Category : Parish Ministry
Sunday will mark the first meeting of a new congregation in Brownwood, but not a new church. The Church of the Good Shepherd and St John’s Anglican Church will unite as a single congregation at the St John’s location on Main Street.
The move has been discussed several times by both parishes, and now seemed only right, according to Good Shepherd representative Bonnie Dillard. “We contacted St John’s to try to work out merging, because we are two smaller churches, and we would have always liked to have been bigger.” Dillard also said “We are ready to have more people to work with, and more money to do things with in our community.”
St John’s Senior Warden Jimmy Henry said the move was “not only something that was needed, but desired and people are excited about it.”
Years ago I was asked to do the funeral of a woman whom I hadn’t known but who’d lived in the parish where I was vicar. It was a sad story. The woman, who was in her seventies, had a particularly painful wasting disease. The pain became so great that one night she stepped out of bed, put on slippers and a dressing gown, let herself into the back garden, climbed the fence, walked into the local lake, and drowned herself.
I listened to her widower tell me the story, and at the funeral I talked about the things we knew and the things we didn’t know. I said we didn’t know what anguish was going through her mind, but we did know how deeply she was loved and will be missed. I said we didn’t know what could bring her to such despair, but we did know that her life was beautiful and that those who knew her loved her and would always cherish what she meant to them.
A week later I paid a visit to the widower to see how he was doing and show him I was thinking of him. I was fully prepared for him to say how beautiful the funeral was, and there was always a chance he might say how well I’d spoken.
He didn’t. He looked straight at me, head still and unblinking, and told me, “What you said was completely wrong. You said, ‘We don’t know what was going through her head when she got out of bed and walked down to the lake.’ That’s not true. I know exactly what she was thinking. She’d tried before, and afterwards she told me what it was like. I know what she was thinking. I told you that when you came to see me last time. But you weren’t listening, were you? Maybe you didn’t want to listen.” His tone was more weary than angry, as if I was just one of a series of people who hadn’t really listened, either to her or to him.
I learned something that day that’s stayed with me. If something is awful for somebody else—if I’m in a conversation with a person who is considering suicide, or doesn’t know how they can go on, or is living in the aftermath of a loved one taking their own life—my role is not to make things better.
Samuel Wells in @ChristianCent 'If you have a choice between giving someone false hope and giving them the truth, always give them the truth. Once they realize the hope is false, they’ll be worse off than before' https://t.co/PeqRsiIXY0 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Duke Chapel) #parishministry pic.twitter.com/W7zFXmoYtU
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 19, 2018
Barbara Bush had spent an hour talking about legacy and family — about the Christmas dance where she met the man who’d become her husband, about being “the enforcer” of a family that included two former U.S. presidents.
Then, in a flash, she was talking about death.
It was 2013 and Bush was 88 at the time of the interview, part of a C-Span series focusing on first ladies. She wore a pink blazer and her trademark faux pearls — and spoke with a mixture of grace and bluntness that her family and the American people had come to instantly recognize over the past four decades.
“I’m a huge believer in a loving God,” she said. “And I have no fear of death, which is a huge comfort because we’re getting darned close.
“And I don’t have a fear of death for my precious George or for myself because I know that there is a great God.”
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 19, 2018
Tell me if this description fits: You’re a centuries (or maybe only decades) old congregation in a rapidly changing community of the coastal plain or Pee Dee area of South Carolina. For years you’ve been trying to “reach young families” or, more recently, “engage millennials,” but you aren’t really sure where to begin. Does that sound familiar? It could be the constant refrain of many a church in South Carolina and certainly for many in our Diocese! Where is one even to begin?
An important starting place is by asking ourselves a few questions:
Who are we?
Who are our neighbors?
How can we be better neighbors in our community?” (see Romans 15:1-2 for but one Scriptural imperative).
Such questions allow us to thoughtfully consider how our congregations both reflect and diverge from the communities they serve. Further, these questions invite us to consider how our congregations may then bring the Gospel into these communities in a way that showers their particular concerns, particular fears, particular shame, and particular guilt with the all-encompassing love of Christ.
Unlike so many, I have been well supported, as a woman and as a person called to ministry. I am grateful and realize what a rare gift that is. Though there are many women who have felt called to ordained ministry in the Anglican Church of North America; many whom the Episcopate has confirmed, I follow many pastors whose families rejected or misunderstood their call and many women who were refused fair discernment of their gifts whether because of theological belief or personal bias. To be honest, I wrestled with whether to join the Anglican Church of North America because of their disagreements over women’s ordination. However, those God surrounded me with encouraged me.
There is no perfect church. There is one form of opposition or another everywhere. I felt called to bloom where I was planted. Archbishop Duncan also encouraged me saying the fact that there is room for difference among orthodox Christians in the ACNA is a good sign. Usually denominational leadership kicks you out if you don’t agree with them. Not so here. I appreciate that. It seems to ring true with the way family goes this side of heaven: it’s messy. It took me a long time to own my call but now I feel settled assurance that God has in fact called me. I am willing to stand in this expression of the body of Christ for as long as it is possible.
