply.

“We think this is useful to the Church,” he tells disgruntled readers, “because we are also sinners.”

As the longtime editor of World, a Christian news organization that has a website, a biweekly magazine and a set of podcasts, Mr. Olasky has delivered a mix of hard news and watchdog articles about the evangelical realm under a journalistic philosophy he calls “biblical objectivity.”

It involves taking strong stands where the Bible is clear, which has led World to oppose abortion rights and support refugees, he says, and to follow reportable facts where the Bible doesn’t provide clear guidance.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Media, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Charles Simeon as described by (Bishop of Calcutta) Daniel Wilson

He stood for many years alone, he was long opposed, ridiculed, shunned, his doctrines were misrepresented, his little peculiarities of voice and manner were satirized, disturbances were frequently raised in his church or he was a person not taken into account, nor considered in the light of a regular clergyman in the church.

-–as quoted in William Carus, Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon (New York: Robert Carter, 1848), p.39

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

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Charles Simeon

O loving God, who orderest all things by thine unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see thy hand; that, following the example and teaching of thy servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve thee with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Spirituality/Prayer

(NC Register) Former Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali Discusses His Decision to Convert to Roman Catholicism

“Because it is the only Church where decisions that affect everyone are made so that they ‘stick’; where there is a body of doctrinal and moral teaching that can guide the faithful; and where there is a magisterium that can teach effectively. There is also a lively sacramental and devotional tradition which appeals.”

These plainly stated words were the reasons why Michael Nazir-Ali, a prominent former Anglican bishop, decided to become Catholic. Nazir-Ali spoke via email to the Register on Oct. 25.

A week or so before, on Oct. 14, the British political magazine The Spectator had reported that the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Anglican bishop of Rochester, England, had joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. This personal ordinariate, directly subject to the Holy See, was established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 to allow Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their patrimony.

On Sept. 29, the feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels, Nazir-Ali was received into communion with the Church by the group’s ordinary, Msgr. Keith Newton.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Roman Catholic

(CT) Russell Moore–We Need a Savior More Than a State

He said, “I know you all want to reach people—but it seems to me, when you’re choosing between comfort and blood, too many of you are making the wrong choice.”

I think of that conversation often when I think of the way many of us have grown alarmed by what’s sometimes called Christian nationalism—either in its more common and less virulent strain of “God and country” civil religion, or in the more explicit and terrifying ways we have seen Christian symbols co-opted by demagogic and authoritarian ethnocentric or nationalist movements.

Yes, this degrades the credibility and witness of the church. It grants delegated legitimacy to what the Bible itself denounces, and it turns the church into a captive servant to what can only be called an idol. What we often miss, though, is that what these nationalistic movements trade away is blood.

There’s a reason we see an American church riven apart by resurgent heresy trials. These inquisitions are far less likely to be about essential matters of Christian doctrine—the Trinity or the Virgin Birth or the bodily resurrection—than to be about some talking point of populist politics. In our world, politics is no longer about philosophies of government but about identity (“Whole Foods vs. Walmart”). And in such a world, nationality and politics, even in their smallest trivialities, seem far more real to people than kingdom-of-God realities that Jesus described in terms of a seed underground or yeast working through bread or wind blowing through leaves.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Archbp Foley Beach writes about Michael Nazir-Ali’s decision to join the Roman Catholic Church

Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, GAFCON, Roman Catholic

Prominent Anglican bishop Michael Nazir-Ali received into Catholic Church

A prominent Anglican bishop once considered a potential future Archbishop of Canterbury has entered into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former bishop of Rochester, England, has joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, The Spectator reported on Oct. 14.

The magazine said that Nazir-Ali could be ordained as a Catholic priest as early as the end of October within the ordinariate, a body created by Benedict XVI in 2011 for groups of former Anglicans wishing to preserve elements of their patrimony.

In an Oct. 14 statement, the ordinariate said that Nazir-Ali was received into full communion by the group’s Ordinary, Msgr. Keith Newton, on Sept. 29, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Roman Catholic

(CT) Died: Evelyn Mangham, Who Convinced Evangelicals to Welcome Refugees

Churches weren’t always ready to help Evelyn Mangham. When she cold-called them in 1975 seeking sponsors for refugees from the Vietnam War, they often had other plans and other financial commitments.