The ordination began with my presenters surrounding me saying they affirmed my call. The Kate at the beginning of seminary (13 years ago!) would have been filled with self-doubt wondering if this was what she wanted or felt called to do. The Lord has been patient and thorough, leaving no stone unturned taking a self-doubting know-it-all into the depths of his death and rebirth and bringing the graciousness of his counselors, teachers, and pastors to come alongside. Knowing his forgiveness and love in my pain kept my feet from running out the door when time came for my vows. This is the God I want others to know. In the way he has made me to share, I will by his grace.
I spent the day before confessing. The Lord had pointed out areas of resentment by reminding me that his love “believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and rejoices with the truth.” He opened my eyes to see that kind of long-suffering love throughout the ordination service. He had bigger things afoot. He was confirming the accord between the Diocese of South Carolina and the Anglican Church in North America, which had happened the week before. As I stood in the circle of presenters before my ordaining bishop, Bishop Hobby, I knew the Lord had been long-suffering with me, patient with me, enduring all things with me. He made me able to step into my small part of his big and growing family and his grace would sustain me. Only that.
In religious countries, burial is still the norm; Ireland buries 82% of its dead, Italy 77%. But over half of Americans are cremated, up from less than 4% in 1960, and this is expected to rise to 79% by 2035. In Japan, where the practice is seen as purification for the next life, it is nearly universal. Cremation, direct or otherwise, is not the only rival to old-fashioned burial. A study in 2015 found that over 60% of Americans in their 40s and older would consider a “green” burial, with no embalming and a biodegradable casket, if any. Five years before the proportion was just over 40%.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 16, 2018
A special service has been held in Salisbury to “symbolically reclaim the city for the common good” following the nerve agent attack on 4 March.
The Bishop of Salisbury hosted the service of “cleansing and celebration” at St Thomas’ Church, near where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found.
The service, which was open to all faiths and none, involved prayers to cleanse the site and the city.
It was followed by a procession to the bench where the Skripals were found.
“Nana, how is suicide okay for some people, but not for people like me?”
Eva Andrade’s teenage grandson, who had previously been hospitalized for suicidal ideation, had asked his grandmother that question recently: Hawaii became the seventh state to legalize physician-assisted suicide April 5, a year after a previous legislative attempt.
Proponents claimed the law would give people with terminal illnesses (and a diagnosis of less than six months to live) the personal autonomy to make that decision. The teenager did not see why the circumstances made a big difference for one group having the legal right to end life on their own terms, while others did not.
“This is a 15-year-old child making this connection on his own, just based on the conversations he was hearing,” Andrade said.
Andrade, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Catholic Conference, told the Register that the “Our Care, Our Choices Act,” which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019, threatens negative social repercussions and will have a “very detrimental effect on our community.”
As you walk into Evan Thomas Jones’s farmhouse you are hit with a scorching dry heat and the smell of burning wood coming from the old Rayburn stove in the small cluttered kitchen.
Perched on the edge of a hill, the farmhouse is exposed to the cutting wind that blows over the Brecon Beacons and the warmth inside is delightful. Out of the window you can see the peaks of Pen y Fan and Corn Du disappearing into cloud and still coated with the early spring snow. If this was a hotel, tourists would pay a premium for these views.
But the man looking out the window is anything but a tourist. Standing straight and strong at about five foot eight, 85-year-old Evan wears green wellies, jeans and a jacket. From the window he points out the details of a valley where his family have lived for hundreds of years.
“My father, my mother, my grandfather and my grandmother are buried in the chapel,” Reminded me of our recent feature: “It’s very difficult for small churches to die; someone will always come along to keep it going.” He has a really beautiful voice https://t.co/6B8bcNx407
— Madeleine Davies (@MadsDavies) April 16, 2018
Heartwarming Local story–Nearly seven decades after Korean war, a POW’s remains coming home for burial in South Carolina
More than 60 years after the Army declared Davis as Missing in Action during the Korean War, the Department of Defense has identified his remains. On Thursday, Davis will be buried at North Charleston’s Carolina Memorial Park not far from his wife Violet Davis’ grave.
“It’s kind of like a love story,” said Zachary Boney, a soldier stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Davis’s great-grandson.
“She never remarried, and she never dated. He was the only man she would ever be with because she didn’t want to be with anyone else.”
Boney, a horizontal construction engineer, on Sunday will travel to Hawaii to retrieve his great-grandfather’s remains. The 22-year-old will then fly from Hawaii to Charleston, escorting Davis across the country to deliver him safely to his family.
“I feel honored to do it,” Boney said.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) April 13, 2018
Rowe is not expected to take up his post at Wellington Cathedral until July. But it would appear that, in the 19 months since he signed the letter, he may have changed his stance.
In a letter to Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth after his appointment, he acknowledged concern about the signing of the 2016 letter, and said he was on a “journey and not in a fixed position” on the gay blessing issue.
Duckworth said on Wednesday that Rowe, who has ministered previously in New Zealand, and has a son and daughter-in-law working as priests in Whanganui, was well aware of Wellington Anglicans’ stance on gay blessings, and had taken the job happy and accepting of it.
“I would say he is not fixed in his position, and is trying to work out what he believes and what God is saying … he is trying to work out what he believes.”