But in call after call with Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) churches, and then any congregation affiliated with the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Mangham pushed, quoted Scripture, told stories about Vietnamese people from her 20 years as a missionary, and applied moral pressure.

One pastor told Mangham his congregation couldn’t help because they were in the middle of a building project—working on a new parking lot. She sputtered, “But these are people.”

By the end of the year, she had convinced evangelical churches to sponsor 10,000 refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Immigration, Vietnam

Methodist Theologian Billy Abraham RIP

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Methodist, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Vatican Radio) Archbishop Welby: Church is synodal when walks together, serving, not dominating

Q: It was very interesting to hear you talk about, not only from the top down, but the middle-out, and also from grassroots up, in terms of care for our common home. There’s been a lot of criticism of politicians and international leaders of not doing enough. Is there a way that the faithful in the churches, the other religions, can act apart from the gridlock that we sometimes see in the political world?

The answer is obviously yes, but that will not be enough. It is necessary but not sufficient. So, you will have seen, in the declaration made by the Holy Father, by the Ecumenical Patriarch, and myself a few weeks back—two or three weeks back—that calls on governments, on businesses, on individuals, and on churches and faith groups, to change their actions.

The trouble is any one of those that is left out will undermine the process. So, governments need to change the trade rules and tax rules, in order to incentivize the green economy for the future.

Companies need to change their practices, and move to zero-carbon; individuals need to change their practices; and faith groups need to be there demonstrating, by their actions, and appealing by their words for these changes to happen, and supporting the changing public opinion.

I saw the president of Italy Tuesday morning, and he said more than once that we must lead public opinion. The faith groups must lead public opinion, and I think he was quite right to challenge us in that way.

Read and listen to it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, --South Sudan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Roman Catholic

(NPR) NIH Director Francis Collins is stepping down after 12 years

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, the largest funder of basic and clinical biomedical research in the world, says he will step down by the end of the year.

Collins, who has served three U.S. presidents as head of the institute for more than 12 years, made the announcement on Tuesday. An interim director has not been named. President Biden will nominate a permanent replacement, who must be confirmed by the Senate.

“It has been an incredible privilege to lead this great agency for more than a decade,” he said in a statement. “I love this agency and its people so deeply that the decision to step down was a difficult one, done in close counsel with my wife, Diane Baker, and my family. I am proud of all we’ve accomplished.”

He said he believes that “no single person should serve in the position too long, and that it’s time to bring in a new scientist to lead the NIH into the future.” He praised the NIH staff and the scientific community for its “lifesaving research.”

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(Churchman [1997]) Mark Thompson–Being Clearly and Positively Evangelical

I want to encourage us to be clearly evangelical and to be positively evangelical. I am convinced that the answer to the challenges to which I have alluded lies, not in pointing the
finger at the bad guys or even trying to identify them, but in speaking the truth clearly, simply, and without compromise, and exercising a bold confidence in the God who is sovereign in his
world….

May I suggest that if we are to be clear about the message we have to proclaim in the world there are at least five things we need to do…

1.1 Recommit ourselves to the careful study and preaching of the Bible as the Word of God

1.2 Aim at clarity and simplicity

1.3 Recognize the pressures that are on us to be unclear

1.4 Identify the points at which evangelical truth is under attack today

1.5 Shun the false antitheses others try to thrust upon us

This paper is essentially a plea to stay clear and stay positive. We do not have to jettison clarity for the sake of being positive, nor do we have to abandon all hope for the sake of clarity. Do not fall into the twin dangers which face us: the danger of fudging on what it actually means to be an Evangelical and the danger of falling into a pit of despair and negativity. God has spoken. He has not left us in the dark, nor has he revealed his mind in faltering, obscure tones. And God will triumph. His purposes will be fulfilled. The day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

So let us be clear about the task that lies before us. Let us be clear about what we believe. Let us be clear about what we do not believe as well. And above all, let us renew our confidence inthe one who loves us and will one day return to take us home.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Church History, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CT) Evangelical Colleges Join Effort to Promote Vaccination

Dozens of evangelical schools belonging to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) have joined an interfaith effort called Faith in the Vaccine, designed to recruit students and faculty to help inform their communities about vaccination and recognize the role religious identity might play in people’s hesitation.

“This was not about hounding people into getting the vaccine or shaming them if they were hesitant,” said Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC), which launched the effort last spring and has disbursed $4 million to fund the campaign so far. “It was very much about engaging with great respect and sensitivity … and helping them kind of talk their own way into vaccination.”

Nearly 50 CCCU member schools signed up for the program. IFYC, along with medical professionals from the Rush University Medical School, trained campus ambassadors in conversational tactics and medical information about the vaccines.

But what started out as a campaign to promote education around vaccination within these faith communities has shifted to efforts to actually get shots in arms. The Faith in the Vaccine ambassadors, according to IFYC, have helped promote or host hundreds of clinics and events across the country, accounting for an estimated 10,000 or more vaccinations.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Young Adults

(GR) Lisa Beamer on the hard spiritual lessons learned in a media spotlight after 9/11

After the press blitz, Beamer tried to withdraw from the spotlight. It was especially painful, she said, that critics called her a hypocrite who was seeking fame, while some believers put her “on a pedestal as God’s chosen woman for such a time as this.”

Nevertheless, “Todd was gone,” she said. “I was called a ‘widow’ and a ‘single parent,’ titles that literally made me sick to my stomach. My sweet husband had become a mythic figure to the public, an idealized version of manhood who died valiantly defending his country.”

In the end, Beamer said it was crucial to strengthen her “core identity,” focusing on her faith and trust in “God’s goodness and his greatness.” She was convinced that, facing the crisis aboard Flight 93, her husband had managed to do that.

That’s the final lesson, she told the students in chapel: “If God is bigger than we can image, we are wasting our time to chase after something or someone lesser. … We must place our ultimate identity not in who we are, but in who we know God to be. That’s it.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, History, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

John Stott on William Wilberforce’s Great Example of Perseverance on Wilberforce’s Feast Day

It was in 1787 that he first decided to put down a motion in the House of Commons about the slave trade. This nefarious traffic had been going on for three centuries, and the West Indian slave-owners were determined to oppose abolition to the end. Besides, Wilberforce was not a very prepossessing man. He was little and somewhat ugly, with poor eyesight and an upturned nose. When Boswell heard him speak, he pronounced him ‘a perfect shrimp’, but then had to concede that ‘presently the shrimp swelled into a whale.’ In 1789 Wilberforce said of the slave trade: “So enormous so dreadful, so irremediable did its wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for the abolition…. let the consequences be what they would, I from this time determined that I would never rest till I had effected its abolition.

So abolition bills (which related to the trade) and Foreign Trade Bills (which would prohibit the involvement of British ships in it) were debated in the commons in 1789, 1791, 1792,194, 1796 (by which time Abolition had become ‘the grand object of my parliamentary existence’), 1798 and 1799. Yet they all failed. The Foreign Slave Bill was not passed until 1806 and the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill until 1807. This part of the campaign had taken eighteen years.

Next, soon after the conclusion of the Napoleonic wars, Wilberforce began to direct his energies to the abolition of slavery itself and the emancipation of the slaves. In 1823 the Anti-Slavery Society was formed. Twice that year and twice the following year, Wilberforce pleaded the slaves’ cause in the House of Commons. But in 1825 ill-health compelled him to resign as a member of parliament and to continue his campaign from outside. In 1831 he sent a message to the Anti-Slavery Society, in which he said, “Our motto must continue to be PERSEVERANCE. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.” He did. In July 1833 the Abolition of Slavery Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament, even though it included the undertaking to pay 20 million pounds in compensation to the slave-owners. ‘Thank God,’ wrote Wilberforce, that I have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give 20 million pounds for the abolition of slavery.’ Three days later he died. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in national recognition of his FORTY-FIVE YEARS of persevering struggle on behalf of African slaves.

— John R W Stott, Issues facing Christians Today (Basingstoke: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1984), p. 334

Posted in Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Race/Race Relations

(CEN) Paul Richardson reviews Richard R. Gaillardetz’s ‘The Cambridge Companion to Vatican II’

As Richard Gaillardetz points out in his introduction to this important work, efforts to assess the impact of Vatican II have been hindered by what he terms a Catholic version of the ‘culture wars’ with conservatives claiming the Council was pastoral and brought about no doctrinal change and radicals seeking to put the Council’s stamp of approval upon whatever policies they favour.

No one reading this book can doubt that the Council did produce significant changes in the life of the Catholic Church but that it was often able to build on developments that had already begun, not least in the work of an impressive group of German and French theologians that included such figures as Karl Rahner, Henri de Lubac and Yves Congar. The first six chapters of this book seek to set Vatican II in context and show that while Rome opposed the ‘new theology’ the picture was mixed. The encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu , for example, promulgated by Pius XII paved the way for acceptance of biblical criticism.

My main criticism of this work is that it does not seek to assess the influence of Vatican II beyond the Catholic Church or see it as a significant event in the life of the world-wide church. This is especially true of the impact of the liturgical changes it encouraged in Anglicanism and many other churches. David Turnbloom does refer to this in his chapter on liturgy, pointing to such WCC documents as Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry as showing the influence of the Council.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Books, Church History, Roman Catholic

(CT) Mainline Protestants Are Still Declining, But That’s Not Good News for Evangelicals

This rapid shift in American religion was driven primarily by evangelicals becoming more prominent in American culture. The rise of televangelists like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson coincided with the Religious Right beginning to assert itself in electoral politics. Because the nones were relatively small at this point, there’s ample reason to believe that significant numbers of mainline Protestants became evangelicals through the 1980s.

By the late 1980s, evangelicals had become 25–27 percent of the population, and the mainline population was stuck around 20 percent. In 1993, evangelicals hit their peak in the data at just under 30 percent and have since gone into a slow and steady decline over time.

Between 2000 and 2018, the decline among evangelicals has been relatively modest—just about two percentage points. The mainline also declined three times as fast during this same time period, dropping from 16 percent in 2000 to just over 10 percent in 2018.

When you look at where both traditions started in 1972, evangelicals are slightly up, while the mainline is significantly smaller.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

(WOF) Andrew Petiprin–Subsidiarity, Solidarity, And Human Dignity In “Mare Of Easttown”

The new HBO series Mare of Easttown, created by Brad Ingelsby and directed by Craig Zobel, is a riveting crime drama that reveals both the darkness and light residing in the soul of America these days. The show is reminiscent of the superb British series Broadchurch, and it focuses on the murder of a poor teenage mother and the earlier disappearance of two young prostitutes.

Set and filmed in Delaware County outside of Philadelphia, Mare of Easttown is disturbing and inspiring. The actors’ eastern Pennsylvania accents are impeccable, and I could just about feel a cup of Wawa coffee in my hand. The multiple plotlines related to opioid addiction represent the demonic gloom that has settled over countless communities in the so-called “rust belt” and Appalachia. The biggest point of pride in Easttown is the memory of a high school state basketball championship; and Mare Sheehan, played by Kate Winslet, is the forty-something divorced grandmother who is still famous for hitting the winning shot all those years ago.

As a small-town police detective, Mare embodies the pain of the people she cannot help but love. With the nature of policing under intense scrutiny these days, Mare is deeply compassionate about the needs of her neighbors (when we meet Mare, she is helping a junkie get to a church shelter, instead of taking him to jail), and she is subject to a high degree of accountability from them, precisely because they know and love her too. At the same time, Mare faces a public relations crusade led by an old friend, whose missing daughter Mare has not yet succeeded in finding. It is an excellent depiction of the Catholic social teaching of subsidiarity: there is no nameless, faceless force here, but rather justice tempered with mercy at the local level. It is messy, but no one in Easttown seems to want it any other way.

Read it all.

Posted in Movies & Television, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

Archbishop, Pope and Church of Scotland Moderator write to South Sudan’s leaders

When we last wrote to you at Christmas, we prayed that you might experience greater trust among yourselves and be more generous in service to your people. Since then, we have been glad to see some small progress. Sadly, your people continue to live in fear and uncertainty, and lack confidence that their nation can indeed deliver the ‘justice, liberty and prosperity’ celebrated in your national anthem. Much more needs to be done in South Sudan to shape a nation that reflects God’s kingdom, in which the dignity of all is respected and all are reconciled (cf 2 Corinthians, 5). This may require personal sacrifice from you as leaders – Christ’s own example of leadership shows this powerfully – and today we wish you to know that we stand alongside you as you look to the future and seek to discern afresh how best to serve all the people of South Sudan.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, --South Sudan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Foreign Relations, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(PCN) Tributes to ‘hero of the faith’ Joel Edwards who has died from cancer

Former General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance and senior UK church figure, Rev Dr Joel Edwards, has died from cancer.

On Wednesday morning, the family confirmed the passing of the 70-year-old pastor by posting a letter Rev Edwards had written thanking people for their prayers.

“This is to say a final goodbye. First, my incredible thanks for your prayers, love and holding on with me to that fingernail miracle,” the letter said.

“Words cannot express the depth, breadth and height of my gratitude, but I have gone home.

“My earnest prayer is that your faith and tenacity on my behalf will not be considered a pointless religious exercise, but that it will have strengthened your faith in a God who is marvellous, mysterious and majestic in all that He does: The Faithful One.”

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Isabel Hapgood

Loving God, we offer thanks for the work and witness of Isabel Florence Hapgood, who introduced the Divine Liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church to English-speaking Christians, and encouraged dialogue between Anglicans and Orthodox. Guide us as we build on the foundation that she gave us, that all may be one in Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer

(RNS) At 71, Christian author Philip Yancey still believes in amazing grace, despite the county’s divisions

If you could talk to evangelical leaders right now or to people in the pew, what would you tell them?

I go back to that beautiful discourse in John Chapters 13 to 17, which is Jesus’ last time with his disciples. He’s turning over the whole thing to them. And they haven’t really proven themselves. In fact, they’ve proven themselves unreliable. So, what did he do? He washed their feet. And he said to them, this is your stance in the world. You’re a servant, you’re not the leaders. Then he said, you should be known by your love. And you should be known by your unity. Those three things.

Yet so often the church seems more interested in cleaning up society, you know, returning America to its pristine 1950s. That’s the myth we have — we are making America pure again, cleaning it up.

Jesus lived under the Roman Empire, Paul lived under the Roman Empire, which was much worse morally than anything going on in the United States. They didn’t say a word about how to clean up the Roman Empire, not a word. They just kind of dismissed it.

So, why are we here? Well, we’re here to form the kind of community that makes people say, ”Oh, that’s what God had in mind.” We’re here to form pioneer settlements of the kingdom of God, as N.T. Wright puts it. It’s about demonstrating to the world what the whole human experiment is about.

Let’s remember why we are here. We love people, we serve and we show them why God’s way is better. Let’s concentrate on that rather than tearing people down or rejecting them or denigrating them in some way. We’re here to bring pleasure to God. I believe we do that by living in the way God’s son taught us to live when he was on earth.

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Posted in Books, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Vatican News) English and French bishops call for better treatment of migrants

In a joint statement released on the occasion of the World Refugee Day, on June 20, the six bishops remind that these strangers “who are exiled from their homelands” are “fellow humans who deserve to be helped to find places where they can live in dignity and contribute to civil society”. They observe “with sadness the lack of hope that drives people in distress to become exploited by traffickers and add to the profits of their illegal trade”.

The Church leaders, however, also call attention to some positive signs, saying they are “heartened by those who generously offer financial and material support, time and skills, shelter and accommodation, whatever their religious conviction”. These people, they remark, “ignore the myths that lead to prejudice and fear that apparently prevent politicians from creating new and constructive policies that go beyond closing frontiers and employing more security staff”.

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Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Immigration, Politics in General, Roman Catholic